2015 Workforce/Workplace Forecast


Every year, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. We hope you will use this information within your organization to reduce your stress through planning and drive more revenue by knowing what is coming.
  1. As more economies improve, companies will recruit the people they need to grow. With continuing growth in the United States and Europe, organizations of all sizes will take on new staff. The continuing challenge will be to find talent in the technical fields, particularly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas. The fastest growing occupations with the largest percentage growth expected through 2018 are Biomedical Engineers--72 percent, Network Systems Analysts---53 percent, Home Health Aides---50 percent, Personal and Home-Care Aides---46 percent, Financial Examiners---41 percent, Medical Scientists---40 percent, Physician Assistants---39 percent, Skin-Care Specialists---38 percent, Biochemists and Biophysicists---37 percent, and Athletic Trainers---37 percent.
  2. Workforce shortages will increase. Employers' previous reluctance to invest in training and development has resulted in severe shortages of trained, experienced workers in many fields. Now, realizing they must grow their own, some employers are re-investing internal training. An increasing number of employers now understand the importance of creating talent pipelines. More employers are beginning to work with local schools, colleges, and universities to create internships and mentor young people.
  3. Increasing use of technology and automation will shift talent needs. No matter what jobs employees fill, employers require that they have at least basic computer skills.  At higher levels, when employees are required to operate more complex systems, more sophisticated levels of talent are needed. Unfortunately, people with higher skill levels will not only be more difficult to recruit, but in many cases, they will be impossible to find. People with higher skill levels will continue to be in high demand and will be able to command high salaries.
  4. Outside of the US, unemployment rates will remain relatively high. Domestically in the US, unemployment will remain over 5.0 percent, though there is a huge question about those who have dropped out of the labor market. China's reported unemployment will remain fairly high (for China), fueled by continued relocation of production facilities out of the country. Employers worldwide will continue to face the challenge that many of the unemployed are simply not employable---either because they lack workforce or life skills.
  5. Climate change will continue to affect productivity. With the accelerating occurrence of natural disasters and increasingly stronger storms, employers will find worker productivity diminished---particularly for road warriors who are affected by delayed and cancelled flights. Increasing droughts and precipitation will cause more work suspensions affecting employees worldwide. Look for continued emphasis on Disaster Operations Plans.
  6. Communities will continue to embrace workforce development. With growing shortages of skilled labor, more communities have embraced what author Edward Gordon calls RETAINs (Regional Talent Innovation Networks)---public/private partnerships created to respond to the employers' increasing workforce needs, especially for folks with higher skill levels.
  7. Use of gamification in training and development will increase. Unfortunately, the payoff for many investments in work gamification failed to materialize Not realizing the real reasons for these these failures, some misguided employers left gamification. But others are embracing gamification as a means for encouraging participation in Training and Development. Particularly the younger generations will respond to the inclusion of the element of fun.
  8. Companies will hire more internal career coaches. Capitalizing on what recruiting guru Peter Weddle calls "Red Shirt Relationships" companies will hire internal career coaches to serve both developing employees and prospective candidates.
  9. Re-engineering will continue to increase. Organizations of all sizes will continue to eliminate positions and hire other workers. With the increasing automation of many jobs and processes, employers will need to hire more highly skilled people. Enlightened employers will engage their employees to help them find efficiencies---without outsourcing or getting rid of people.
  10. Employers worldwide will focus more on fostering healthy cultures. Recognizing the relationship between employee culture and profitability, more employers will invest in improving employee engagement and creating cultures in which people want to work. Lower turnover means increased profits.
  11. Escalating numbers of public shootings will take their toll on security and productivity. With an increase in the number of incidents in schools and workplaces, expect to see an increase in vigilance on the part of supervisors and leaders. This increased vigilance will cost employers both in real dollars to maintain that vigilance and in the reduced productivity that comes along.


From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist.


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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