2021 Workplace Predictions from Dan Schawbel

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

With about six weeks left in a year like no other, many of us are starting to think about what 2021 will look like in many ways including at work. Here at the Workforce Institute, we’ve been publishing our own list of workforce predictions each year for more than a decade – you can see our most recent list here and our half-year check-in on that list here

Our 2021 predictions will be coming at the beginning of the new year and we hope you’ll come back and read about them then.

In the meantime, one of our longtime board members, best-selling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, Dan Schawbel, has his own list of predictions that he publishes right about now every year and I always find them incredibly insightful and interesting to read. Dan has a unique point of view informed by all of the high-profile interviews he conducts on his podcast, 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel (recents include Dr. Phil McGraw, designer Betsey Johnson, and actor Matthew McConaughey), and the incredible companies he works with – including UKG.

Dan always starts his predictions with a look at the macro-economic forecast. Among the key indicators he mentions in this year’s report:

  • In 2021, Goldman Sachs expects the U.S. GDP to grow by 6.1 percent based on the prediction that a Covid-19 vaccine will be widely distributed by the middle of the year.
  • The average salary is projected to remain at 1.9 percent going into 2021, which is a decline from 2.2 percent back in 2019.
  • As of September, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 7.9 percent, but it is projected to fall to 7.6 percent by the end of the year and reach 5.5 percent by the end of 2021.
  • While there are currently 6.5 million open jobs as of August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the economy to grow by six million jobs over the next nine years, with an annual growth rate of 1.3 percent.

While this news all sounds pretty positive, Dan notes that, “With so much uncertainty due to Covid, everything could change for the better or worse depending on the spread of the virus and businesses shutting down.”

Here is a shortlist of Dan’s Top Ten Workplace Trends for 2021 (for all the details read his full article here):

  1. Modern technologies scale to meet workers’ mental health needs.
  2. Employees are demanding more from their employers.
  3. Workers are prioritizing safety, security, and health when evaluating employers.
  4. The dispersed and decentralized global workforce.
  5. The hybrid workplace and workforce.
  6. Companies committing to aggressive diversity targets.
  7. The demand for retraining and reskilling grows.
  8. Women will continue to experience workplace setbacks.
  9. Covid-19 accelerates the digital transformation of the workplace.
  10. The hourly workforce is treated like they are essential.

What issues are you and your organization thinking about for next year? Tell us in the comments section.

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