2023 HR Megatrends
Emerging trends shaping the global workforce

Each year UKG brings together an international team of researchers, social scientists, and business leaders to identify the most significant trends shaping the global workforce.

The goal of 2023 Megatrends is to make informed predictions about the future of work and help you and your people prepare for what’s coming next.

People and organisations are navigating relentless uncertainty.
The goal of 2023 Megatrends is to make informed predictions about the future of work and help you and your people prepare for what’s coming next.
#1 – Employees around the world are experiencing an emotional undercurrent of chronic anxiety.

This anxiety is significantly impacting their lives as well as their ability to do their best work. As always, vulnerable populations—the poor, the elderly, and children — are disproportionately impacted, but these impacts are increasingly being felt by rich countries and wealthy individuals.

40% of young people in 10 countries are hesitant to have children, in part because they think “humanity is doomed.”1

There is a wide spectrum along the employee’s continuum of needs, and employees across income levels are increasingly concerned with foundational physiological and psychological needs, such as safety and security. In a 2022 Deloitte study, 68 percent of employees and 81 percent of the C-suite said that improving their well-being was now more important than advancing their career. Yet the vast majority are facing significant obstacles when it comes to achieving their well-being goals — and these are largely tied to their jobs. The top two things limiting people from improving their well-being were a heavy workload or stressful job (30%) and not having enough time because of long work hours (27%).2

“The impact of free yoga classes is minimal if employers aren’t also prioritising things like living wages, affordable healthcare, and reasonable project demands and deadlines.”

VP, Human Insights | UKG
#2 – Covid-19 was a wake-up call for businesses to become more agile.

Organisations began to realise they needed more adaptable business structures in place to withstand the enormous amount of turbulence we face today — be it economic turbulence, changing employee expectations, or turbulence from unprecedented global impacts like pandemics, war, and climate change.

The average lifespan of S&P 500 companies was 61 years in 1958. In 2026, it’s expected to be 14.3

Stats like this are long-term proof that organisations must continually adapt — or become extinct. The most successful organizations are those that not only survive during unexpected challenges, but thrive, and weather the tumultuous chaos to become stronger. Challenging times can be incredible opportunities for both people and organisations able to adapt and take risks. Organisations must learn to adopt a growth mindset and continue moving forward rather than reflexively falling back into pre-pandemic patterns and behaviours.

“The average recession lasts just 18 months, but the impact of how leaders respond lasts much longer. Historical data show investing in your people pays long-term dividends, especially during challenging times.”

Sr. Manager, Human Insights Research & Advisory | UKG
#3 – Gen Xers are leading their companies differently than Baby Boomers.

Whether because situations are different, their values are different, or both, the percentage of Gen Xers on the board is positively and significantly related to firm performance, market-to-book ratio, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Gen Xers accounted for 51 percent of leadership roles globally, and 68 percent of Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 CEOs in 2018.4

The “Gen X effect” is the idea that more organisations will prioritise ESG and DEIB investments because Gen X executives and board members are statistically more likely to lead them in that direction. This new generation of leaders will lead based on their priorities and insights into what is not only best for their people, but also best for the organisation.

“Gen Xers grew up in a time when social expectations of corporate behaviour changed. We need to put continued pressure on Gen Xers to make sure they continue this trend.”

VP, Human Insights | UKG
What were the 2022 Megatrends?

Revisit last year’s megatrends to see where the global HR focus was centred and how much progress your organization has made in tackling their biggest HR challenges.

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1  The Unseen Toll of a Warming World, Sarah Kerr, Noah Throop, Jack Healy, Aidan Gardiner and Rebecca Lieberman, New York Times, March 9, 2022. Found at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/03/09/us/mental-health-climate-change.html..

2  The C-suite’s Role in Well-being, Steve Hatfield, Jen Fisher, and Paul H. Silverglate, Deloitte Insights, June 22, 2022. Found at

3  Why You Will Probably Live Longer than Most Big Companies, Stephane Garelli, IMB Research & Knowledge, December 2016. Found at https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/articles/why-you-will-probably-live-longer-than-most-big-companies/.

4  DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2018, DDI. Found at https://www.ddiworld.com/research/global-leadership-forecast-2018.