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12 January 20223 minute read

Global Employment 2021 in Review, 2022 in Preview

These are challenging times for employers. As the world emerged from lockdowns in 2021, organizations the world over had to decide if and how to return employees back to workplaces safely. Hybrid work has been the solution for many, but brings with it a host of legal, practical and cultural challenges. The Great Resignation has pressured many employers to re-evaluate talent strategies while contending with labor shortages. As COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, employers were suddenly centre stage in public health efforts to encourage vaccine take-up. A renewed emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting has increased pressure on businesses to bolster approaches to human rights, labor issues, and diversity and inclusion (D&I). At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated other workplace changes for many businesses, including investments in technology and AI. All this while employers continue to grapple with ongoing economic uncertainty.

As we look ahead to 2022, more change is inevitable, but there are also opportunities. New COVID-19 variants, evolving vaccine mandates and responsive measures will impact many organizations. Hybrid work and related issues will remain high on the agenda. The closure of government support schemes is likely to result in restructurings and other cost cutting measures. COVID-19 aside, there is a renewed focus on whistleblowing as new EU-wide laws come into force. ESG and D&I will remain top priorities. As 2021 closed out, significant new EU laws were proposed to regulate platform work.

Businesses are adapting to changed conditions and seizing opportunities. The pandemic years have revealed an enormous capacity for employers and employees to adapt and innovate at pace out of necessity. Organizations are moving into new jurisdictions organically or via acquisition; finding new ways to recruit and reward diverse talent; and embracing new technologies and ways of working. Many workplaces have changed for the better, with workers able to enjoy greater flexibility in how and where they work and with an increased focus on health, safety and well-being. Many corporate leaders are considering whether their business models and plans meet the needs of workers, customers and communities. We are optimistic about the potential for real and meaningful change as we move forward.

In our review of 2021 and preview of 2022, we identify the top trends impacting global employers and share our predictions for the coming months. We also have produced country by country reviews of 2021 and previews of 2022 for 40 jurisdictions across EMEA, Asia Pacific and the Americas. Scroll to the tabs to view our global report or click on a regional tab to view our country content.

Watch our on demand global webinar where we discussed these developments and more.