The past year has been rife with evolving ideas about what future workplaces might look like. There’s been a shift in what workers expect from their jobs and who those workers are.

Employees are no longer interested in burning the midnight oil, said Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of Kanarys, a tech company that provides organizations with diversity, equity and inclusion data.

“What we’ve already seen is a more human-centric approach when we start to think about workforces,” Price said.

The Dallas Morning News spoke to a half dozen experts and employers on workplace trends expected for the upcoming year. In 2023, more workers will demand pay transparency and flexibility, while employers plan to invest in their existing talent and work to understand a new generation joining a more virtual workforce.

Upskilling

Companies are looking to invest in existing employees rather than hiring new ones. From the thousands of groups Kanarys has been tracking and CEOs they’ve been following, Price said business leaders are planning to upskill.

“They already have so much institutional knowledge about the organization,” Price said. “And [companies] want to be able to invest in their current workforce.”

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As new innovations and advancements change what’s needed from different jobs, there is a need for upskilling, Bryan Daniel, chairperson of the Texas Workforce Commission, said at a December Dallas Regional Chamber event.

Daniel points to a mismatch between the skills employers need and those in workers’ tool sheds, ranging from managerial abilities to software maintenance. Investing in Texas’ existing workforce will be beneficial to the state’s growth, he said, as the state competes to retain talent.

“There are 49 states trying to get the jobs that Texas employers have created, all the time,” Daniel said.

Ed Curtis, the founder of YTexas, a network aimed at supporting companies moving or expanding to Texas, said better communication with young people about the needs and skills that are newly required, ahead of their embarking on careers, can help fill holes in the workforce.

“Texas is in a good position when it comes to available workforce and meeting the needs of the companies that are coming here and expanding,” Curtis said.

Gen Z becomes a force

By 2025, more than a fourth of the workforce will be Gen Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012. The younger cohort of workers is more vocal and diverse than its predecessors. The group is prioritizing pay and work-life balance. The generation expects something completely different in the workforce than the generations before them, Price said.

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Gen Z workers are struggling with financial anxiety and pushing for more purposeful and flexible work, according to a Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial report surveying 14,808 Gen Zs and 8,412 millennials.

Those who were satisfied with their employers’ societal and environmental impact said they are more likely to want to stay with their employer, according to the Deloitte report.

“They’re not looking to be at an organization and be there long term for 20, 30 years,” Price said of Gen Z workers. “The way they think of the workforce and their place in it is just very, very different.”

Flexible hours, workweeks

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of women in the workforce has yet to rebound.

To retain employees, companies will need to find ways to support workers and their caregiving responsibilities. More than one-fourth of women said the biggest career obstacle is taking time off for caregiving and lack of affordable child care, according to a GOBankingRates survey. Caregiving is an emerging group 12% of companies are tracking, a Syndio report found.

“There will be pushback around how to balance those caregiving responsibilities with the requirements of actually being in office,” Price said. “Companies need to either provide a hybrid or work-from-home option.”

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The United Kingdom kicked off a six-month, four-day workweek pilot program earlier this year that had promising midpoint figures. While U.S. companies overall are further from considering a four-day week, a California congressman introduced a bill to reduce the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours.

More traditional industries like financial services and manufacturing are mostly back in person, while industries like tech are hybrid and more willing to try new approaches.

With hybrid work models becoming more widely adapted, large headquarter spaces are likely to decline and companies will opt for smaller offices and sublease their space.

The percentage of remote job listings on LinkedIn reached an all-time high of 20% in February 2022. By October, only 1 out of 7 job postings in the country offered remote work, according to LinkedIn Economic Graph data. While the number of remote positions has slowed down, it’s still up nearly 10-fold from remote work’s share of LinkedIn job posts in January 2020.

Pay transparency

More states across the country are adopting pay transparency laws, requiring employers to give clear salary information to candidates upfront. California, Colorado and New York City are among the areas now required to post a salary range with a job listing.

More than two-thirds of U.S. employees want more transparency from their companies about pay practices, according to a report by Lattice, a performance and compensation management service platform. More than half of workers surveyed said companies should disclose everyone’s salary.

Price said whether or not pay transparency is legislated within Texas, the other major cities’ and states requiring posted salary ranges will influence local employers as they compete for talent.

“It’s going to have an organic ripple effect that we’re going to start to see throughout the nation,” Price said.