In total, the frequency of sentences related to the future of work between April 2021 and March 2022 for the apparel industry was 533% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When apparel 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 future of work is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of apparel companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned the future of work at least once in filings during the past 12 months - this was 52% compared to 10% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the future of work.

The biggest players in the apparel industry exploring the future of work

Of the 10 biggest employers in the apparel industry, LVMH was the company which referred to the future of work the most between April 2021 and March 2022. GlobalData identified eight future of work-related sentences in the France-based company's filings - 0.11% of all sentences. Hermes mentioned the future of work the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.1% of sentences in the company's filings.

Across all apparel companies the filing published in the first quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on the future of work came from Hugo Boss. Of the document's 3,564 sentences, five (0.1%) referred to the future of work.

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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 apparel 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 future of work mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the first quarter of 2022 was 'workflow management', which made up 60% of all future of work subtheme mentions by apparel companies.