3 Considerations for the 2021 Workplace Revolution



In a recent study, Pulse of the American Worker Survey, conducted for Prudential by Morning Consult in May of this year, the work and life expectations of American workers post-pandemic were analyzed. The results, which are explored below, indicate that the pandemic has indeed shifted the bar by which employees gauge the appropriate balance between work and life. The overwhelming majority of post-pandemic workers indicate they are reevaluating their careers, goals and personal priorities. So, what can employers expect from the workforce as they reopen their doors and scout for fresh talent? The MICPA has identified three major factors to consider as companies look for new ways to attract and retain talent.

What’s in Your Wallet? According to the study, among the top three major concerns workers have is money (58%). Further, of the quarter of respondents planning to change jobs after the pandemic, half cited compensation as their top deciding factor. This makes sense, considering 8 in 10 workers reported that their financial security relies on their job, and half of workers are currently experiencing some level of financial insecurity (with specific concern regarding an inability to cover unexpected expenses or medical bills) while 6 in 10 workers are worried about their long-term financial security.  

Gettin’ (Re)Skilled. The accounting profession is no stranger to upskilling, especially as recent advancements in technology has led an entire generation of CPAs into new territory, not as number crunchers, but steadfast, trusted financial advisors on everything from investing to estate planning. So, perhaps the idea that 71% of this survey’s respondents indicated they expect their employer to offer some type of training to accommodate necessary or evolving skills within their workplace. Further, the overwhelming majority of workers support efforts by policymakers that encourage employers to provide employee training (82%), federal education grants for short-term job training programs (77%) and Congressional policies that would provide career training and development (71%). Training in basic computer applications, workplace message and collaboration platforms and network and information security are the top three tech skills employees believe they will need moving forward.

Striking the Balance. Employee experience (EX), in the midst of what The New York Times describes as the YOLO economy, is more important than ever when it comes to attracting and retaining talent in 2021. The largest facet of EX is shaping up to be flexibility, a sentiment echoed by Prudential’s survey, particularly among Millennial respondents (55%) who reported having to make “tradeoffs” between personal and work obligations last year, though nearly half of all respondents reported making these types of decisions. Moreover, the need for flexibility is even greater among those workers that are caregivers in their personal lives, with 45% of those respondents indicating they would quit their current roles if asked to return to the office fulltime. As caregivers comprised 40% of workers surveyed…this is not an insignificant consideration. From the managerial side, 65% of managers report heightened productivity during the pandemic despite it reportedly taking longer for employees to complete tasks. Even so, 56% of managers would like their direct reports to avoid burnout by taking more time off.

Based on these findings, it is evident the American workforce, from the top down, is undergoing something of a revolution. The flexibility offered during the pandemic is no longer a trend brought about by a global crisis, but an expectation of an entire workforce. In a recent interview with NPR, Tsedal Neeley, professor at Harvard Business School and author of Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere, explained, “We have changed. Work has changed. The way we think about time and space has changed2.”

Has your perspective on work or management changed in the last year? Take up the discussion on MICPA Connect to trade experiences with other members and leaders within the community. 

  1. Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Special Report.Prudential. 2021. Accessed on 9 Jul 2021.
  2. Hsu, Andrea. “As the Pandemic Recedes, Millions…NPR. 24 Jun 2021. Accessed on 9 Jul 2021.

Source: MICPA

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