3 Workplace Trends We Predicted for 2017 — and 3 We’d Like to See in 2018

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Earlier this year, we speculated about what workplace trends we’d like to see grow in 2017.

How’d we do? Let’s find out.

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about some trends we’d like to see in 2018.

Three Workplace Trends That Grew in 2017

We’re glad to report that, overall, companies seem to be taking the needs and desires of workers more seriously.

Businesses embraced these three trends in particular:

1. Remote Work

If our Jobs page on Facebook is any indication, remote jobs are alive and well across the country.

Since the year is just wrapping up, there isn’t any hard data available yet on the number of remote jobs in 2017 compared to 2016.

However, a Gallup survey released earlier this year reported the number of employees working remotely jumped from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016. Researchers say they expect the upward trend to continue.

2.  Child Care Assistance

Nearly two million parents of children under age 5 have made career sacrifices because of child care struggles.

In 2017, we reported on several companies that ease the burden on parents by providing subsidized child care programs, by establishing on-site child care facilities or by allowing parents to bring their babies to work.

A study by the Society for Human Resources Management shows the number of employer-based subsidized child care centers and bring-your-baby-to-work programs has held steady since 2013. Some now even pay child care expenses while employees are on business trips.

3. Tuition Assistance

UPS and Dollar General were among the companies in 2017 that announced plans to begin offering tuition assistance to employees or expand existing assistance programs.

Under the proposed Republican tax plan, businesses would lose their deduction for offering this benefit, and individuals would be taxed on it. However, universities and some companies are coming together to lobby Congress to let the current provisions remain in place.

The move indicates some businesses are in favor of offering this benefit to employees enough to fight the government to keep it — and that’s good news for workers.

Three Workplace Trends We Hope Grow in 2018

2017 saw some great improvements in the workplace but there’s still work to be done.

Here’s hoping these three trends gain more traction in 2018:

1. Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

Some of the most in-demand jobs these days don’t require a college degree. Jobs like nail technician, carpet installer and bartender are experiencing explosive growth, a sure sign they’ll be around for a while.

Infrastructure jobs like electrician, plumber and truck mechanic don’t require degrees and often command an above-average wages.

Demand is also expected to grow for jobs in respiratory therapy, web development and MRI technology in the coming years. Though you may need to have special training or certification,  no degree is required.

2. Benefits for Gig Economy Workers

The burgeoning gig economy is a great way to pick up extra cash or begin your journey as a freelancer, but it’s not without its drawbacks.

One of the biggest challenges for gig economy workers is the lack of access to benefits like health care and unemployment insurance.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner has proposed legislation to help fund portable benefits programs for gig economy workers. These are benefits that workers can keep as they move from job to job, independently of the companies that hire them as contractors. In the meantime, freelancers are mostly on their own.

However, some companies are stepping up and offering benefits to gig workers right now. For instance, Care.com now offers a handful of benefits to its professional caregivers, including health and dental plans, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

3. An End to the Wage Gap

The wage gap is still alive and well in the job market. Women, people of color and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community all struggle with wage inequality.

Fortunately, some states are making it illegal for employers to ask about salary history, a first step in closing the wage gap for good.

In the meantime, people on the losing side of the wage gap should consider picking up side hustles or seek careers where men are routinely paid less than their equally qualified counterparts.

Although our complete wish list of workplace trends for 2018 is fairly long, these three items would be a good start.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wishes she had a crystal ball.