new Talent Trends research and report from Randstad Sourceright reveal the outlook of corporate leaders in 17 markets 

Following last year’s unprecedented economic downturn, it’s encouraging to see signs of better conditions ahead. Vaccines are making their way into the global community, employers expect to hire more, and optimism is growing among world government and business leaders.

This means employers must be ready to hit the ground running when the turnaround accelerates. With the recent shifts in the global economy, and how work gets done, it can be a challenging time for human capital leaders to decipher the economic tea leaves.

As the leader of our sector, Randstad is helping clients to navigate today’s increasingly complex talent landscape through our advisory and research services. An example of our guidance is Randstad Sourceright’s just-released 2021 Talent Trends Report. This comprehensive survey and report capture the outlook and experiences of 850 senior human capital and C-suite leaders in 17 markets, touching upon many trends ranging from work-from-home arrangements to talent redeployment to employee wellness. 

the rising importance of HR

There’s no question that HR has been critical to many organizations’ business continuity efforts during the past year, and our data shows that most senior leaders (65%) believe HR’s role has shifted significantly since the onset of the global pandemic. Human capital executives have been instrumental to preserving productivity, worker safety and wellbeing by developing rapid responses to safety and regulatory requirements, enabling employees to operate remotely, and by initiating wellness and family support programs. They must continue to be creative and resourceful as the pandemic’s impact moves into next stages in the months ahead.

To do this, these leaders will need to carefully track and respond to the most significant trends impacting the world of work. How well companies prepare their workforce to respond and execute on business imperatives will determine whether they stay ahead of the competition or fall behind. The Talent Trends Report identifies the 10 biggest forces that companies need to know for 2021 and what human capital leaders think about them.

For instance, reskilling has emerged as one of the most critical concerns for many organizations as they look to redeploy idle resources. There is widespread consensus (cited by 92% of corporate leaders) that companies have a responsibility to provide training, but they also believe it’s a shared obligation among the private sector, government (cited by 68%) and universities (65%). Workers themselves also bear a responsibility to seek out and utilize training whenever possible.

protect the wellbeing of the workforce

Getting a workforce ready for the road ahead also means ensuring their wellbeing. All these months of restrictions, heightened safety concerns, and juggling work and personal responsibilities at home have placed enormous stress on individuals. Although HR leaders have excelled at looking out for employees, more support may be needed as restrictions linger. 

Fortunately, most of the corporate leaders we surveyed believe that having a wellness program is critical to attracting and retaining talent. They know this because studies have shown that engagement had actually risen in 2020, despite worries to the contrary. In fact, productivity has held up surprisingly well, even improving for some organizations.

As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, many questions remain about the future of work: when will companies call their employees back to the office full time or do they need to at all; how will safety protocols evolve as vaccines are administered; how will companies change their approach to ensure greater workforce diversity and inclusion; and how does the gig economy further redefine the future of work?

Many of these topics are discussed in the 2021 Talent Trends Report, with commentary by global employers and our own subject matter experts. We hope this essential report can help you better understand the forces reshaping the global labor market, and your company’s trajectory, in the year ahead.

about the author

Jacques van den Broek

ceo and chair of the executive board

Randstad's Global CEO, leading our mission of supporting people and organizations in realizing their true potential.