Mentions of the future of work within the filings of companies in the fashion industry were 46% lower in the fourth quarter of 2021 than in Q4 of 2020.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to it during 2021 was 550% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from where our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When fashion and accessories companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. The future of work is one of these topics, companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether the topic is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of fashion and accessories companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned it at least once in filings during the past twelve months, this was 61% compared to 10% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the future of work.

Of the ten biggest employers in the fashion industry, LVMH was the company that referred to the future of work the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 11 related sentences in the France-based company's filings - 0.09% of all sentences. Hermes mentioned the future of work the second-most, the issue was also referred to in 0.09% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high future of work mentions included Christian Dior, Gildan and Hanesbrands.

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By GlobalData

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on the future of work and how important the issue is considered within the fashion industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning the future of work more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into the future of work have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises the topic's mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in 2021 was “workflow management”, which made up 60% of all future of work subtheme mentions by fashion and accessories companies.

In December last year Just Style reported the proportion of apparel supply chain companies hiring for future of work related positions rose significantly in November 2021 compared with the equivalent month in 2020, with 87.5% of the companies included in our analysis recruiting for at least one such position.