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‘The great transition’: New ways of working and new expectations

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read
The Great Transition New Ways Of Working And New Expectations

The reports are in, we’ve entered a new phase of working: ‘the great transition’. With the implications of the pandemic subsiding and new processes being pushed to the forefront, times of change are affecting the global workforce in significant ways.

These trends were discussed in ADP’s People at Work 2024: A Global Workforce View report, outlining how practices are shifting and what employees are expecting in this new age of work.

“This year will mark an important transition from a troubled, pandemic-driven economy to a new, post-pandemic world. In this new version of work, the pandemic imprint lingers, but technological advances, changing demographics and shifting workplace norms will drive seismic change,” said ADP.


In fact, there’s a lot more that workers want. Pay, for instance, is on people’s minds; no doubt due to the rising cost of living. Workers put salary at the top of their priority list for the fourth consecutive year, with 55 per cent of respondents ranking pay among their top three job priorities.

The most important priorities for workers were listed as:

  1. Salary (55 per cent)
  2. Job security (46 per cent)
  3. Career progression (34 per cent)
  4. Enjoyment of a day of work (29 per cent)
  5. Flexibility of hours (25 per cent)
  6. Training and development (20 per cent)
  7. Job title (17 per cent)
  8. Flexibility of location (15 per cent)
  9. Company culture (11 per cent)

People are feeling the economic pressure, with employees more dissatisfied with their pay than any other prioritised attribute, and expectations of pay increases are only rising, noted ADP.

Last year’s survey revealed that the average pay increase for workers globally was 4 per cent. This year, workers are expecting increases of 5 per cent. Workers are “likely to be disappointed”, said ADP, as employees often overestimate their pay gains.

Realism has set in for some, though, as 19 per cent believe their pay will remain unchanged, up from 16 per cent in 2023.

Remuneration isn’t the be all and end all of the global workforce, however. For younger workers, development opportunities took the top spot, with one in five prioritising training and experience, more than any other age group.

Despite this, less than half of workers said their employer invests in the skills they need to advance, and almost half believe they need more tech skills in the future of work. Simply put by ADP, “workers don’t trust that their employers are investing in their careers”.

Interestingly, flexibility is missing from the priorities list, which ADP attributes to people growing to accept these policies as a given in the modern workforce. However, a quarter said they want flexible hours provided by their employer.

Economic trouble may be present, but job security remains steady. However, some are anxious about the rise of AI and its impact on roles, with 21 per cent believing it will replace most of their function. Still, 19 per cent believe AI will have no impact on their job. People who embrace AI seem to have less worries of replacement than those who are cautious of it.

All of these compounding themes are taking their toll on worker wellbeing, with half of workers saying they feel stressed in their role. However, the proportion of workers who said they feel stressed every day has dropped below pre-COVID-19 levels.

More can be done, however, as just 21 per cent of respondents feel their employer fully supports their mental wellbeing.

ADP said: “For employers seeking to navigate a labour market in transition, having a keen awareness of workforce sentiment is crucial. Companies that communicate clearly, calibrate worker expectations, nurture trust and invest in skill development can stay ahead of what’s to come.”



The term "workforce" or "labour force" refers to the group of people who are either employed or unemployed.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.