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3 ways work has changed — and what that means for jobs of the future

CareerBuilder | August 19, 2021

3 ways work has evolved

Thousands of workers and hiring managers shared their thoughts on jobs right now. What they had to say will shape the future of work.

Ever wish you could read a hiring manager’s mind? Or better yet, take a glimpse into the brains of all sorts of other workers, get a sense of what people expect from this new age of Zoom interviews and unfilled jobs and whatever a “TikTok resume” is?

Well, CareerBuilder can’t give you supernatural powers. But together with our partners at The Harris Poll, we’ve come close. We asked thousands of hiring managers and workers how they’re tackling this wild new world of work, from wages and benefits to hiring practices and the gig economy. It’s as close to an employment crystal ball as you can get — and the insights it contains will shape the way we work for the foreseeable future.

Don’t miss out on the fascinating full breakdown of this data. In the meantime, here are some highlights:


Skills-based hiring is the future

This is going to sound hard to believe, but just about everyone actually agrees on something: 1) your skills matter more than the job titles you’ve held in the past, and 2) since skills are so important, we need more opportunities for learning them. Just look at these numbers:

  • 31% of hiring managers say skills-based hiring is their top priority this year.
  • 85% will focus less on candidates’ prior titles and more on their skills and experience.
  • Just two years ago, only 62% of hiring managers had ever hired someone who didn’t have all the skills required by the job, planning to provide training. But fast-forward to today, and...
  • A whopping 88% of hiring managers hire candidates who demonstrate strong “soft skills,” then train them on job-specific abilities.
  • 91% of workers say it is important to learn new skills that could advance their career.

So, what’s this mean?

COVID-19 rocked industries and fractured neat, linear career tracks into zigzags, with people using their transferable skills to switch jobs or even fields. (Here’s how to do so yourself.) Where you used to work doesn’t matter as much as what you can do. So don’t hold back on the skills section of your resume, and don’t be afraid to apply to jobs that you might need a little training to do.

Hiring managers want competent professionals who are ready to level up, and workers want opportunities for professional development. Read the full breakdown to dig deeper into the era of skills-based hiring.

Oh, and speaking of what workers want…


Workers have the power

It goes without saying that the pandemic pushed employees into precarity. Frontline workers risked exposure to the virus and millions across industries lost their jobs. But now, workers have something that’s been in short supply: leverage.

As companies claw their way back toward pre-pandemic levels of production and profit, they need workers — the same workers who faced agitated customers, a potentially deadly virus and ultimately unemployment as we all learned the terrible phrase “COVID-19.” They’re not going to go through all that again without better incentives. Put another way: labor makes that paper, and if companies want to succeed, they’re going to have to pony up with higher wages and enhanced benefits.

Over a third of current workers expect more than a 5% salary increase each year; nearly twice as many look for this when switching jobs. And when they do switch jobs, there are five things they want to see:

  1. Ability to work remotely.
  2. Flex time.
  3. A short commute.
  4. Paid leave, especially for parents and caretakers.
  5. In-house training.

A lot of those workers might just get what they are hoping for: 80% of hiring managers believe there will be higher employee turnover in the future if they do not accommodate employees’ personal lives. That’s leading to some major changes:

  • 62% of hiring managers plan to increase initial job offers for new employees in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • Among hiring managers who have minimum wage workers, 56% plan to pay them $15 or more per hour, with the largest companies (5,001+ employees) the most likely to report this (68%).
  • 51% anticipate their organization will raise their minimum wage in 2021.

If you’ve been thinking about jumping into a new line of work, now’s the time. Bids for labor are going up and up. Don’t miss your shot at reaping the benefits.

Want more insight into these dramatic shifts? Read the full breakdown.


Side hustles are here to stay

News of higher wages couldn’t come sooner for low-wage workers. An eye-popping 39% of workers rely on gig work and side jobs just to make ends meet. Those most likely to find themselves in this situation:

  • Have a household income below $50K (49%).
  • Work in a blue-collar role (50%).
  • Work in the construction and extraction industry (57%).

The numbers are even starker for the 19% of workers with more than one job; 69% of them say they need gig work to get by.

Learn more about the rise of gig work and the challenges facing low-wage workers in our full breakdown of the data.


There is so much more to learn

All this is just an appetizer. If you want the full feast of the latest information about employment — from how workers expect companies to increase diversity to how hiring managers are trying to help remote workers disconnect at the end of the day — read our full breakdown of the data.


Related reading

  • Are you one of the thousands of workers looking for remote work opportunities? You’ve got to read our list of the 20 best jobs for working from home.
  • Geez, you've got to write a resume? No sweat, we've made it easy.
  • Looking to get into a new line of work? You’ll want to snag one of the highest-paying entry-level jobs.
  • “So, why did you leave your last job?” You don’t want to talk about it. The job interviewer does. But don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s how to answer that question without sticking your foot in your mouth.