Global employers preparing for future of work: survey

The majority (61 per cent) of global employees believe their employers are preparing them for the future of work and 55 per cent said they trust their organization to reskill them if their job changes as a result of automation, according to Mercer’s 2020 global talents trends survey.

However, the survey, which polled more than 7,000 senior business executives, human resources leaders and employees, found 34 per cent of employee respondents said they expect their jobs to be replaced in three years.

“Organizations need to have a financial model and cultural mindset that enables them to prepare for and invest in the future,” said Ilya Bonic, president of career and head of strategy at Mercer, in a press release. “This rethinking of purpose and priorities is vital across the organization, but especially for HR. The findings from this year’s study make it clear that transformation of the HR function is a key component to creating a sustainable organization.”

Read: Canadian HR functions unprepared for growth of AI, automation: survey

Globally, the survey found the most valued career support for employees is personal and professional growth opportunities (73 per cent). In Canada, 82 per cent of employees said their companies’ learning content is well-aligned to skills they will need in the future.

“To attract and retain talent, companies need to offer and deliver futures with ample and equitable opportunities to grow and develop, health and retirement savings strategies that make a difference in [employees’] physical and financial wellness and a climate of trust born out of collective responsibility for shared futures,” said Gordon Frost, partner and career business leader at Mercer Canada.

When it comes to reskilling, 38 per cent of employees said they don’t have enough time for training, though 78 per cent said they’re ready to learn new skills. Among HR leaders, just 34 per cent said they’re investing in workforce learning and reskilling as part of their strategy to prepare for the future of work and 40 per cent don’t know what skills their workforce has today.

“Transformation is not a question of whether to adapt, but about how best to adapt,” said Frost. “To stay ahead, organizations need to reskill at scale, with speed and across all generations in their workforce.”

Read: Canadian employers upping benefits offerings to fill job vacancies: survey

In addition, the survey found the use of predictive analytics has nearly quadrupled in the paste five years, from 10 per cent in 2016 to 39 per cent in 2020. However, only 43 per cent of global organizations surveyed said they use metrics to identify employees likely to leave, while 41 per cent said they know when critical talent is likely to retire, 18 per cent said they know the impact of pay strategies on performance, 15 per cent said they can determine if it’s better to buy/build/borrow employees and 12 per cent said they’re using analytics to correct inequities and prevent them recurring.

Other forms of employee engagement data gathering are on the rise as well. Among employer respondents, 62 per cent of companies said they’re using pulse surveys and 33 per cent said they plan to invest in this in 2020.

In terms of workplace wellness, 61 per cent of employee respondents said they trust their employer to look after their well-being, while 48 per cent of executives ranked it as a top workforce concern. However, only 29 per cent of HR leaders said they have a health and well-being strategy.

Read: Majority of Canadian employers expecting HR disruption ahead: study

The survey also found 72 per cent of experienced employees are planning to work past the normal retirement age, while 55 per cent of generation X say opportunities to advance are limited because of longevity in the workplace.

More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of all employee respondents said they want long-term financial planning, while just 23 per cent of companies said they provide financial education for employees today.