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HP Study Unveils the Rise of the ‘Empowered Employee’

As the pandemic accelerates workforce innovation, employees are prioritizing the pursuit of personal passions, reskilling and retraining themselves for the future of work.

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) released the results of its HP Workforce Evolution Study (WES) that reveals how the acceleration of digitization and remote work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for reskilling, with 6 in 10 office workers in the U.S. and Europe agreeing that lifelong learning is now more important than ever before.

The study, which was commissioned by HP across six markets (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) surveying approximately 6,000 office workers, also identified the rise of the “Empowered Employee,” who in the face of decreased job security is retraining him or herself with the skills needed to succeed beyond their current roles and into the future. With over 33% of employees surveyed more likely to start their own companies with the new skills they gain, HP’s survey also examines what actions employers must take to ensure they are providing employees with the support, equipment, training and flexibility required to attract and retain top talent.

“The past few months have accelerated plans and changed the future of work forever — from the world’s most powerful organizations all the way down to small businesses and individuals,” says Tracy Keogh, Chief Human Resources Officer, HP. “It is more important than ever to not only invest in the latest technology but to also invest in the skills of our workforce, as the strength and agility of our people will be what continues to propel us forward during this digital transformation.”

Completed in August 2020, the study found:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for lifelong learning more than ever before; approximately 50% of office workers say they need new skills for the future of work.
  • Employees are not waiting for their employers to take action. They are independently seeking out reskilling and job-relevant training in addition to purchasing their own supplies.
    • Office workers are seeking out online courses to learn new hard and soft skills (42% US, 40% Europe).
      • Top skills include IT/Tech support, leadership, stress relief, team management, maintaining wellness, foreign languages and digital literacy.
    • 2 in 3 office workers have purchased home office supplies with their own money.
    • 2 in 5 office workers are more motivated to pursue their personal passion as a career.
  • To maintain and motivate employees, companies will need to offer flexibility.
    • Flexible working hours and remote working was the top motivator for employees

These trends are not exclusive to the United States and Europe. Another report HP commissioned earlier this year — The HP Asia SMB Report 2020 — found that:

  • 27% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Asia believe innovating how people work is the top strategy for business revival.
  • 44% of APJ SMBs identified the need for more digital-first skills to maintain growth post-COVID.
  • 50%+ of SMBs in Asia are looking to employees to inform innovation strategies vs. customers, competitors, or external advisors.

Workforce Evolution Study Methodology

Commissioned by HP, the study involved a fifteen-minute online survey of 6,000 office workers across the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy. Data was collected between July 24, 2020, and August 5, 2020. The full study is available here.

Office workers are defined as primarily desk- or office-based employees who work full-time, part-time or reduced hours due to COVID-19. To learn more about the study, individual market findings and HP’s additional predictions for the future of work, manufacturing and innovation please visit:

HP Asia SMB Report 2020 Methodology

HP’s SMB study in Asia surveyed 1,600 small-to-medium businesses in eight markets to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them, and the tools and support they need to recover.

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