Shifting worker expectations guide the coming talent migration

Prudential Newsroom

As pandemic restrictions ease, employers must prepare for an increasingly competitive talent market as workers rethink their careers and their expectations of work, says a new survey from Prudential Financial.

According to findings from the latest Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Post-Pandemic Work & Life – Expectations from the American Workforce fielded in late May, a quarter of workers still plan to look for a new job once the pandemic is over. Half of those surveyed say the pandemic has given them more control in deciding the direction of their career, and 48% are rethinking the type of job they want altogether. These insights were among a range uncovered in the survey of 2,000 full-time employed adults, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential.

Half of workers planning to leave their jobs say they are seeking better compensation and benefits and would prefer a job that allows for professional growth as well as better work/life balance.

“The road ahead will see the market for talent heat up, and it will become increasingly competitive for employers to attract and retain top talent. Employers looking to be a magnet for top talent in the post-pandemic economy must understand workers’ expectations of work and what they need from their jobs,” says Prudential Vice Chair Rob Falzon.

Focus on skilling

The skills gaps that existed prior to 2020 have grown exponentially over the past year; in fact, American workers say getting their skills up to speed quickly is critical to seizing job opportunities as the pandemic eases—and many are worried they are not prepared.

Nearly half of workers (46%) said they will have to learn new skills within the next year to do their current job, and 43% expect their financial security to be in jeopardy if they do not retrain or reskill.

“Job stability going forward will be based on the skills workers have to offer. Employers will be willing to pay a premium for talent with the right skills,” says Falzon. “At the same time, corporate America will need to step up and invest in their talent by offering skills training and enhancing on-the-job learning opportunities, such as through apprenticeship and rotation programs.”

While computer technology and tools that enable remote work topped the list of skills managers say are most needed, nearly half of workers surveyed and 30% of managers believe soft skills like problem-solving and adaptability will be more valuable in the coming years.

Despite feeling pressure to develop their skills, 4 in 10 workers reported spending little to no time learning new skills at work. One contributing factor could be that even though managers report increased productivity during remote work, they also say it is taking longer for teams to complete their work, perhaps leaving less time for skilling.

Pandemic gives new meaning to “work-life balance”

Work and home have never been never more blurred than during the pandemic, as many workers transitioned to remote work. The collision of personal and professional demands have forced workers to prioritize, with 46% saying they’ve made “trade-offs” between personal priorities and work.

In particular, the pandemic highlighted the struggles of working caregivers, who made up 38% of those surveyed. The strained balancing act caused by the pandemic led to an exodus of caregivers from the workforce, with women disproportionately affected, according to data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the working caregivers polled in Prudential’s survey, 45% said they have considered leaving the workforce, compared to 19% of non-caregivers. While those surveyed have managed to remain in the workforce, 4 in 10 working caregivers say the pandemic left them with less time to devote to career and professional development.

When asked what they would value most from their employers going forward, working caregivers cited increased work flexibility (42%), more paid time off (38%) and a greater commitment to employee health and well-being (37%).

PTIO Supports Transportation Workforce Development Provision in Bipartisan Surface Transportation Investment Act

PTIO_Commerce_Surface Markup_5021


June 16, 2021


The Honorable Maria Cantwell                                  The Honorable Roger Wicker

Chair                                                                                 Ranking Member

Committee on Commerce, Science,                           Committee on Commerce, Science,

& Transportation                                                             & Transportation

United States Senate                                                      United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510                                                   Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chair Cantwell, Ranking Member Wicker, and Members of the Committee:


On behalf of the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO), I write to express support for Section 5021 of the Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021, “Transportation Workforce Development.”  PTIO is appreciative of the provision’s research-based, consensus-driven approach in considering how to prepare the workforce for roles in the intelligent transportation technologies sector, including those specific to autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.


PTIO – whose members include The American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Ford, Lyft, Toyota Motor North America, UPS, Waymo, May Mobility, and Locomation AI – was formed in June 2018 with a commitment to advance AV technology in ways that improve quality of life and economic opportunity for all Americans.  Our top priority is to promote policies and programs that prepare workers for new career pathways in the AV ecosystem while ensuring productivity enhancements arising from AVs benefit every American, including those whose jobs may evolve alongside the technology.


As a critical component of the United States’ intelligent transportation system,  AVs will improve the way we connect people, goods, and services, subsequently yielding positive impacts across the economy ranging from job creation to an increase in Gross Domestic Product.[1]  As AV technology continues to develop but is not yet deployed on a widespread basis, lawmakers have the opportunity to pursue policies that allow AV technology to flourish while concurrently engaging industry, academic leaders, educators, workers, and other interested stakeholders to understand what AVs will mean for jobs across occupations as applications of the technology continue to evolve.  Public policies and private sector programs must reflect this understanding to meet their desired objectives.


By directing the National Academy of Sciences to develop an intelligent transportation technologies workforce needs assessment addressing issues related to recruiting, retaining, and developing a skilled workforce pipeline while additionally establishing a working group to develop an implementation plan based on the assessment’s findings, Section 5021 takes a research-based, consensus-driven approach to further our shared goal of identifying effective methods and programs for preparing and empowering Americans to secure opportunities in the intelligent transportation system economy.  We additionally appreciate the section’s acknowledgement that registered apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs are important components to developing a skilled workforce.  However, PTIO urges the working group to consider other quality-assured work-based learning programs outside of the registered apprenticeship space as additional strategies for re-skilling incumbent workers and attracting new talent in the transportation sector.  The National Academy of Sciences and working group should additionally assess curricular development around training Americans for roles in emerging and innovative transportation technologies.


