Workers around the globe quitting their jobs as part of “The Great Re-Evaluation.” Companies re-evaluating their flexible working arrangements. Further transitioning to a more green future. The Covid pandemic’s systemic impact on labour markets, policy, and regulation. Debate about the plausibility of a four-day work week.

The end of 2021 is fast approaching, and I find myself reflecting on the past year. Over the past 12 months, leaders and organizations continued to adapt as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on. Corporate leaders have grappled with questions deeply affecting their workplaces, culture, and employees. It is clear that skills investments need to be embedded as a solution for nearly every question on the table, from talent scarcity to retention to employee engagement, especially when dealing with the Great Re-Evaluation.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty, the resolve of my Adecco Group colleagues has been truly admirable and I want to sincerely thank them for that.

I believe the next year will be all about consolidation as many workplace trends come to the forefront: economic recovery, flexible work, the green transition, sustainable and inclusive business models, digital transformations, and more.

As 2021 wraps up, I’m looking ahead at critical trends that will shape the workplace in the coming year:

1. Talent scarcity in the forefront.

Heading into 2022, talent scarcity is one of the key lenses through which we will see the entire world of work.

The reasons are myriad. Some are long-standing, such as the shift towards automation and digitization, the green transition, the lack of decent working conditions, the push towards higher education in place of work-based training pathways, and the mismatch between education and workplace needs all contribute to the issue, among other factors.

But the events of the past 24 months have also worsened the problem: countries closing borders hampered talent mobility; many countries saw a disproportionately high number of workers retire early and leave the workforce. Finally, the virus itself impacted talent scarcity, affecting people’s health and ability or willingness to return to the workplace. This is one reason the home/office hybrid workforce is here to stay in 2022 and beyond.

The supply chain and talent scarcity crisis will impact the economic outlook for the next year, as well. The global recovery is continuing but its momentum has eased and is becoming increasingly imbalanced, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. The OECD report predicts a rebound in global economic growth to 5.6% this year, and 4.5% in 2022, before settling back to 3.2% in 2023. The contingency? The world’s richest countries need to invest in reskilling and upskilling efforts quickly if they want to avoid a long-term rise in unemployment.

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