State of the workforce

Explore perspectives by industry on new ways of working and talent challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Lisa Massman

Lisa Massman

Principal, Human Capital Advisory Leader, KPMG US

+1 213-955-1524

Joseph Parente

Joseph Parente

Principal, Advisory, KPMG US

+1 267-256-2950

Great companies don't just respond to crises, they seize them as opportunity to become better—cast off what is no longer working and pivot to new ways of doing business. To help them move forward in informed ways, KPMG conducts surveys of both CEOs and workers to uncover attitudes, responses and concerns around workforce issues. Across industries, we are exploring challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19. 

In our global CEO Outlook research, we discussed evolving transformation priorities and long-term workforce strategies with 315 large company leaders. In our American worker pulse survey, we looked to 1400 members of the U.S. workforce to tell us how well corporate responses are working for their employees. Below are some key industry-specific insights based on those studies.



The pandemic proved that working in a different way is possible. To sustainably continue, financial services institutions, and specifically banks, are being challenged to think about their organization’s culture differently in order to decisively accelerate shifts that were already happening—workforce reshaping, including remote workers and increased digitization.

Explore this blog by Evan Metter predictions for new reality ways of working and how KPMG can help organizations take action now.


Consumer & Retail

Consumer & Retail CHROs often manage diverse workforces that include salaried corporate professionals as well as a variety of hourly back-office and front-line workers. Our new reality has raised the stakes—and increased the complexity—when it comes to meeting all workers’ needs for safety, flexibility and overall employer support. How can leadership help address workers’ stresses and strains—nurturing employee satisfaction and engagement? The answers vary by workforce segment. 

Read this blog by Robin Rasmussen for employee experience, workforce flexibility and earned wage access considerations.



Power & Utilities

The KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook affirmed that CEOs know the upheaval from COVID-19 is taking a toll on one of their most valuable resources: their people. Talent risk rose to be named the most significant threat to business growth—ahead of supply chain risk and a return to territorialism.

In this blog, Matt Campbell and Angela Gildea share some of the findings of the CEO survey and the American Worker Survey and discuss implications for power and utilities organizations.




Oil & Gas

COVID-19 continues to present a tremendous test of every CEO’s leadership abilities and personal resilience. CEOs are navigating the complexities of protecting people’s health and livelihoods, along with the future of companies and industries. This is a moment to lead with greater purpose and impact, to embrace empathy and humanity—and that starts with an understanding of what matters to the workforce.

In this article, Matt Campbell discusses some findings of the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook and American Worker Survey and why they’re significant for the Oil & Gas sector.





As the path to the new reality takes shape, tech CEOs and their workforces will navigate it together. For executives, talent will continue to represent a significant risk with added complexity due to the new work-from-home paradigm. For employees, it may be new technologies that pose a threat. Finding a way to retain top talent, while seizing opportunities to upskill them even as new people are hired from outside, may provide the balance needed to achieve long-term sustainable growth.

Read this article by Mark Gibson to learn about how workers are coping and the new reality tech industry workplace. 




Public Sector

The global impact of COVID-19, and the necessity to work remotely is likely to forever change the public. However, the “new reality” isn’t necessarily a world without working in an office or the field; it’s just a world where we focus on the work instead of where it’s being performed. While early research indicates that working from home is actually a welcomed change for most Americans and most employees seem to be adjusting nicely, there are significant challenges that accompany remote working. KPMG’s American worker pulse survey found that many employees are discovering new challenges with the completely remote model.

Read this article by Chris Shuster, Paul Lipinski and Quimby Kaizer to learn more about the new reality and its impact on the employee experience in the public sector.