Changing Workforce Impacts HR

June 25, 2002 ( The labor force is aging, becoming more ethnically diverse, has more non-traditional families, and has more women in male-dominated jobs, a survey found.

The poll, by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found that the effects of these changes on employers included:

  • a step up in health-care costs, cited by 80% of the sample,
  • a need for retirement planning, mentioned by 58%,
  • a greater need for worker training or retraining, cited by 57%, and
  • a greater need for employee stress management, noted by 54%

Half of the human resource officials involved in the study reported seeing a need for tolerance of employees of different backgrounds and 41% recognized a need for diversity training.

With women comprising nearly half of the workforce, 66% of the HR professionals noted the need for flexibility surrounding family issues. Another 44% reported both an increase in the need for reduced work hours and increased use of flex time.

Finally, more than half noted an increase in the need for awareness of different types of families and their issues. Some 44% and 32% respectively saw increases in absenteeism and also in resentment among child-free employees.

The SHRM Workplace Demographics Survey involved responses of 450 human resource professionals.

The SHRM Workplace Demographics Survey is available online for free.