Young managers support remote work, gig hiring

Dive Brief:
Young managers — millennials and early Gen Zers — are redefining work, according Upwork’s third annual Future Workforce Report. They support remote work, see a need for constant upskilling and use freelancers at a higher rate than other managers.
Because nearly half of these managers are director-level or higher, they have major influence on workforce planning already, Upwork said, adding that this influence will only grow, as younger generations are expected to make up 58% of the workforce by 2028.
The report also found that these managers prioritize workforce planning, much more so than Baby Boomers. They’re developing flexible talent strategies and investing in technology to support a remote workforce. “In fact,” Upwork said, “the study predicts, by 2028, non-traditional, flexible talent (ie. freelancers, temporary and agency workers) will comprise 24 percent more of departmental headcount as compared to today.”

Dive Insight:
Each generation of new managers has its own issues to address, dictated by economic and workforce conditions. The latest generation of leaders is facing digital transformation, an acute skills shortage and a tight labor market. But millennials and Gen Zers seem up for the challenge, according to Upwork’s report.

These managers tend to favor the use of technology, and their managerial style reflects that. They’re likely to have remote workers because they’ve embraced the digital tools that support remote work. They’re likely to embrace freelancers and other alternative talent options because they prioritize agility. They often eschew the annual performance review in favor of constant feedback, enabled by tech. And they know that the need for continuous learning isn’t going away; under their leadership, employers are spending more on learning initiatives and employees are spending a significant amount of time in training.

New managers may need training in soft skills, however. A recent LinkedIn report identified the need as a top training priority for employers; “In the age of automation, maintaining technical fluency across roles will be critical, but the pace of change is fueling demand for adaptable, critical thinkers, communicators, and leaders,” Tanya Staples, VP of learning content for LinkedIn Learning Solutions, previously told HR Dive.


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