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Understanding the Evolving Landscape of Global Workers: A Comprehensive Analysis

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The Dynamics of the Global Workforce: Insights from SHRM’s 2023 Study

In the ever-evolving world of work, the traditional definition of a worker is undergoing significant transformation. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) embarked on a comprehensive study in July 2023 to delve deeper into the unique desires, requirements, and experiences of workers worldwide. This report provides an insightful analysis of the findings from SHRM’s research, shedding light on the diverse needs of different worker types and offering guidance for employers and policymakers.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Dynamics of the Global Workforce: Insights from SHRM’s 2023 Study

1. Overview of the Study

The SHRM research encompassed the feedback of over 3,800 workers from four countries: Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The study categorized workers into five distinct types:

  • Full-Time Salaried Employees (46% of the sample): Primarily working full-time with a fixed salary, these individuals often possess a university degree, have higher household incomes, and are more inclined towards hybrid work models.
  • Full-Time Hourly Employees (16%): These workers are compensated hourly and are more likely to be eligible for overtime pay. They often work entirely on-site.
  • Independent Workers (16%): This category includes freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers. They value flexibility, with 44% owning their primary source of income through their businesses.
  • Part-Time Employees (15%): Working less than 35 hours a week, these individuals often opt for part-time roles due to flexibility needs, caregiving responsibilities, or educational commitments.
  • Temporary Employees (7%): Engaged in short-term roles, these workers are predominantly aged between 18-34. A significant portion hopes that their temporary position will transition into a regular job.

2. Key Job Features and Benefits

The research evaluated workers’ attitudes towards 17 essential job features and six worker benefits. The job features were inspired by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being and other prominent studies. These features encompassed aspects like fair compensation, job security, workload manageability, flexibility, autonomy, and opportunities for learning and advancement.

3. Universal Desires of Workers

Across all worker types, over 80% emphasized the importance of fair compensation, job stability, manageable workloads, and flexibility in balancing work and life. However, the study also highlighted gaps between the importance workers place on these features and their satisfaction levels.

4. The Impact of Compensation and Meaningful Work

Compensation and the opportunity to engage in meaningful work stood out as pivotal factors influencing worker satisfaction. Workers who were satisfied with their compensation were over twice as likely to perceive their job as high-quality. Similarly, those content with the meaningfulness of their work were nearly three times more likely to feel fulfilled.

5. The Challenge of Workload Manageability

Workload manageability emerged as a significant concern, with satisfaction in this area being the primary determinant of burnout across all worker categories. Workers content with their workload were over four times more likely to report a positive impact on their mental health.

6. Feedback for Governments

When asked about changes they’d recommend to their governments, a recurring theme was the enhancement of compensation and living conditions. Workers advocated for increased wages, reduced inflation, mandated salary hikes, tax reductions, and overall improved financial security.

7. Variations Among Worker Types

While there were commonalities in the desires of workers, each category had unique needs. For instance, full-time salaried employees, being more educated and financially secure, placed a higher value on workplace benefits. They were also more likely to report fulfillment and perceive their jobs as high-quality compared to other worker types.


The SHRM study offers invaluable insights into the multifaceted world of the global workforce. As the landscape of work continues to shift, understanding the diverse needs of workers becomes paramount. Employers and policymakers must be equipped to navigate these changes, ensuring that the workforce remains engaged, satisfied, and productive.

For a comprehensive understanding of the study and its findings, readers are encouraged to access the original report here.

Note: This report is based on the SHRM research paper from July 2023. All data and insights have been sourced from the original document, ensuring accuracy and adherence to copyright regulations.

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