The top workforce trends of 2024: The end of remote work, evolution of AI and more Hays: Working For Your Tomorrowon January 2, 2024 at 9:46 am Career advice | Career tips


As we enter a new year, it’s time to look ahead to the major workforce trends I believe you need to know about for 2024. 

According to reports, almost two thirds of CEOs anticipate a return to the office full time in the near future. Meanwhile, Employers are placing greater importance on skills when hiring. AI continues to transform ways of working, which means that upskilling will be vital for your continued success. More than ever, it’s time to make big decisions about where – and how – you want to work, as well as what you want to do.  

Here are six workforce trends to be aware of so you can ensure your career is a success in 2024 and beyond. 

What are the top workforce trends in 2024? 

Focus shifts to skills instead of experience 

Employers understand that “unicorn” candidates (those with the “perfect education and experience” for their organisation’s requirements) are in short supply. We’re seeing this in areas such as tech and sustainability, where there aren’t enough experienced workers to meet demand. That’s why, more and more, employers are leaving behind their never-ending checklist of criteria in favour of skills-based hiring. This approach involves recruiting somebody for their skills and potential, instead of just their qualifications or educational background. 

This shift in attitude offers you more opportunities to explore in your career, particularly if you want to move into a new field or industry. Don’t be put off by not having the “right” higher education or employment history, and focus on your skills and potential instead. You can read more about how and why you should do this here

Find suitable courses to help you develop technical skills and highlight these to hiring managers. Don’t forget about soft skills, either. Hays data shows that communication and self-motivation are the two most in-demand soft skills among employers right now. My colleague, Jane Bamford, has already written about how to showcase these.  

When you’re applying for a new job, highlight your relevant skills on your CV or application. You should also review your LinkedIn presence to make sure that it reflects more accurately what you can bring to an organisation. This includes listing your skills on your profile and engaging with or posting relevant content.  

It may be too soon for us to “wave goodbye to CVs and résumés” as some have predicted. Regardless, a lack of qualifications or experience in your preferred career isn’t the barrier to entry it once was. This perspective is a huge win for untapped talent everywhere, while employers and employees alike will benefit from increased inclusivity and a diverse workforce. 

Upskilling key to the AI revolution 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re highlighting your capabilities to prospective employers or upskilling for your current role. It’s important to consider how AI tools are going to affect your career and the skills you’ll need. 

2023 was the year of AI. ChatGPT didn’t just start a digital workplace trend at the end of 2022 – it turned generative AI into headline news almost every day since. 

Its evolution raised several questions, some of which we’re still finding answers to. Would it make us more productive to focus on other tasks? Or would it disappear as quickly as it arrived? Clearly the answer to the last question is no – but the answer to the first depends on you. 

A report from the World Economic Forum released in September suggests that AI could result in the creation of more jobs. These range from newer specialist jobs, such as prompt engineer, to roles in higher demand – for example, electrical engineers and those who work with data. If you are already in one of these fields or want to reskill, make sure you understand how AI is going to impact on your career. Take time to upskill (you can find suggestions in this Hays blog) and stay up to date on the latest advancements. 

However, the truth is that all of us are going to need to get to grips with AI tools. It’s not just technical skills that will prove valuable, either. Don’t ignore soft skills that will help you manage these tools, such as communication and adaptability. Conversely, take time to develop the soft skills that AI cannot replicate – for example, creative thinking. 

Full-time office vs hybrid and remote working  

While the pandemic was a catalyst for a shift to remote working opportunities, a global KPMG study has found that 64% of CEOs expect employees to return to the office full time by 2026. Our Salary Guide in Australia uncovered that only a third of employers are happy for workers to come to the office when it suits them – this number was 51% a year ago. In the UK, a Hays survey revealed that 43% of respondents are back in the workplace full time, while 39% of workers operate in a hybrid model. 

This is going to divide opinion. Many people are now used to greater flexibility in where they work and don’t want to return to their previous routine. In fact, Gartner reports that over half of workers would look for a new job if their flexible working was impacted. 

