There are cer­tain issues that have tak­en cen­ter stage in the col­lec­tive con­scious when talk­ing about the work­place, the future of work and how the cur­rent work­force is far­ing under the cur­rent con­di­tions. Nat­u­ral­ly, as those things enter the col­lec­tive con­scious, researchers find them­selves ask­ing what exact­ly holds true and what can we learn from it?

As usu­al, my inbox is full of the lat­est stud­ies and sur­veys being con­duct­ed by HR ven­dors, researchers and employ­ers of all sizes. In today’s data drop, we’re going to take a clos­er look at how employ­ees view diver­si­ty and inclu­sion efforts, what chal­lenges they’re fac­ing when it comes to men­tal health and the impact the gig econ­o­my is having.

The D&I Appetite

At this point, there should be lit­tle doubt around the impor­tance of D&I or DEI in your orga­ni­za­tion. It’s been well estab­lished the impact it has on the bot­tom line and employ­er brands, but if you need­ed more reas­sur­ance, the lat­est study from Boston Con­sult­ing Group should ham­mer it home.

The study asked ques­tions of more than 200,000 employ­ees across 190 coun­tries and the results shouldn’t come as a sur­prise to any­one who’s been fol­low­ing sen­ti­ments around DEI over the last year. Results includ­ed the following:

  • More than half (51%) of U.S. respon­dents said they would exclude a com­pa­ny from their job search if its val­ues and stance on diver­si­ty and inclu­sion (D&I) didn’t match their own beliefs. This num­ber was even high­er among respon­dents 30 years and younger (56%).
  • D&I became more impor­tant over the last year across all age groups glob­al­ly. In the U.S., respon­dents 30 years and younger (72%) were most like­ly to agree with this state­ment com­pared to all U.S. respon­dents (63%) and all respon­dents glob­al­ly (69%).

It’s a notable sen­ti­ment fol­low­ing the release of research by diver­si­ty plat­form Head­start as part of its “Dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­i­can Hir­ing” report. The find­ings show that 54% of those seek­ing a new job in the last two years felt they were fre­quent­ly dis­crim­i­nat­ed against. That num­ber rose to 66% for Black Amer­i­cans and 83% for those who iden­ti­fy as gen­der-diverse. Inter­est­ing­ly, how­ev­er, 30% of respon­dents who faced recruit­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion would con­sid­er reap­ply­ing for the same company.

Mental Health Struggles

In June of last year, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) released data which showed that 40% of Amer­i­cans were strug­gling with men­tal health. That num­ber hasn’t decreased as the pan­dem­ic has con­tin­ued and the months that fol­lowed includ­ed a hec­tic elec­tion and numer­ous oth­er crises.

A more recent report from The Stan­dard, an Ore­gon based insur­ance com­pa­ny, showed that 55% of work­ers sur­veyed said that a men­tal health issue had affect­ed them more since the pan­dem­ic began. MetLife’s annu­al Employ­ee Ben­e­fits Trends Study backs this up, with 54% say­ing men­tal health has been their biggest con­cern dur­ing the pandemic.

This won’t come as a sur­prise to HR teams that have been work­ing toward devel­op­ing men­tal health sup­port tools for their work­forces, but it should also be extend­ed to tal­ent teams as they con­sid­er their hir­ing processes.

Among the unem­ployed, one in five are or have been treat­ed for depres­sion in the last year. Many suf­fer from sleep loss and high lev­els of stress that can impact their abil­i­ty to search and inter­view for a new job. Long term unem­ploy­ment can lead to seri­ous health issues such as obe­si­ty and oth­er con­di­tions relat­ed to stress and inac­tive lifestyle.

Expanding Gig Economy

Glob­al­ly the gig econ­o­my has seen a boom as lay­offs and needs for flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing have seen more peo­ple around the world adopt gig work than ever before. In the U.S., around 40% of Amer­i­cans are cur­rent­ly work­ing in gig or con­tract roles.

Job boards are now see­ing a stark rise in con­tract job post­ings, with Resume-Library not­ing a 58% increase in the demand for handy­man roles month over month. While many think of rideshare dri­vers and free­lancer graph­ic artists when they think of gig work, the top five gig post­ings on the site now include the following:

  • Handy­man +58.3%
  • Mar­ket Researcher +50%
  • Pack­er +20.3%
  • Social Media +4.5%
  • Pho­tog­ra­ph­er +4.3%

The U.S. is cur­rent­ly the fastest grow­ing free­lance mar­ket in the world, expe­ri­enc­ing a 78% growth in gig posi­tions over the last year, with the UK fol­low­ing behind at 59% and Brazil at 48%.

By David Rice

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on ThinkHR