The Great Reset’s Impact on Job Markets

Feb 1, 2023

The term “The Great Reset,” also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, popularized by the World Economic Forum, refers to the significant changes that are affecting the global economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the areas most impacted by this phenomenon is the white-collar job market in the United States. The Great Reset is transforming the way businesses operate and employees work, with a call for a more sustainable and equitable future that prioritizes stakeholders over shareholders, and companies that focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. This shift towards a stakeholder economy presents both opportunities and challenges for employers and employees alike.

The white-collar job market has been greatly impacted by the acceleration of automation and technology adoption in the workplace, driven by businesses’ efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiency in the new economic reality. As a result, jobs in industries such as finance, accounting, and customer service have been displaced. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, up to 375 million workers globally, or approximately 14% of the global workforce, may need to transition to new occupational categories and acquire new skills by 2030 due to automation.

Another major effect of the Great Reset on the white-collar job market is the shift towards remote work, facilitated by the widespread adoption of telecommuting. This change has allowed businesses to reduce costs associated with physical office space and created new job opportunities in fields like information technology. However, it has also resulted in increased competition for remote job opportunities and made it more challenging for workers without access to the necessary technology and internet connectivity to participate in the job market. 

The Great Reset has also led to significant changes in the white-collar job market in the United States, as evidenced by a report by the National Employment Law Project. Jobs in the professional and business services sector, which includes white-collar jobs, were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with a loss of 4.5 million jobs, or 27% of pre-pandemic employment, as of October 2020. The report also revealed that Black, Latino, and Asian workers have been disproportionately affected by job losses in this sector.

The types of white-collar jobs in demand have also shifted, with a growing demand for jobs in fields like data analysis, digital marketing, and e-commerce. A report by the Boston Consulting Group found that the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digitalization, resulting in a surge in demand for digital technology jobs.

The integration of ESG principles into business operations is becoming increasingly common as companies recognize the importance of considering the impact of their actions on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. This shift towards a stakeholder economy is creating new job opportunities in areas related to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Leading the way in this trend is BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm, which integrates ESG considerations into its investment processes and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in its hiring practices. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this shift towards a stakeholder economy as consumers and investors demand that companies prioritize the health and well-being of employees, communities, and the environment.

The Great Reset presents both advantages and challenges for both employers and employees. For companies, the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles and the shift towards a stakeholder economy can result in long-term benefits, but it also requires them to navigate complex regulations and overcome resistance from shareholders. On the other hand, employees may experience improved job security and work-life balance, but also face increased competition for job opportunities and potential exploitation. It is crucial for employers and employees to work together to ensure that the Great Reset results in a more equitable and sustainable future for all. 

Pros for Employers:

  • Increased competitiveness: Companies that adopt a stakeholder-focused approach and prioritize ESG principles are likely to gain a competitive advantage and attract a wider pool of customers and investors who value these principles.
  • Improved reputation: Companies that prioritize ESG considerations in their business operations can build a positive reputation, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Access to a wider pool of talent: Companies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in their hiring practices can attract a wider pool of talented employees and reduce the potential for employee turnover.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency: Adopting new technologies and automation can lead to increased productivity and efficiency, allowing companies to operate more effectively and compete in a rapidly changing market.
  • Access to a wider pool of talent: Companies can tap into a larger pool of remote and global talent, which can increase diversity and bring new perspectives and ideas to the workplace.
  • Improved decision-making: The use of big data and analytics can provide companies with valuable insights that can inform better decision-making and lead to improved business outcomes.


Pros for Employees:

  • Better job security: In a stakeholder economy, companies are more likely to prioritize the well-being of their employees and take steps to protect jobs and provide job security.
  • Increased opportunities for growth and development: Companies that prioritize ESG principles may offer more opportunities for employees to grow and develop in their careers, including training and education programs and opportunities to work on ESG-related projects.
  • Improved work-life balance: With the shift towards remote work and a focus on employee well-being, employees may experience a better work-life balance and reduced stress levels.
  • Increased flexibility: The shift towards remote work and flexible schedules can offer employees greater work-life balance and flexibility.
  • Access to new job opportunities: The rise of new technologies can create new job opportunities in areas such as data analysis and software development.
  • Increased training and development opportunities: Companies may offer training and development programs to help employees adapt to new technologies and stay competitive in the workforce.

Cons for Employers:

  • Increased costs: Implementing ESG principles and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion can be expensive and require significant investment in new processes, technology, and training.
  • Resistance from shareholders: Some investors and shareholders may resist the shift towards a stakeholder economy, and companies may face pressure to prioritize financial returns over ESG considerations.
  • Complex regulations: Companies must navigate complex regulations and reporting requirements related to ESG, which can be time-consuming and challenging.
  • and require significant investment in new equipment, training, and infrastructure.
  • Resistance from employees: The transition to new technologies can be disruptive and some employees may resist change, leading to decreased morale and increased turnover.
  • Privacy and security concerns: With the increased use of digital technologies, companies must be mindful of privacy and security concerns and take steps to protect sensitive information and data.


Cons for Employees:

  • Competition for jobs: The shift towards digitalization and automation is leading to a reduction in traditional jobs, increasing competition for jobs in the stakeholder economy.
  • Lack of standardization: There is a lack of standardization in the ESG space, and employees may find it difficult to understand which companies truly prioritize ESG principles and which do not.
  • Potential for exploitation: Companies may use ESG principles as a way to exploit employees and prioritize profits over people, leading to negative outcomes for employees.
  • Job loss and job displacement: Automation and new technologies can lead to job loss and job displacement, particularly for workers in traditional industries.
  • Skills obsolescence: With rapid technological change, employees may need to continuously update their skills to remain relevant in the workforce.
  • Digital divide: Some employees may not have access to the technology and training needed to participate fully in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, leading to increased inequality.

The Great Reset, has brought about sweeping changes to the white-collar job market in the United States. The rapid adoption of technology and automation has altered the traditional job landscape, leading to the loss of some jobs but also the creation of new, in-demand roles. Remote work has become increasingly prevalent, offering employees more flexibility and work-life balance but also presenting new challenges for employers in terms of collaboration and productivity. The integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into business operations has also been a key trend, with companies increasingly prioritizing social responsibility, diversity, and sustainability.

While there are challenges that come with this transformation, there is also the potential for a more sustainable and equitable future for both employers and employees. For employers, adopting ESG principles can lead to a competitive advantage and improved reputation, while providing access to a wider pool of talent. For employees, the prioritization of ESG principles may lead to better job security, increased opportunities for growth and development, and improved work-life balance.

However, the transition to this new world of work is not without its challenges. For employers, implementing ESG principles and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion can be costly, and they may face resistance from shareholders and complex regulations. For employees, the shift towards digitalization and automation has led to increased competition for jobs, a lack of standardization in the ESG space, and the potential for exploitation.

Despite these challenges, it is clear that the Great Reset has significantly impacted the white-collar job market in the United States and that this transformation will have far-reaching consequences for the future of work. It is crucial that employers and employees alike adapt to these changes and take advantage of the opportunities they present.

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David McInnis

President & Founding Partner

David has two decades of global recruitment experience and is Founding Partner of Willard Powell. Prior to founding Willard Powell, David worked with Leathwaite International, a global executive search firm. Before his employment with Leathwaite, David worked for Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities) supporting the firm’s Investment Banking & Capital Markets Technology group. David is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, MA, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems. David also serves as a Trustee on Lasell’s Board.