The Future Of Work: Key Emerging Workplace Trends To Watch For 2024
Each year since the pandemic, the world of work has significantly transformed, from remote work, to TikTok Gen Z trends of "lazy girl jobs," and "quiet-quitting," to global trends that have triggered mass coverage across news outlets and social media such as "The Great Resignation," and "The Great Rebalancing." As we near the close of […]
Each year since the pandemic, the world of work has significantly transformed, from remote work, to TikTok Gen Z trends of "lazy girl jobs," and "quiet-quitting," to global trends that have triggered mass coverage across news outlets and social media such as "The Great Resignation," and "The Great Rebalancing." As we near the close of this year, what is the outlook for 2024 and how will these predictions impact our careers?
Here are four key trends that are rapidly gaining a foothold in workplaces worldwide that you need to be aware of:
Gen Z Is Taking Over
Gen Z, a rapidly-growing generation, is predicted to constitute 23% of the global workforce by 2024. They are also currently estimated to be the most ethnically diverse generation, with more than 50% from non-white backgrounds. Having witnessed their Gen X parents endure the struggles of The Great Recession while they were growing up, and having seen (and often experienced) first-hand the effects of discrimination and the aftermath of the pandemic, this vibrant generation is fresh with ideas and the creativity to make a tangible difference in the future workplace and its culture.
Gen Z is naturally more tech-savvy than their older counterparts, due to coming of age at a time when social media platforms and smartphones were gaining rapid adoption, and appear to have a more open mind to the use of AI tools, social media, and other technologies to advance their careers and forge a name for themselves in business. Gen Z are not generally adverse to risk but tend to favor trends such as the gig economy, side hustles, and holding multiple jobs at a time, in an effort to evade poverty, financial instability, and the increased cost of living due to inflation.
Their slightly older counterparts, Millennials, and older generations such as Gen X and Baby Boomers, need to prepare for this sudden wave of Gen Z talent, and welcome their fresh innovative skill sets, while training and developing them to be more effective with their soft skills gap in the workforce. Gen Z can also proactively seek to polish their soft skills through being more self-aware, attending training to upskill and develop their leadership capabilities, and seeking the mentorship of older generations.
It's become virtually impossible not to notice the effects of AI, in particular, Generative AI, in the world of work. According to EY's recently released "Work Reimagined Survey," GenAI is "expected to have an outsized impact on the labor market, on career and learning pathways, and on the realities of work." "With AI and machine learning specialist job categories expected to balloon in the next five years, employees and employers are also already building expectations and investments around the technology," the report continued.
GenAI seems to be touching almost every industry, not just within technology, but in replacing humans, and augmenting processes for others where humans are not replaced. For example, on LinkedIn alone, the number of job postings mentioning ChatGPT as a desirable requirement has surged by 21 times, with the number of generative-AI keywords such as "ChatGPT" or "prompt engineering" on LinkedIn members' profiles rocketing 75% month over month on average since January 2023. It is crucial, therefore, to familiarize oneself with various GenAI tools, understand how they work, and upskill in their use and development while adding it to your work portfolio, if you want to be relevant to employers.
The New Remote
Remote work is also changing, much to the dismay of many employees who have adjusted to and favored the remote lifestyle of the pandemic. An entire week with 100% remote work is becoming less common, with the global pendulum shifting towards hybrid models to adapt to the expanding needs of businesses and the workforce, striking a balance between in-person team creativity, and autonomous working and collaboration. The hybrid work model has been forecasted to rise to 81% adoption, with Gen Z amongst its most enthusiastic supporters.
Therefore employees and employers alike need to stay open and discuss any concerns they may have mutually, coming to a mutual agreement on what work models will work best for them, how hybrid work will be implemented, and what exactly it will look like from day to day, i.e. one day a week, two days a week, or four days a week from the office?
Professionals who have been displaced due to layoffs, or seeking to make a career pivot, should also bear in mind that if they restrict their options to purely remote job opportunities, their chances are quite slim. To have the highest chance of securing a job offer within a reasonably short time, try to be as flexible as possible and consider how much in-office attendance you can commit to, and how far you are willing to commute.
Side hustles as a trend are steadily increasing, and are particularly popular among younger generations, with 70% of Gen Z and 50% of millennials admitting to having a side hustle. It's no wonder, considering inflation and the increased costs of living (depending on one's country of course). One is forced to make ends meet and have enough surplus to occasionally take vacation by supplementing the regular salary with surplus income from small businesses and odd jobs.
Influencer marketing has also significantly surged as a side hustle, with the influencer market accounting for an estimated $21.1 billion in 2023, a 29% increase from last year. This has become a popular side hustle for working professionals and especially for younger generations, although signs of older generations adopting this trend are creeping into notice as well.
If you find yourself comfortable in your current role, consider a side hustle now. Save some of your monthly pay-check and invest in a business venture that you're passionate about. You can never be too certain what your career future will hold, therefore having a back-up plan—another source of income to fall back on in case of emergency, layoff, etc., is always a wise idea.
The workplace is evolving at a rapid pace, and if you keep your head stuck in the sand and refuse to become aware of emerging changes, you will be ill-equipped for your career and will either remain stagnant or become obsolete. Staying "in the know" equips you to make educated decisions about your career, and approach the new year armed with confidence. Brace yourself for the road ahead, and use the insights provided in this article to fuel your career journey.
Article written by: Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.