61 Stats About People Operations, HR, the Workforce, Remote Work, and the Employee Experience that You’ll Definitely Want to Know if You’re in Human Resources

Here’s your ultimate guide to stats relating to modern work and people operations — covering workforce technology, remote work, what employees want, and more.

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The world of work has fundamentally changed. Remote work is on the rise, the Open Talent Economy is giving employers new ways of thinking about hiring and talent, and technology continues to advance, automating mundane tasks and opening up opportunities for advancement in human-thinking.

The following stats are all related to modern work — from employee experience, to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), to technology automation advancements.

Scroll through this post or click the table of contents below to jump to the sections that most interest you.


People-Centered Business

Employee Experience

Workforce Makeup

What Employees Want

Problems with Traditional HR Workflows (and a Case for People Ops)

Workforce Technology & HR Tech

HR Compliance Risk

Remote Work / Work from Home

Prevalence of People Ops in Job Titles

Performance Management / Performance Alignment

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

People-Centered Business

Stats on the future of work

Companies that adopt a human-centered approach to business see a 32% lift in revenue, deliver outcomes to their market 2x faster, and outperform the S&P by 211%. (IBM)

Less than half of people trust HR. (Sullivan 2018)

Companies that adopt a human-centered approach to business see a 32% lift in revenue, deliver outcomes to their market 2x faster, and outperform the S&P by 211%.

Employee Experience

Stats on the employee experience, employee expectations, and more

When an employee feels motivated, they’re 43% more productive (Murlis and Schubert 2001), and drive 21% more profit. (Smarp 2019)

A lack of motivation among workers leads to $300B lost each year due to downtime, mistakes, and extra management. (Gaille 2017)

Two-thirds (67%) of American workers find their employee handbooks “useful” and almost half (41%) have referred to it within the last 6 months. (Zenefits 2020)

People who feel underpaid are more likely to shirk work, sabotage situations, or quit. (Akerlof and Yellen 1990)

People spend up to 80% of their work day in communications, between emails, meetings, and conversations. (Zandan, n.d.)

Companies with strong communication skills see a 25% lift in employee productivity and 47% higher returns to shareholders over a 5-year period.  (Baldoni 2009)

Workforce Makeup

Stats on workforce demographics, job availability, and the prevalence of technology / robots vs. jobs

70% of workers will be from the Millennial & Gen Z in 2025. (Lettink 2019)

50% of today’s work can be automated. (Manyika et al. 2017)

Economists predict that up to 1 in 4 workers — or 800 million people, globally — will lose their jobs to new technology over the next decade. (Manyika et al. 2017)

Freelancers are projected to outnumber full time employees by 2027. (Upwork 2017)

Approximately 80% of work is now deskless. (Emergence Equity Management 2018)

What Employees Want

Stats on employee expectations of employers, the work experience, and more

88% of workers say technology is an important part of the employee experience. (HR Technologist 2020)

9 out of 10 employees say more flexible work arrangements increase morale. (Zenefits 2020)

91% of workers say they crave modern technology solutions. (Workfront 2020)

86% of workers say this year’s respondents say next-generation employees expect workplace technology that looks more like Amazon and Instagram. (Workfront 2020)

72% of employees say their performance would improve with “corrective feedback.” (Zenger and Folkman 2014)

Health insurance is the number one benefit employees seek from their employers and 50% of small business employees say it’s the primary reason they stay at their job. (Zenefits 2020)

Back view of business woman talking to her colleagues about plan in video conference

Problems with Traditional HR Workflows (and a Case for People Ops)

Stats on the advantage employers stand to gain by automating tedious HR tasks to technology

Small business owners spend up to 35% of their time on HR-related tasks and paperwork — more than 1 week per month. (Principle Strategies 2016)

40% of SMB owners say bookkeeping and taxes are the worst part of owning a small business. (Accounting Today 2015)

60% of business owners say they struggle keeping up with compliance and regulations. (Babson College)

Get pay wrong once and you’ll tarnish your trustworthiness as an employer. Get pay wrong twice, and your employees will start looking for another job. (Bolden-Barrett 2017)

Workforce Technology & HR Tech

Stats on the impact and prevalence of HR technology on HR processes and the workforce at large

Most HR functions can be fully or somewhat automated of the 21 tasks that can be performed, only 5 would NOT be improved by automation. (KPMG International Cooperative 2018)

Organizations with integrated timekeeping and payroll overachieve their revenue targets by 7%. (DeRosiers 2018)

It takes 7.1 hours, on average, to manage time, pay, and taxes according to a 2021 study of 510 HR professionals. This same process takes companies leveraging Zenefits an average of 23 minutes and 12 seconds. (People Operations 2021)

Companies that integrate timekeeping and payroll systems have been shown to cut payroll processing time by 90% and reduce payroll errors by 6%. (Nucleus Research 2018)

Only 37% of HR functions are automated, compared to IT services, which are 53% automated. (Leinwand 2017)

Companies moving to People Ops (meaning a fully automated HR system wherein most if not all nitty-gritty HR tasks are run by technology while more important tasks are saved for humans) report up to (Nucleus Research 2018):

  • 90% time savings on administrative work
  • 80% time savings on reporting
  • 67% faster new hire onboarding
  • 75% fewer benefits errors
  • 90% fewer payroll errors
  • 75% less compliance time and costs
Workers would save 6 hours or more a week — nearly an entire workday per week — if things like data collection, approvals, and updates were automated.

