LinkedIn has more than 800 million members all over the world . Its reach and research give the professional network’s chief economist, Karin Kimbrough, the big-picture view on emerging trends, including what people want from work—and what skills employers will need in the coming years.

Kimbrough is the first guest for Season 2 of Microsoft’s WorkLab podcast, in which host Elise Hu has conversations with economists, technologists, and researchers who explore data and insights into why and how work is changing.

Three big takeaways from this conversation:

  • At least 40 percent of job seekers or new hires say that colleagues and culture are top priorities when they pick a new job. With hybrid work here to stay, and with new employee expectations around flexible work models, companies need to reinvent how they build a strong culture and encourage camaraderie.

  • The number of LinkedIn members starting new businesses has increased dramatically. Company formations jumped nearly 60 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, and remained higher in 2021 than pre-pandemic—a sign of people taking stock of their careers and making entrepreneurial strides.

  • Data from Microsoft-owned LinkedIn shows that many jobs are evolving rapidly—meaning people have to learn new skills even if they stay in the same position. What skill sets have a strong future? The ability to analyze vast amounts of data will be a precious asset, as will the ability to communicate. “And by the way, that is a skill that no machine will ever do better than a human,” Kimbrough says.

To go deeper into the theme of learning, at the end of the episode we check in with Andrew Barnes, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Go1, a platform that provides digital learning for companies’ workforces.

WorkLab is a place for experts to share their insights and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, the opinions and findings of the experts we interview are their own and do not reflect Microsoft’s own research or opinions.

Follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Here’s a transcript of the Episode 1 conversation.

ELISE HU: This is WorkLab , the podcast from Microsoft. I’m your host, Elise Hu.

On WorkLab , we hear from leading thinkers on the future of work. Economists, technologists, researchers—they all share surprising data and explore the trends transforming the way we work. In Season 2 we’ll be looking at how to make hybrid work work . And we’ll be tackling some big questions for leaders, like, how can we help people be productive and connected while prioritizing individual wellbeing?