Survey: Employers Regard 'Future Of Work' With Mix Of Optimism And Ambivalence

Survey is part of Seyfarth Shaw's Future Employer initiative, which helps employers navigate exponential change in the nature of work and business.

WASHINGTON – According to survey findings released by Seyfarth Shaw, the majority of employers are “hopeful” about changes related to the workplace, in the areas of technology, innovation and shifting workforce expectations.  

The results of the Future of Work Outlook Survey, fielded between the election and the inauguration of President Donald Trump, show the issues that are top of mind among business leaders and in-house counsel at some of the largest employers across the country.

When given an opportunity to expand on their feelings about the future of work, many in-house business leaders and lawyers expressed ambivalence about the road ahead for business, acknowledging the unique challenge of running a business while navigating issues without precedent, the need to cultivate new sources of talent, the growing complexity of the U.S. regulatory landscape, and an ever increasing global workforce. 

“Our survey provides a window into employer hopes and fears regarding the future of the workplace,” said Laura Maechtlen, vice-chair of Seyfarth’s Labor & Employment department. “Technology is just one small piece of the puzzle. Business leaders, including corporate legal departments, are navigating a shifting landscape with a new presidential administration, evolving skill sets, talent management, and the ways in which their own roles will change in the next five years.”

From 700-plus respondents, key findings of the Future of Work Outlook Survey include:

A New Hope: 70 percent of respondents are hopeful about future changes to the workplace.
On the Cusp of Trending: Majority of respondents (55 percent) do not expect demand for independent contractors to grow.
Leader of the Pack: The Department of Labor (35 percent) leads the group of U.S. agencies as the most aggressive employer “watchdog” for the next five years.
Out on a Limb: Most respondents (48 percent) believe that the Executive Branch will have the greatest impact on the workplace in the future.
Rise in Employment-based Cases: 68 percent of respondents believe there will be an increase in employment cases that reach the Supreme Court.

See full survey results here.

The survey is part of the firm’s new Future Employer initiative.

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