The data you need to write about the future of work

I’m a strong believer that if you want to be a thought leader in B2B, you must have views on the future of work. There’s a lot written on the future of work. Most of this content is opinion based. Because of this, our experience at TLP has always been that if you want your “future of work” thinking to stand out, you must support your argument with data.

In this post, I’ve put together some of my favourite data sources for writing about the future of work. There’s some fantastic sources for clear and comprehensive data on the changing nature of the workplace.

These sources are also a fantastic place to look for blog ideas – Take one piece of compelling data, add a comment and you’ve got a blog. Or you can combine a few and build a deep and nuanced argument on why your clients must take action today.

1. EBRI on tenure, employment and salary data

This is a goldmine of tenure, employment and salary data from the US.

EBRI publishes regular and very interesting data – I.e. what’s really happening with Job Tenure.

Some great data on workforce tenure from EBRI:

EBRI on tenure

See the most recent EBRI tenure report

View the EBRI bibliography and data book


2. Pew Social Trends

This is my go-to resource for research on generations and social trends. Pew covers off on a wide array of social topics, from changing income gaps to millennials. Powerful, easy to reference data that’s quick to find.

Millennials data explorer:

Pew - Millenials

Exploring the wealth gap between generations:

Pew - wealth gap


3. Indeed job trends

Indeed has the world’s largest collection of job advertisements. This interactive tool lets you search these job ads to see how the prevalence of certain words are changing in Job adverts over the past 10 years.

It’s an amazingly flexible tool that you can use to understand how the job market/workplace is really evolving.

The interactive Indeed search tool (looking here at the prevalence of “flexibility”)

Indeed - flexibility


4. WGEA on org structures and diversity

WGEA data can be incredibly powerful – it gives you an insight directly into the management structure of every Australian organisation with more than 100 employees. Every organisation over 100 employees has to report on gender balance at each level/role.

It’s a powerful resource that lets you dig into things like span of management, workforce flexibility, contractor prevalence (however you will need to do some aggregation for the most interesting stats).

WGEA also provides a data explorer where you can explore diversity trends across sectors.

Here’s the underlying WGEA data, by level of management (this is Westpac):

WGEA Westpac report

This is the data explorer – highlighting the financial services sector:

WGEA data explorer

All public WGEA reports (searchable by sector and size)

Play with the Diversity data explorer


5. The Edelman trust index

If you’ve never seen the Edelman trust index it’s worth spending a couple of minutes to click through. It’s a global survey of the changes in trust in the ‘educated pubic’. The report is fascinating reading that says a lot about societal change. I’ve pulled out a couple of key examples below.

It’s a great resource for supporting your views on the future of work with the “why”.

Who’s most trusted:

Edelman 1

CEO credibility in the eyes of the public:

Edelman 2


6. Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Perhaps the holy grail of data on how the internet and technology is reshaping the world. If you’re writing about technology and the impact that it’s having on the world of work, this is your go-to source for information.

From video, to social media and adoption, this is a huge data-dump of stats on technology. You’ll find anything you need to talk authoritatively about the changing impact of tech on work.

Mobile phone usage by region:

Meeker - Mobile penetration

The incredible growth of Tablets:

Meeker - Tablets


7. The 2015 Intergenerational Report on the future of the Australian workforce

The report has been politically controversial – but that shouldn’t stop you from looking to the 2015 IGR for all your relevant statistics on how the Australian workforce is changing. It’s a great resource because of the number of workforce forecasts included in the document.

There’s some really relevant statistics that project workforce participation and productivity out many years into the future.

Relative ages of the Australian workforce:


Participation rates for workers 65+:



8. BPS on new psychological research

Interesting new psychological research from the British Psychological Society. What really differentiates BPS is it’s all in plain text and easy to understand the implications quickly.

A great way to get inspired – or write a quick post based on what today’s findings mean for the future of the workplace.

A typical BPS Research Digest post:

BPS recruiters


9. ASX listed company annual reports

ASX listed companies annual reports are a goldmine of information on what the biggest companies in the country are doing. Using annual reports your can find engagement scores, average salaries, tenure, number of employees (and aggregate these across a sector). It’s a relatively easy way to do deep desktop research. Looking at the ASX 50/100/200 can give you powerful data on what some of the largest employers in the country are doing.

(Just a quick warning that this data can be very powerful but also quite painful – you’ve got to manually aggregate data).

A quick list of the largest 200 companies in Australia and ASX codes

Search for Annual Reports via the ASX website here


10. HBR’s stat of the day

HBR publishes a new business statistic every day – many of which are interesting and relevant to the world of work. Not every stat is 100% relevant but you’ll find at least a couple every week that you can use to support (or challenge) your thinking. A great resource if you’re struggling to write a blog post – how can you relate the daily stat back to your views.

Some “stat of the day” examples:

HBR daily stat


11. ABS statistics on the Australian workforce

If you need to support a viewpoint there’s a huge amount of data available from the ABS. However I wouldn’t go looking for inspiration from the ABS statistics.

The page below should be your starting page – it collects all ABS data on labour and the workforce.



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