Workforce demographics have changed considerably in the last 40 years; for instance, the ratio of women to men in the workforce has risen to 54.6% (up from about 45% in the 1980s), and people of color now make up nearly one-third of our nation’s employee base. The new global economy continues to drive this percentage higher.
Some of the most notable changes have occurred in the last 20-plus years, when millennials started entering the workforce. These individuals, currently aged 21-41, now make up 35% of the labor force, the largest generation in the workforce today. In fact, the average age of the U.S. worker today is 41 — the upper end of the millennial range.
What these numbers tell us is that our workforce is eclectic, diverse, and fairly young. These characteristics, along with the shifting trends in market globalization and of course the recent pandemic, have changed modern workplace trends and thereby the type of training companies should provide to their workers.
In this day and age, employees are eschewing the old 8-to-five, 5-day workweek paradigm in favor of the flexibility to choose their own schedules and the freedom to work remotely. These new priorities have led to a meteoric rise in remote work, freelance work, and what has become known as the gig economy. This is necessitating employers to offer and adapt to different schedules and skillfully manage a more flexible, fluid team.
Today’s workforce has also moved toward a much greater dependence on technology, which has had the effect of workers who are never really able to “log off” from their jobs. Because they are reachable at any time of day, and in almost any far-flung corner of the world, many employees find themselves working seven days a week — even while they’re on vacation. This trend can lead to burnout and depression, which in turn negatively effects productivity and morale. Therefore, employers and employees have started shining an increasingly brighter light on the need for work/life balance, and employers need to find ways to offer that balance to their employees.
The diversity, flexibility, and fluidity of the modern workforce must be reflected in corporate training practices. To meet the needs of today’s workers, employers should offer dynamic, engaging, and flexible virtual training opportunities that can reach everybody and don’t take up unnecessary time and travel. A liberal array of virtual learning tools should inspire learners of different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and learning styles to learn in their own ways. Learners should be empowered by engaging tools and methodologies such as virtual role playing, breakout groups, and gamification strategies, rather than relying on old-school lectures and the one-size-fits-all practices.
Today’s workers understand and utilize technology on a scale never seen before. Agile companies recognize that, and in the words of Ken Taylor, President of Training Industry, Inc., “Emerging technologies have the potential to add context, relevance, and personalization to the learning experience,” and they leverage those technologies to create a virtual learning environment that meets the needs of the people who comprise our workforce today.
Jigsaw Interactive has created a virtual learning environment that meets the needs of the modern workforce while giving companies the ability and opportunity to measure the outcomes and performance of their learning and development programs.
You can learn more about Jigsaw’s unique technology at www.JigsawInteractive.com.