How workforce rebalancing is building pressure in the talent pipeline

Dramatic changes in the ways we work and think about work have caused a tidal shift in how we view our priorities and prospects in daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a work realignment already in progress, and transformed our understanding of success, purpose and value. Rising inflation, The Great Resignation, and calls for commitment and action on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, are further reshaping a workforce terrain that we’re all trying to navigate with new eyes. As the initial waves of health-driven change roll into new ones, the workforce is resettling into pools based on how we work, what we value and who we are.

It’s a new moment with new opportunities and a need for greater context for the how, what and why of work.

The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey reveals insights from more than 17,000 employees and 1,575 employers across 22 countries and 26 industries. The findings explore chief motivators of workforce turnover or retention and highlight areas of focus for leaders looking to lean in to the opportunities of the moment.

The survey shows:

  • Both employers and employees recognize that making provisions for hybrid and flexible work is a necessity, but not all employers have created and communicated a formal and clear policy and guidelines.
  • Employees feel empowered, yet nearly half (43%) of respondents say they’re likely to leave their employer in the next year. Total pay is their chief concern amid tighter labor markets and new opportunities.
  • The groups most expecting to leave their jobs identified as being Gen Z or millennials in the United States (53%) and working in the technology/hardware sector (60%).
  • Employers who have shown a proactive approach to the changing world of work feel more optimistic about what’s happening now and next in terms of changes to productivity and culture.
  • Both Total Rewards and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are seen by employers and employees as areas demanding greater attention and action. 

We find ourselves poised to fully reimagine a more sustainable and human-centered workforce strategy. By responding decisively to the moment and recognizing the necessity for sustainable transformation of business, employers can redefine a new way of working that preserves the talent pipeline and future value.

How we’re working in a changed world

As much as the world would like to move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, we find ourselves still rocked by a world in flux, including in the ways we’re working. Both employers and employees at first — necessarily — focused on short-term decisions to forge through one of the biggest health challenges in a generation. But now attitudes and strategies toward work are being molded by other macrotrends. Analysis from The World Bank shows expectation for slowing economic growth and persistently high inflation in coming years, and a need for coordinated action to address the severe costs of weather and climate disasters.

This backdrop colors the landscape for business investment and employee sentiment at a time when The Great Resignation appears to still be in full swing in some parts of the world.