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Trends for the world of work in 2023 and 2024



Hybrid working is not the only new trend in the world of work although it must have been the trend that changed the workplace the most.

After the world of work changing so much over the past few years, it is important to know which trends to watch out for in the workplace in 2024, such as how to retain talent, value experience and drive productivity.

“As we journey into 2024, the world of work faces a critical juncture as it navigates through a complex web of challenges and opportunities. Technological advancements are having a huge impact and there is growing concern about the need for sustainability. As a result, the dynamics of work are undergoing significant transformations,” Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director at ManpowerGroup SA, says.

She highlights that while technology changes traditional roles, human input remains essential for success. “Even as technology plays an increasingly important role in daily operations, it is the unique abilities and insights of individuals that drive innovation and propel businesses forward.”

She says in the world of work in 2024, talent will be at a premium. “Finding skilled professionals is becoming one of the biggest challenges for employers worldwide. Talent scarcity is making it more difficult for them to recruit the right people.

“This highlights the importance of both technical expertise and soft skills. Employers now value attributes like communication, collaboration and problem-solving abilities. They recognise the significance of a well-rounded skill set in today’s dynamic work environment.”

ALSO READ: Watch out for these workplace trends in 2024

The value of experience for non-traditional candidates

Employers also value experience and Van den Barselaar says the evolving landscape of work presents opportunities for non-traditional candidates, including older workers, individuals with employment gaps and the long-term unemployed.

“By placing greater emphasis on experience and adaptability, organisations can tap into a diverse talent pool, harnessing the wealth of knowledge and skills that individuals from varied backgrounds bring to the table.”

There are also new productivity drivers at play. “Focusing on clarity, career development and fostering a positive work culture emerge as crucial drivers in pursuing productivity. As we redefine the parameters of productivity, it becomes increasingly clear that employee well-being and professional growth are integral components of organisational success.”

There is also a sustainability focus in the world of work in 2024, she says. “Sustainability has become a crucial aspect, with companies giving more importance to eco-friendly initiatives and seeking candidates with green skills and experience.

“The focus on sustainability goes beyond environmental concerns and includes the welfare of employees and communities.”

And if you are worried about AI stealing your job, Van den Barselaar says tech will not replace human power. “While technological advancements continue to accelerate, there is a consensus that technology will complement rather than replace human capabilities.

“The future of work is characterised by collaboration between humans and technology, with both contributing to enhanced productivity and innovation.”

ALSO READ: 5 workplace trends for 2024: What’s in and what’s out

Looking back at the world of work in 2023

Looking back on the world of work in 2023, the Pnet Job Market Trends Report for the fourth quarter shows in a snapshot of the business and management sector that employees stayed in their jobs for an average of four ears and ten months.

In this sector, 61.8% of employees were employment equity candidates, 56.9% lived in Gauteng, 49.6% were willing to relocate, 47.2% had a tertiary qualification and 52% were male. Production managers earned between R43 491 and R52 045 per month, branch managers between R27 153 and R35 982 and recruitment consultants between R15 125 and R23 734.

A snapshot of the design, media and arts sector shows that employees on average stayed in a job for two years and eleven months, with 66.7% of employees being employment equity candidates, 58.5% lived in Gauteng, 47.4% were willing to relocate, 49.4% had a tertiary qualification and 47% were male.

Product designers earned between R30 238 and R37 798, digital designers between R18 444 and R23 400 and media specialists between R16 970 and R23 879. Gauteng led the charge as regional job market at 52%, followed by the Western Cape at 22% and KwaZulu-Natal at 10%.

A snapshot of the marketing sector shows that employees stayed in their jobs on average for four years and eleven months, while 75.9% of them were employment equity candidates, 60.1% lived in Gauteng, 46.8% were willing to relocate, 51% had a tertiary qualification and 58% were male.

A digital marketing manager earned between R38 014 and R55 115, an SEO specialist between R17 977 to R22 443 and a marketing assistant between R15 275 and R21 523.

ALSO READ: Hybrid work surprisingly sticky among SA’s middle to top-end earners

Regional job market trends included:

  • Despite a 18% decrease in hiring activity for IT professionals, demand for building and construction staff increased by 36% in Gauteng.
  • Limpopo experienced a 17% increase in hiring activity for business and management professionals over the last 12 months.
  • Mpumalanga experienced significant growth for sales professionals.
  • In KwaZulu-Natal, demand for IT staff declined by 23% year-on-year. However, significant yearly increases were evident in hiring activity for finance and sales professionals.
  • Like KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape saw a decline in demand for IT staff but hiring activity for finance, sales, building and construction, architecture and engineering and manufacturing and assembly staff increased.
  • Building and construction was the job sector with the most significant yearly growth in the Western Cape, with hiring activity growing by 62%.
  • The Northern Cape experienced an uptake in hiring activity for business and management professionals.
  • Business and management professionals remained most in-demand in the Free State.
  • North West province experienced a 42% increase in hiring activity for business and management professionals.
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