Economist Impact, supported by the Adecco Group, presents employment forecasts that offer a new way of understanding the labour market outlook at a global and regional level. Dive into the research.

This article was authored by Coram Williams, CFO and Chief Economist, the Adecco Group.


Nearly two-and-a-half years on from the first outbreak of covid-19, global businesses are still operating in uncertain times. One of the greatest challenges relates to talent scarcity: are there enough people, with the right skills, to get your organisation’s work done? The answer is not simple.

To chart a path forward, Economist Impact, supported by the Adecco Group, presents employment forecasts that offer a new way of understanding the labour market outlook at a global and regional level. Covid-19 has impacted labour markets across global regions differently, and so different recovery paths should be expected. At a global level our analysis expects the labour market to recover fully from the impact of covid-19 by next year.

However, when we dive deeper, our unique scenario analysis highlights the myriad factors that could delay this recovery, with regions such as South America and the Middle East and Africa potentially not recovering until 2025 and beyond.

What should organisations do to operate successfully in uncertain times? First, stay focused on resilient, flexible business models. The shockwaves impacting talent scarcity discussed in this report go beyond employment levels and job vacancies and are complex and varied: inflation, as well as inflation expectations and central bank policy responses; the Ukraine crisis creating geopolitical instability, displacing workers and driving inflation; covid-19’s continued impact on supply chains, price inflation, as well as further breakouts of covid-19 itself; and rapidly shifting worker expectations.

Organisations should not let this list overwhelm them—by maintaining a focus on resilient, flexible business models championed during the first two years of the covid-19 crisis and adapting them to cope with ongoing uncertainty it is entirely possible to forge a strong and successful path forward.

Second, understand the workforce at a skills level and embrace the entire talent pool.
Invest in understanding skills data to better position, develop and upskill all workers. Envelop contingent workers seamlessly into workforce planning and talent management. Support workers re-joining the workforce, for example by non-discriminately offering “returnships” after parental leave or long-term sickness absence. Finally, consider automation as an option but treat workers with respect and care when designing and implementing human-machine working practices.

To manage a complex workforce in uncertain times, organisations should use scenario analysis as part of their strategic workforce planning to stay cognisant of regional labour market differences and ongoing developments. Taking a skill-based approach, having clarity on which skills are essential to the business, in which regions, at which times allows greater efficiency and accuracy when sourcing, positioning and developing talent. It is also prudent to plan carefully when and where reliable and consistent access to people and skills is needed and where flexibility can be used advantageously to tackle uncertainty.

Third, pay attention to new workforce expectations. The Adecco Group surveyed 14,000 workers to understand their priorities, and our results demonstrate that maintaining a good work-life balance is just as important as salary. Career development and upskilling and reskilling opportunities, feeling trusted to get the job done, having leaders who exercise empathy and a company with great purpose are also key components for an engaged and loyal workforce.

Once again, organisations should not feel overwhelmed by these demands but instead realise the vast array of opportunities to improve working life and, in return, contribute to a healthy and productive global workforce.

The Adecco Group is pleased to support Economist Impact’s research, which aims to provide organisations with more clarity on the economic forces impacting employment and wage pressures. This is unique research for a unique moment in the labour market’s history, helping organisations to make the future work for everyone.

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