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The PwC EMEA Workforce Preference Study: Reshape your future workplace

Bart Van den Bussche, Director, People & Organization, PwC Belgium

The workplace as we know it has changed, and many of these changes will have a lasting impact. Organizations have been forced to hit the “fast forward” button. Instead of a gradual and thoughtful roll-out of a virtual workforce, they’ve had to jump straight into a new situation. Not all companies were well prepared; neither were their people.


During the COVID-19 crisis, companies needed to abruptly adapt their IT, security technology and work processes, forcing employees to quickly upskill, use new digital tools and adopt new ways of working. While digitization offers excellent support for remote workers, shifting work patterns on such a massive scale has serious and unanticipated implications.

The large-scale deployment of a virtual workforce during the current crisis has revealed pain points for many organizations. These range from technological challenges (e.g.: poor internet connections, troublesome apps, IT security breaches) to lack of a dedicated workspace at home (leading to interference by family members and other distractions) and to the disruption of the deeply-rooted psychological need for in-person social interaction.


Do organizations know what people prefer in this new setup? What’s expected from employers? Although current circumstances may have temporarily pushed the focus on the war for talent into the background, it’s certain that it’s still very much present. Organizations that really understand what the workforce expects will be better prepared, and able to react appropriately to attract and retain talent.

When looking ahead in the context of the war for talent, it’s key to understand the workplace preferences of Gen Y and Gen Z. PwC’s recent CEO survey shows that current workplaces don't necessarily meet the needs or expectations of younger generations. Through its EMEA Workforce Preference Study, PwC aims to help companies gain these insights into workplace preferences and help them reshape the future workplace.


The PwC EMEA Workforce Preference Study is one of the most progressive on the topic. It’s an artificial intelligence-based online questionnaire that investigates 56 elements within 12 focus areas including compensation, personal development, company reputation and culture. Thanks to the underlying algorithm, participants receive tailored feedback to help them pinpoint their preferred criteria. This is Europe’s biggest survey on the ideal future workplace, allowing organizations to have an overview of regional differences.


Everyone who takes part in the survey receives immediate feedback, which may be helpful to their career planning. By encouraging your employees to participate, the aggregated results can help you with strategic planning and be used for communication purposes – with potential new hires, for example. They’ll also help you answer questions like:

  • What is the future workforce looking for in terms of a company’s image and reputation?
  • What can you do to boost retention?
  • What triggers people to seek employment outside of Belgium, leading to national “brain drain”?

Share the survey within your organization

To help reshape your future workplace, you can share the survey within your organization and network via this link. The survey closes on Tuesday, September 30, 2020. This is an excellent opportunity to enable your people to have a say in reshaping the future of work!

About the author

Bart Van den Bussche, Director, People & Organization, PwC Belgium

Bart is a Director within the People and Organization practice of PwC in Belgium, with a focus on reward & individual income taxation. He joined PwC in 2005 and advises clients in the broader field of reward from strategy through design to implementation. Bart works on a variety of remuneration design and review projects, including flexible reward projects. Bart also leads the Belgian services offering in the field of Equal-Salary Certification. He’s conducted several Belgian studies providing insights on how financial and non-financial rewards affect employee motivation and retention.