Article: Unveiling workforce trends 2023: Insights from ADP's People At Work 2023 report

Compensation & Benefits

Unveiling workforce trends 2023: Insights from ADP's People At Work 2023 report

In this keynote by Rahul Goyal of ADP, explore how organisations can address talent’s demand for pay, embrace flexibility, build a caring workplace culture and elevate career development.
Unveiling workforce trends 2023: Insights from ADP's People At Work 2023 report

The landscape of people and work is in constant motion and for organisations to stay ahead of the game, it becomes important to remain abreast of all the challenges and opportunities out there. To empower organisations in this endeavour, at People Matters TechHR India ‘23, Rahul Goyal, Managing Director (India and SEA) at ADP came all set to give a comprehensive outlook on the state of the workforce worldwide, shedding light on the emerging trends that shape the modern work environment. In his keynote The Changing Face Of Work: A Global Perspective For 2023 & Beyond, he shared powerful insights from ADP’s latest report People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View, uncovering key business and talent expectations.

Having surveyed over 30,000 people across 17 countries, here are the four major themes that were found to be impacting the employee landscape today:

Pay and compensation reign supreme

As the cost of living rises day by day and the economy is hit by inflation, compensation remains critical to any HR strategy. What ADP did was ask a very pertinent question: how much is enough? Globally, the answer came out to be that 4 in 10 workers feel underpaid. In India especially, regular underpayment of wages remains an acute issue, where 69% say they’re always, often or sometimes underpaid. 

But what are the reasons behind this widespread employee sentiment? It comes down to three things: benefits offered are very few, responsibilities are often disproportionate to the pay and lack of career advancement creates a stagnant salary. 

Additionally, the report highlights that gender pay is widening and what’s surprising is that men often feel underpaid when compared to women in spite of them getting higher pay increases. However, on the positive side, organisations have also been found to be taking several steps to improve gender pay equality, with as many as 55% of employees agreeing to this.

In India, an interesting trend that has been discovered is accelerating retention by offering several pay alternatives such as retention bonuses, one-time bonuses and even grocery vouchers. Having worked with over a million customers across the globe, Rahul shared two impactful steps that organisations have been taking to address the compensation conundrum: firstly, designing personalised salary structures and flexi benefits according to certain grades and levels of employees. And secondly, heavily investing in tax literacy and education in financial planning when onboarding workers.

The importance and impact of flexibility

Indeed flexibility is a double-edged sword and there has been a stark rise in its demand. Globally, 30% of employees want higher flexibility in three areas: location, country and timings. But this can often get challenging for organisations. The analogy of a cricket pitch, as proposed by Rahul works perfectly to highlight this puzzling issue: A set boundary will be pivotal in demarking the extent to which flexibility is offered but what can we do when the boundary continues to expand?

A striking testament to this is the rise of global nomads, with as many as 48% of employees believing that they can work from anywhere in the world. For India, the number goes up to as high as 80%. Additionally, there is a much greater buzz globally regarding the 4-day work-week. But at the same time, certain restraints might be necessary and the limitations of WFA (Work from anywhere) must be communicated with full transparency.

Building a caring workplace culture

This element is the cornerstone of a successful organisation, no HR leader can overlook this. Globally, the report highlighted that 57% of employees believe that their manager is ill-equipped to talk about mental health. This is indeed an area of grave concern, and Rahul emphasised the importance of investing in coaching and training managers to sensitively lead these crucial and timely conversations. Another area that needs special attention is the waning of employee wellbeing and mental health as key priorities over the last 12 months. Initiatives have mostly been limited to team-building exercises and one-off conversations and this will not work in the long run.

But on the plus side, in spite of the ongoing stress in workplaces, 71% of employees in India do believe that their manager takes care of them and supports their mental health. Indeed a positive sign and a space to pick up lessons from on manager enablement in wellness initiatives.

Expectations and aspirations of employees moving forward

Almost four in 10 workers agree that they don’t feel secure in their jobs. Nonetheless, optimism about the next five years in the workplace remains high, with as many as 87% of employees falling in this category. But the one thing that organisations must remain cognizant of is that Generative AI, automation and a staggering economy play a massive role in building this insecurity among workers. Globally, 60% would consider relocating for better opportunities and 57% would think about moving to a different industry sector that’s less likely to be impacted by the economic turmoil. This is indeed a testament to this job insecurity that is triggering employees to switch companies. 

Reassuringly, two-thirds of workers surveyed say they and their employer talk about career progression and 69% discuss skills and training requirements, and this is highest among younger workers. In India, as many as 77% of employees feel their employer invests in their skills they need to advance their career. 

The numbers that ADP collated on these major areas of impact and change not only highlight the challenges that remain but point to the direction organisations must shift towards. Workplace dynamics are undoubtedly changing and as a new normal dawns over us, it’s imperative to constantly engage in discussions about the future possibilities around people and work. Employers must remain aware of the evolving employee expectations to better navigate the complexity of the workplace both now and in the future, to appeal to top talent and drive business success forward. 

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Topics: Compensation & Benefits, Culture, Employment Landscape, #Flexibility, #TechHRIN

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