Thank you for your continued leadership on these important issues.  We are eager to continue working with this Committee and others of relevant jurisdiction as we strive to ensure AV technology flourishes in the United States while concurrently pursuing policies and programs that prepare the workforce for the opportunities and changes on the horizon.




Kathryn Branson

Executive Director

Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity




[1] US Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, “Macroeconomic Impacts of Automated Driving Systems in Long-Haul Trucking,” January 18 2021.

Waymo Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Start Moving Freight Across Texas

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez, SingularityHub

Last month, self-driving technology company TuSimple shipped a truckload of watermelons across the state of Texas ten hours faster than normal. They did this by using their automated driving system for over 900 miles of the journey. The test drive was considered a success, and marked the beginning of a partnership between TuSimple and produce distributor Guimarra. This is one of the first such partnerships announced, but TuSimple may soon have some competition from another big player in the driverless vehicles game: Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo.

Yesterday, Waymo announced a partnership with transportation logistics company JB Hunt to move cargo in automated trucks in Texas. The first route they’ll drive is between Houston and Fort Worth, which Waymo claims is “one of the most highly utilized freight corridors in the country.”

At around 260 miles long, much of the route is a straight shot on Interstate 45. The trucks will have human safety drivers on board who will likely take over some of the city driving portions, but the goal is to use the automated system as much as possible. A software technician will be on board as well, which makes sense given software will be doing the bulk of the driving.

Waymo has been testing driverless trucks in Texas since last August, when it established a hub in Dallas from which to deploy its fleet of 18-wheelers, complete with cameras, lidar, and on-board computers. It’s no coincidence that the Lone Star State is getting so much driverless action; its mild climate and vast highway network make for a lot of space to drive and a lot of time throughout the year to do so—and a 2017 bill allows vehicles to operate without a driver there.

There are five levels of automation in driving, or if you count level 0 (where there’s no automation at all and a human driver is fully in control at all times), six. At Level 5—full autonomy—the vehicle can drive itself anywhere (around cities, on highways, on rural roads, etc.) in any conditions (rain, sun, fog, etc.) without human intervention.

Waymo’s technology, called Waymo Driver (“the world’s most experienced driver,” if the company has its way) is considered Level 4, which means it could operate without a safety driver under certain conditions (namely, good weather). “This will be one of the first opportunities for JB Hunt to receive data and feedback on customer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor operating at this level of autonomy,” said Craig Harper, JB Hunt’s chief sustainability officer and executive vice president.

Despite looming concerns over job losses due to automation in trucking, proponents say that not only will self-driving technology help fill an ongoing shortage of drivers, it will improve safety on roads and decrease food waste, since shipments will arrive to their final destinations faster. JB Hunt, Harper said, believes “there will be a need for highly skilled, professional drivers for many years to come,” but autonomous technologies will improve efficiency and safety.

Whether it’s TuSimple, Waymo, or other players left to enter the field (or in this case, the state of Texas), it seems we’ll soon be finding out if that’s the case.

Jobs For the City of Tomorrow

By Benoit Morenne, The Wall Street Journal

Excerpt from “Jobs for the City of Tomorrow”

The Future of Everything covers the innovation and technology transforming the way we live, work and play, with monthly issues on healthmoneyartificial intelligence and more. This month is Cities & Real Estate, online starting June 4 and in the paper on June 11.

As urban areas expand and evolve, new professions will be needed, from vertical gardeners to charging-station valets.

Autonomous-Shuttle Attendant

Even as autonomous vehicles start to redefine urban mobility, a human presence on board could help reassure passengers who might otherwise feel uncomfortable riding alone in a driverless vehicle.

“We don’t like being observed just by CCTV,” says Marcus Enoch, a professor in transport strategy at Loughborough University in England.

Mass transit will also need to adapt to accommodate a growing senior population. Vehicles such as self-driving buses could be staffed with attendants trained to assist the elderly and people with disabilities, says Sarah Kaufman, associate director of the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation. These employees would be able to recognize a health emergency, including a stroke, and deliver medical care. “Having a human presence is important for this population to have someone to communicate with,” Ms. Kaufman says.

Some attendants could act as security at night, she says, and alert transportation authorities if mechanical issues arise. Others could help lug a passenger’s food cart or bags off an autonomous shuttle and onto a robot taxi or a drone, Dr. Enoch says.

Charging Station Valet

Drivers will have to learn to navigate a new infrastructure as electric cars start supplanting gas-powered vehicles and electric plugs replace gas stations.

These changes will spur the growth of an industry focused on providing users with charging-related services, says Bryan Reimer, a research scientist in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics. Car owners and municipalities will need to hire trained electricians with mechanical skills to install, maintain and repair private and public charging stations, he says.

Valets at public charging stations could assist drivers much like gas station attendants today, says NYU’s Ms. Kaufman. Car owners opting to recharge their vehicle by switching batteries out may get a subscription to have a worker go to their parking garage and do the swap, she says.