Of course, this will vary from employer to employer, but it’s still time to think about what you want. If you’re happier or more productive in the office, this prediction may suit you. In fact, the KPMG study uncovered that 87% of CEOs are considering rewarding workplace attendance with favourable assignments or promotions. 

Alternatively, would you prefer a hybrid or even fully remote role? If you’re choosing to change roles, make sure to set any job search filters to accommodate this, and enquire about the situation during the application process. Similarly, if you’re planning to stay with your current employer, speak to your manager about whether the current system works for you, or if they are planning any changes to this. If their answer doesn’t fit in with your expectations, perhaps it is time to consider moving on? 

Economic uncertainty leads to greater demand for contingent workers 

If you prefer hybrid or remote working, then perhaps you should consider changing the way you work altogether. A Hays poll on LinkedIn found that greater flexibility was the number one benefit of being a non-permanent, or contingent, worker. 

As we shared in Hays’ recent annual report, demand for contingent workers will continue to grow into 2024. This is because many organisations can make savings in the long term by hiring contractors for certain roles or shorter projects, instead of permanent employees. 

This means the climate is perfect for switching to contracting in an area where your skills are in demand. Travis O’Rourke, CCO at Hays Americas, ran a LinkedIn live event earlier this year on becoming a contractor. He points out that, as well as the increase in opportunities, the benefits of this career path include the potential for higher remuneration and freedom to choose projects.  

However, the transition to this career requires several things. Firstly, you’ll need to have the skills and experience that organisations want for specific projects. At the same time, you must be motivated to upskill and develop in your own time, because you’ll have less access to learning resources from employers. 

Becoming a contingent worker is a career that suits people who are pro-active to go out and find opportunities. The good news is that those will be more available in 2024. 

A pivotal year for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) 

2024 is predicted to be a pivotal year for DE&I after many organisations made cuts in this area in 2023. Why does this matter to you? As my colleague, Yvonne Smyth, has previously written, an employer’s commitment to DE&I tells you a lot about the culture. A diverse and inclusive environment means experiencing a culture of respect, innovation and growth. It’s also about making sure that your voice is heard, you have equal access to opportunities, and you’re provided the platform to make the impact you want. 

So, how can you know whether an employer is committed to DE&I when you’re job hunting? The best place to start is through research. What do current or former employees have to say on Glassdoor? Do their social media channels depict an inclusive culture? Are there any reports that show their approach or even progress they’re making in this area? Be sure to do your homework and come armed to any interviews with questions to ensure you’re comfortable with their culture. 

The next thing to do is take advantage of the diversity within your organisation. We’re all part of a multi-generational workforce, and it’s vital that we don’t miss the opportunity for an exchange of knowledge and ideas that can benefit everyone. 

An effective way to do this is to identify a mentor. Our Learning Mindset Report found that 66% of workers and 76% of employers were happy with the success of the mentorship schemes in which they were involved. By approaching each other with an open mind and sharing your expertise with one another, everyone wins.  

For younger workers, mentorship means learning from experienced colleagues or people in your network. It’s not only these people who have potential for growth, though. What about reverse mentorship? For those working later in life, or perhaps even “unretiring”, there is plenty to gain from Millennials and Gen Z. Of course, these are the generations to whom digital skills are second nature. There’s also a greater need than ever to take action when it comes to sustainability – could this be your opportunity to discover more about ESG and Net Zero? 

Your 2024 jobseeker checklist 

Following these workforce trends, the keys to career success in 2024 are: 

Develop the right skills for the job you want and to prepare for the changes that AI is bringing. Audit your LinkedIn presence and update your CV so they reflect your soft skills and highlight your potential to employers.  Seek opportunities for a knowledge exchange, ideally with somebody from another generation. Find an employer that aligns with your purpose and priorities, whether that’s commitment to DE&I or flexibility in where you work. 

Explore the possibility of contingent work as a way to meet employer demands and exercise more control over your career. 

Technology and fresh perspectives are set to make this a very exciting year. I wish everyone a prosperous 2024, filled with joy and success. 

The post The top workforce trends of 2024: The end of remote work, evolution of AI and more  appeared first on Viewpoint – careers advice blog.

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