The future of work: Bridging the workplace expectation gap

Talent Trends 2024: Understanding workplace expectations

Michael Page's latest Talent Trends report—The Expectation Gap—is out and serves as a beacon for businesses seeking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the global workforce. Through extensive research involving 50,000 participants across 37 markets, this report offers a deep dive into the motivations, attitudes, and values driving skilled professionals across diverse industries. 

Can't wait? Access the Global report now

Key findings from the report

The 2024 Michael Page Talent Trends report reveals essential insights for businesses to stay ahead, remain agile, and inform an effective workforce planning process. From salary considerations to company culture, work-life balance, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), and talent development, our report offers a panoramic view of the modern workforce landscape.

The rise of The Expectation Gap and the implications for organizational leaders

At the heart of this year's report lies the rise of an Expectation Gap in the workplace.

When it comes to considering accepting or applying for a new role, over half of respondents said a higher salary is essential. Employers also recognize this sentiment, as 53% believe salary is the top factor for workers compared to last year’s 37%; therefore, understanding professionals’ evolving demands in the hiring process is crucial. 

But here's the twist: simply offering a good salary isn't always enough to keep employees around. Our data shows that once people are in a job, they prioritize more than just the money, as work-life balance and well-being are most important for job satisfaction. 

Today’s talent is more diverse than ever before as workers span from fresh graduates to seasoned professionals with diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. As a result, building an inclusive culture has never been more challenging or critical; it's paramount for organizations to be agile and open-minded when developing their people strategies.

Key themes in 2024 Talent Trends:

Embracing autonomy and flexibility to accommodate the growing demand for work-life balance.

Although salary is still a key driver when it comes to accepting or applying for new roles, in the matter of retention, a noteworthy shift is observed in priorities, with many respondents prioritizing work-life balance over traditional markers of career progression, such as salary. Nothing demonstrates this more than the data revealing 48% of workers would turn down a promotion to prioritize their well-being. 

This trend calls to question whether work-life balance has become more valuable than pay and career advancement, underscoring a change in the meaning of flexibility, with a growing demand for options like flexible working hours hybrid working. 

Cultivating an environment of respect, trust, and inclusivity to foster employee engagement and retention.

Only 26% of respondents believe their workplace is inclusive, highlighting the pressing need for action in this area. The type of discrimination most experienced was age, cited by 44% of respondents. What’s more, it was not any one part of the workforce feeling this impact, as those over 50 were most likely to be discriminated against due to age (56%), followed by those in their 40s (34%) and 30s (35%). Those in their 20s were least likely to experience agism (42%). 

To bridge this "Expectation Gap,” organizations must evaluate their people strategies across various fronts, including fostering respectful, trustworthy environments, along with implementing cohesive DE&I strategies.

Proactively addressing technological advancements and supporting workforce learning and development to stay relevant in an increasingly digital landscape.

Moreover, as workplaces continue to evolve amid technological advancements, a proactive response to change is essential to closing the skills gap. Contrary to popular belief that AI is a future concept, it’s already being adopted by many in the workplace. However, it’s important to remember AI is not ready to replace humans yet.

Instead, embracing technology as a tool to enhance productivity and efficiency can pave the way for long-term success. Investing in learning and development has never been more critical—for businesses and their employees.

What’s next for your strategic workforce planning?

There is no “one size fits all” solution to an effective people strategy, as organizational challenges come in different shapes and sizes. However, there are strategies and steps businesses can take as part of their hiring and onboarding process to bridge the expectation gap and cultivate a thriving workforce.

Michael Page's 2024 Talent Trends report provides a comprehensive roadmap for businesses seeking to meet the expectations of the modern workforce effectively. 

By leveraging the insights gleaned from the report, organizations can adapt their talent strategies to navigate the complexities of the evolving business landscape successfully. Access the full report and interactive tool to embark on a journey towards bridging the expectation gap and unlocking the full potential of your workforce.

Access the latest finding from Talent Trends

If you’re ready to start a conversation about your hiring needs, request a call back and one of our expert consultants will be in touch to discuss your needs.

Get in touch

IMPORTANT: By submitting your email address and any other personal information to this website, you consent to such information being collected, held, used and disclosed in accordance with our PRIVACY POLICY and our website TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

Our recruitment expertise

Explore our invaluable knowledge and insights into our specialist areas.

Find out more

Upload a job brief

Speak to one of our consultants about your hiring needs.

Upload now