The days since the pandemic hit have been a wild ride. Trends like the Great Resignation materialized, later progressing to so-called quiet quitting. The fact that we’ve witnessed these two large-scale trends in a short period is a testament to just how fluid the job market is at the moment.
While the COVID-19 pandemic seems unlikely to get worse in 2023, at least in the United States, the job market remains somewhat uncertain. Things continue to change at a breakneck pace, and it can be difficult to predict what will happen next.
Indeed, no one knows exactly what lies ahead, but numerous job market experts are making common predictions. Here is what some experts expect for the coming year.
A Tightening Labor Market
During the first year or two of the pandemic, there was a surplus of job openings. But experts predict a tightening labor market for 2023. They believe the tide will shift from a struggle to retain workers to a more selective hiring process.
“Due to the economic uncertainty ahead, employers will be more reluctant to expand their workforce, and employees will be less tempted by job hopping,” said Nathan Brunner, CEO at Salarship.
This ties into the latest buzzword, “quiet hiring,” with employers placing more emphasis on hiring from within and training existing employees.
“Quiet hiring re-engages existing workers, rebuilding their passions for their work by expanding learning and training of the workers they already have on staff,” said Annie Morris, editor-in-chief of Made in CA.
These trends point to a slowdown in hiring external candidates.
Growing Demand for Tech Workers
Tech workers have been an essential part of the economy since the dawn of the digital age, but new trends in this sector may accelerate the need for new workers.
“AI and machine-learning technologies are expected to become more widely adopted in 2023, as businesses seek to automate tasks and improve decision-making,” said Mina Tadrus, CEO at Tadrus Capital.
At first, it sounds like this would lead to a drop in hiring. But we can’t forget that these systems need people to develop and maintain them.
Tadrus said, “This will create a demand for professionals with skills in these areas, such as data scientists, machine-learning engineers and AI developers.”
A Need for Flexibility
The pandemic left some companies flat-footed, and it became clear that companies must be flexible.
“We live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, so the key to everything is flexibility,” said Pavel Bahu, global HR head at Trevolution Group. “Flexible goal setting is about adjustment; it is about finding your strategies to cope and succeed when circumstances change.”
Companies must be adaptable in a changing business environment and in the work arrangements they permit. In other words, flexibility also applies to where and how people work.
“The pandemic just taught so many employees that they didn’t necessarily need to be chained to a desk in a particular location or even at a particular time to do work of value,” Morris said. “So they continue to demand that flexibility; and, for most of the last year, job seekers have been in the driver’s seat, able to set those demands as companies were increasingly desperate for workers.”
Bigger Emphasis on Sustainability
More and more nonprofits and social movements are constantly popping up around sustainability, making the problem increasingly difficult to sweep under the rug. Of course, some companies have bigger carbon footprints than others, but every company has at least some environmental impact. After all, things like heating and cooling buildings can create carbon emissions if the energy doesn’t come from renewable sources.
Companies understand that this trend isn’t likely to reverse — sustainability concerns will only get bigger.
“As the world continues to grapple with environmental and climate challenges, there is likely to be increasing demand for professionals with expertise in sustainability and renewable energy,” said Danielle Dafni, co-founder & CEO at Peech.
In other words, look for new jobs that focus on sustainable business practices.
The Importance of Mental Health
The pandemic undoubtedly had big mental health impacts, but this is just another issue that existed well before COVID-19. The pandemic exacerbated it and therefore made it more visible. Experts believe this is another issue that employers may have ignored or overlooked in the past but no longer will in 2023.
“Lastly, businesses are realizing that mental health matters,” Morris said, “and [companies] are increasingly investing in programs to benefit their employees and management who may be struggling, as so many have over the last few years.”
How effective will these programs be? Time will tell, but employers are taking the right step by acknowledging the very real issue here.
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