From remote working to better health programs, these are the workforce trends in 2021

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jan 14, 2021

(WSYM) — During the height of the pandemic, the unemployment rate for southeast Michigan approached nearly 25%.

While many of those jobs have come back, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate for the Detroit-Dearborn-Warren metro area is still at nearly 9%.

The personal finance website WalletHub released a survey highlighting the strongest local job markets in the U.S., comparing more than 180 cities across 32 key metrics.

According to Robert Half & Associates, 51% of companies plan to expand in 2021, especially in the legal, technology and creative marketing sectors.

Keith Marchiando used to commute from Michigan to New York for his job, but he found a great new opportunity. He's an executive with a Keego Harbor biotech company. He said when deciding on his next opportunity, it wasn't just a company's ability to operate remotely, but the ability to operate well.

"Everybody is doing it, but does the company have the tools, and has it modified its culture enough to be able to allow people to work effectively from home?" he asked.

Carrie Schochet of Purple Squirrel Advisors says that's just one question shaping the workforce trends in 2021. She said employees are placing a high priority on physical safety and emotional security.

"Employees overall are really focused on and wanting to know that they're cared for as a total person, versus just the work product that they're going to produce," she said.

That has companies beefing up wellness initiatives and employee assistance programs, both to care for current employees and to attract new ones.

Even with the vaccine rollout underway, don't expect virtual working to disappear overnight. Many believe schedules will be more flexible.

Google may have come to that realization. The company plans to keep 200,000 full-time and contract employees working remotely until at least July of this year, and that opens up new opportunities for workers here in Michigan to work remotely or let Michigan natives bring those big salaries here.

The workplace trends for women are mixed. More women than men are expected to drop out of the workforce.

It's all part of the pandemic challenges women face around childcare, work-life management and inequality.

But, even in the face of those challenges, Allbright said more than 60% of women are considering a complete career change, and 1 in 4 are launching a new venture, with the most popular being publishing and health and fitness.