Automation technology usually costs 1/5 (20%) the amount of a U.S. employee — that’s 20 cents on the dollar, and 1/3 (33%) the amount of an offshore employee. (Gartner 2020)

Workers would save 6 hours or more a week — nearly an entire workday per week — if things like data collection, approvals, and updates were automated. (Smartsheet 2017)

HR Compliance Risk

Stats on fines, outcomes, penalties of being out of compliance

According to the Department of Labor, the most common Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violation is failure to notify employees of their extended leave rights. The average cost to defend an FMLA lawsuit is $78,000, regardless of the outcome, and managers and supervisors can be sued personally for damages. (Deluxe 2020)

The penalty for failure to provide correct payee statements for Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance is $270 each, with a maximum of $3,275,500 per calendar year. Filing late or intentional disregard could cost up to $550 per return, with no limit on total penalties. (Deluxe 2020)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that 90% of businesses are out of compliance with (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) COBRA regulations. Businesses must pay $110 per day per beneficiary for noncompliance by the Department of Labor. (Deluxe 2020)

Failure to comply with the 2011 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act which expanded employers’ duties to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, would incur a maximum penalty for a first-time ADA violation of $75,000. A second violation can result in penalties of up to $150,000. (Deluxe 2020)

If your new hire fills out an I-9 form incorrectly, and you are audited, the fine could range from $230 to nearly $2,300 per violation (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 2019)

Over $322M in back wages were owed to workers in 2019 — a number that has grown each year for the past 5 years — with an average of $1,025 for each employee due in back wages. (U.S. Department of Labor 2020)

The American Payroll Association (APA) estimates HR automation cuts payroll processing costs by 80% and reduces errors in invoices and paychecks. (Duval 2018)

remote worker

Remote Work / Work from Home

Stats on remote work from both employee and employer perspectives

Work from home cost savings in real estate space and office expenditures alone can reach $10,000 per year per employee. (Hussain 2019)

3 of 4 CFOs say they intend to continue to shift some employees to remote work permanently following the pandemic. (Gartner 2020)

HR thought leaders named the expansion of remote and distributed teams as the #1 work trend in 2019. (Suzuno 2019)

51% of U.S. working adults moved to at-home offices to avoid spreading the virus. Though that number fell to 33% by December 2020, early research suggests that the shift to remote work will be a lasting phenomenon, particularly for highly paid jobs that require higher levels of education. (Brenan 2020)

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Harvard Business School estimate that 16% of American workers who once worked from offices will permanently switch to at-home work, at least 2 days per week. (Senz 2020)

Administrative jobs reported a 49% increase in productivity by working from home. (Senz 2020)

When asking what about remote work went well during the pandemic, Upwork researches found: “no commute” topped the charts (49.0%), followed by the “reduction of non-essential meetings” (46.3%), “less distractions than in the office” (41.2%), and “increased productivity” (32.2%). Only 1.9% said “nothing has worked well.” (Upwork 2020)

Prevalence of People Ops in Job Titles

Stats on the use of HR-related job titles versus People Operations-related job titles

People Operations related job titles have grown almost 6X faster than Human Resources related job titles between 2014 and 2019. (LinkedIn 2020)

Chief People Officer grew 2.4X faster than that of Chief Human Resources Officer between 2014 and 2019. (LinkedIn 2020)

The fastest-growing People Ops related job title? Director of People Operations (LinkedIn 2020)

Chief People Officer (CPO) was the #2 “fastest-hiring C-suite job” on LinkedIn out of all C-suite titles — more popular than the CRO and CCO between 2014 and 2019. (LinkedIn 2020)

In 2020, 3 of the top 12 “fastest growing C-suite titles” were: Chief People Officer, Chief Talent Officer, and Chief Diversity Officer. CHRO, Chief Human Resources Officer, didn’t make the list. (LinkedIn 2020)

The hiring growth rate for CPO jobs tops 32% a year. (LinkedIn 2020)

The average salary for a People Operations professional is $73,000 to $261,000. (ZipRecruiter.com)

People Operations related job titles have grown almost 6X faster than Human Resources related job titles between 2014 and 2019.

Performance Management / Performance Alignment

Stats on the effectiveness of performance management approaches

Employee recognition (72%) is the single most important factor in contribution to employee engagement; yet 60% say their managers don’t provide frequent enough praise for good word and 53% say their work is never recognized. (HBR Analytic Service 2013)

68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback say they feel more fulfilled in their jobs. (Peacock 2016)

57% of employees prefer “corrective feedback” to “praise/recognition” (43%) and feel it helps them do a better job. (Zenger and Folkman 2014)

92% of employees agree that “negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” (Zenger and Folkman 2014)

58% of executives say performance management processes don’t engage workers or drive productivity. (Buckingham and Goodall 2015)

70% of all international companies are actively moving away from traditional performance reviews. (TruQu n.d.)

Only 40% of U.S. employees are actively engaged in their work, while 13% are “actively disengaged” and the remaining 47% are “not engaged.” (Harter 2020)

Two thirds of students and recent grads said they’d only work for an employer that’s built “an inclusive company culture” and provides “a sense of belonging to employees from all backgrounds.” (Handshake 2019)

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Stats on modern expectations of employers with regard to diversity in the workplace

Unlike Millennials, who felt that climate change was the number one social issue of the times, Gen Zers feel social justice is the number one social imperative. (The Center for Generational Kinetics 2020)

DEI-focused companies report 2.3X higher cash flow per employee — a 19% increase in revenue compared to less diverse management teams (Lorenzo et al. 2018), and are 1.7X more innovative. (Bersin 2019)

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