Sep 01, 2015

What’s Trending in the Workforce – Q3 of 2015

At DCR TrendLine, we’re always focused on what’s trending in anything to do with non-employee worker demand and supply. This month, we’re presenting our quarterly view of critical trends in key talent sectors of the staffing industry and workforce management.


According to a new survey by CareerBuilder, the traditional eight-hour work day may no longer be the norm. The survey found that 63 percent of workers in industries that historically have more traditional work hours (such as information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and businesses services) believe that “working nine to five” is an outdated concept. Half of the workers surveyed said they check or respond to work-related emails outside of work hours, and 38 percent said they continue to work outside of work hours. A Gallup study from 2014 found that most workers do not see working outside of traditional hours as a burden.


A report by ThinkWise on team performance found that six out of ten senior executives believe that their teams are underperforming and think team size may be to blame. The report found that smaller organizations have teams that perform better than midsize and larger organizations. Across company sizes, teams with fewer than 10 people are performing better, with 50 percent performing at full potential compared to 36 percent of teams with 10 to 50 people. Senior executives also reported that the way teams are built plays a role in their ability to perform. Two-thirds of respondents identified self-selected teams as the best-performing teams.


Many companies are beginning to incorporate wearable technology into their workforces to monitor employee movements and improve productivity. These wearable devices include wristbands, smartwatches, and badges. A key trend is companies using wearable devices to track employee health by using fitness monitors to keep tabs on their activity levels as part of wellness programs. This data can then be tied into health insurance policy premiums or other incentive programs to reduce healthcare costs. According to Gartner, nearly 2,000 companies worldwide offered their staff fitness trackers in 2013, rising to 10,000 in 2014, and it is predicted that most companies with over 500 employees will offer fitness trackers by 2016. In industries with high-risk roles, wearables are playing a role in safety. Examples include baseball caps that have sensors to detect alertness for drivers and smartglasses that capture video of complex problems encountered in construction and manufacturing.  Other companies are using wearable devices to streamline logistics, such as workers in Amazon’s warehouses who wear GPS tags and have a handheld scanner that tells them the most efficient route to collect an item for delivery. While the introduction of wearable technology is expected to lead to data-driven efficiency, many are concerned about the issue of workers’ right to privacy and data security, since these devices often capture personal and biometric information.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule. Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies yet, but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.” ~Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder