The State of Work 2021

Jason Corsello
Oct 6 · 3 min read

I am excited to share our Acadian Ventures State of Work 2021 report. Our State of Work 2021 report is a compilation of research and data from public and private sources that enable us to better understand the macro trends impacting the Future of Work. As an early-stage venture capital firm, we leverage the trend data as a guidepost for our firm’s thesis and investment priorities over the coming months.

Some key findings from the report include:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a work tsunami. The immediate shift to remote work has been highly reactionary and experimental. Remote work has exposed both risks and opportunities that now must be addressed systematically, aligning the corporate strategy, people operations and, most importantly, culture. Companies will be required to redesign their work technology stack to the way a company will work in the future.
  2. We have a worsening jobs crisis. We’ve witnessed a massive exodus in the workforce in groups that matter the most, notably women and minorities. Subsequently, we now have increasing inequities in the job market and a growing gap between available jobs and hires. Today, there are nearly 2x the job openings for every job filled. Many companies have a record number of job openings and “now hiring” signs have become normal across companies of all sizes.
  3. The workforce is becoming highly distributed, nomadic, and demanding greater flexibility. Flexibility has become one of the most highly desired employer attributes among today’s workforce. Increased flexibility has encouraged a rise of freelancers and a need for companies to better leverage a contingent workforce more effectively.
  4. Companies are reinventing health and wellness programs. Legacy healthcare providers are failing employers and employees alike. Rising costs and degrading services are forcing companies to build new programs designed to address the modern workforce. Wellness programs are going beyond traditional healthcare to include a combination of mental, physical, financial, and career wellness.
  5. New demands on leadership. In the last year, we have witnessed declining employee engagement (the first time in over 10 years) as managers are increasingly challenged with juggling inspirational leadership with increasing workload and stress. Leadership has become more complex also an increasing consideration on diversity initiatives, including pay equity and opportunity.
  6. The time to reskill is now. The widening gap between job openings and jobs filled has increased dramatically in the last 18 months. Skills required for the jobs of today and tomorrow demand the combination of hard and soft skills. In some cases, soft skills are becoming more important than hard skills. Adaptability is one example of a soft skill that has become the most needed in companies today.
  7. Worktech is booming. We are currently on pace to surpass $15B of venture capital investment in Worktech companies, a nearly 300% increase from 2020. Today, we have 40 VC-backed Worktech unicorns (companies valued at over $1B) with a collective valuation over $75B. Innovation is happening everywhere with nearly 50% of those companies based outside of Silicon Valley. New innovation in Worktech, and the movement towards Web3, is likely to spur a new wave of innovative technologies for the decentralized web.

The full presentation can be viewed below.

We hope you enjoy the report. Please share any thoughts on our Acadian Ventures post and follow us on our Linkedin page for continued insights on the Future of Work.

Acadian Insights

A blog on the skills economy & the future of work