HR Megatrends 2022

Nobody could have predicted a global pandemic, but many of the associated workforce challenges organisations have been grappling with over the past few years — skills and labour shortages, business continuity challenges, climate change, and more — have been looming on the horizon for decades. Smart organisations have learned that they must pay close attention to emerging trends so they can be as agile as possible to maintain business continuity during times of uncertainty or dramatic shifts in workforce indicators.

That’s why each year UKG brings together an international team of researchers, social scientists, and business leaders to identify the most significant trends impacting the global workforce. Our goal? To gather valuable resources and insights that provide a glimpse into the future to help you prepare for what’s coming next.

HR Megatrends 2022

#1 – The Growing Influence of Gray-Collar Workers

#1 The Growing Influence of Gray-Collar Workers

Workforce conversations have traditionally centered around either white- or blue-collar workers, overlooking many crucial — and growing — subsets of the workforce. “Gray-collar workers” exhibit a unique combination of physical and technical skills (ex: healthcare, field engineers, warehouse automation), making their skills difficult to fully automate with high projected job growth.

Gray-collar employers are among those struggling most to attract and retain their people due to pandemic-related burnout, demand for remote and hybrid options, and an aging workforce — in addition to the general labour and talent shortage. Organisations will need to focus on understanding and investing in this specific workforce segment to remain competitive. We have some suggestions.

65% of top 20 fastest-growing roles are gray-collar opportunities


2022 Megatrends: 3 Global Trends Impacting Your Business

UKG thought leaders Dr. Jarik Conrad, VP of Human Insights, and Karina Monesson, Sr. Manager of Research and Advisory, explore the factors exacerbating the “Great Resignation” in this hour-long discussion of HR megatrends.

Why ‘Gray-collar’ Workers May Just Be the Answer to Your Post-pandemic Hiring Woes

Learn why the pool between white- and blue-collar works who, with a little investment, could help fill those Great Resignation vacancies.

How ‘Gray-collar’ Workers Became the Overlooked Essential Employee

Gray-collar workers find themselves at an important juncture between technology and the blue- and white-collar workers. Find out why they are the new essential employee the global workforce needs right now.

#2 – The New Ethics of Leadership

#2 The New Ethics of Leadership

We’ve entered a new era of social activism. Employees and customers alike expect organisations to embrace hot-button issues such as social justice, ethical AI, employee wellbeing, and climate change. Employees’ standards are high, especially amid a historic talent shortage. Being an “employer of choice” has never been more challenging, or important.

Valuing the relationships and voices of employees, trusting them in the new virtual and remote world of work, putting people before profits, and overcommunicating through challenging times are several pillars where leaders must commit — or else suffer the potential consequences.

The use of employee surveillance technology grew 100% from 2020-2021.


2022 Megatrends in HR

Learn everything you need to know about the top three HR megatrends impacting organisations long-term — including best practices and actions you can take today to be prepared for change. The underlying message? Adapt to survive.

Beyond the Great Resignation: 3 Trends Shaping the Future

A rising gray-collar workforce, upskilling, and new leadership ethics are among the trends that should be on the radar for forward-thinking HR leaders.

Revealed: HR ‘Megatrends’ of 2022

Gray-collar workers find themselves at an important juncture between technology and the blue- and white-collar workers. Find out why they are the new essential employee the global workforce needs right now.

#3 – The Rapidly Changing Compliance Landscape

#3 The Rapidly Changing Compliance Landscape

The speed with which new workforce legislation rolls out has been steadily increasing since 2008 — a trend that was further amplified during the pandemic. With increased OSHA activity, vaccine mandates, and heightened lawsuits, the compliance landscape looks like it will only continue to become more volatile.

To stay agile, HR and business leaders will need to completely rethink their approach to compliance. What’s more, we suggest leaders seriously begin investigating their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) metrics — these are currently voluntary, but don’t be surprised if you see them becoming mandatory, standardized, and audited within the next decade.

Employer fines and penalties increased 92% from 2018-2020.


The Case for Compliance Agility

In order to adapt to the changing nature of compliance, HR and business leaders need to completely rethink their approach and become more agile.

Compliance Agility: How HR Can Keep Pace with Regulatory Change

The growth of technological innovation has created a regulatory nightmare as organisations try to keep pace with ever-changing compliance laws. But there’s some good news to help alleviate your compliance anxiety.

3 Megatrends Defining HR Right Now

Looking to apply the megatrends to your role or organisation? This eBook connects megatrends with the technology, service, and culture initiatives so you can take these trends from merely being informative to being actionable.

Dr. Jarik Conrad

In 2022, high-performing companies will lean into their commitments to change — changing the way they recruit employees, changing the status quo through more ethical and inclusive leadership, and changing mindsets from tackling today to investing in tomorrow. We invite all organisations to commit to necessary change for an even brighter future of work.

Dr. Jarik Conrad, VP of Human Insights at UKG

Featured Resources

Be prepared for the megatrends on the horizon. Read more insights from our UKG thought leadership team.

3 Global Megatrends Impacting Your Business in 2022

Short on time? Learn the key research and takeaways driving top workforce trends in this quick overview.

HR Options to Combat Talent Shortages, Degree Inflation, and Skills Gaps

In 2020 the World Economic Forum warned that “the world is facing a reskilling emergency.” Learn how the pandemic has escalated that emergency and what organisations can do to face this issue head on.

The 3 HR Megatrends That Will Impact Businesses Long Term in 2022

Researchers, thought leaders, and social scientists from around the world have partnered with UKG to share their insights into the trends impacting organisations each year. Find out what they say the biggest trends will be in 2022.

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