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The future of work will see a reduction in total labor costs thanks to the increasing use of technology while employees will value total rewards programs, particularly when it comes to development and career opportunities.

That’s according to The Future of Work and Rewards survey conducted by the nonprofit WorldatWork.

“There are numerous reports that globalization, advances in technology, shifts in the composition and skills of the workforce and intense competition among businesses are reshaping how people work and interact at work,” the association said.

According to the executive summary:

  • Changes in technology have the biggest perceived impact on the way work will be done in the next five years, while changes in pay preferences are expected to have a smaller effect.
  • Notably, changes in technology are expected to reduce total labor costs to a much greater extent than any other change.
  • Employee development and career opportunities is the aspect of total rewards often expected to increase most in the next three to five years, buoyed by all measured changes.
  • Improved ability to measure the quality and quantity of work is expected to reduce total labor costs. It also is expected to increase variable pay.
  • The tightening job market, coupled with the much-touted talent gap, is expected to substantially increase all aspects of total rewards — employees who can compete in the future marketplace are expected to be compensated handsomely through increased base and variable pay, as well as more and better benefits, more flexibility and increased development opportunities.


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