As we head in 2022, managers hoped the staffing challenges we’ve been facing throughout the pandemic would have eased so we could start the new year off on the right foot (in the hiring landscape, at least). Yet there are ten million job openings in the U.S. and 8 million people looking for work – which doesn’t quite add up.
Everyone thought pandemic benefits ending would send workers back to the market. Then we thought a pay increase would be the panacea. Yes, there was a small bump. But now what? There are several hypotheses among economic experts about where all the workers have gone. Among them, many have become remote workers once they figured out if – and how – to work from home. In fact, a new World Economic Forum report says 84% of employers plan to expand remote working in the coming months.
For a staffing company like LGC, what’s more interesting in the WEF report is that 43% of responding leaders say they’re set to reduce the workforce due to technology integration and then another 41% say they’ll use contract workers for task-specialized work throughout the next couple of years.
This, combined with the fact that it’s a jobseeker’s market, means HR teams need to be forward-thinking and creative to sell a desirable workplace environment and culture – especially for gig staffing jobs where workers need to be onsite. As we roll in 2022, here are the staffing trends our team predicts for the New Year.
2022 Staffing Trends
Importance of the Employee Experience
Business leaders who understand the importance of retention and engagement will be focusing on the employee and their experience in the workplace. How many years have businesses done employee opinion polls with results telling what employees want, yet the feedback isn’t seriously considered or implemented? Smart C-suite executives will listen and respond quickly to employee ideas, feedback, and requests in the New Year. Prioritizing the employee experience also helps with future recruiting efforts. If past employees had a good experience during their time with you, it’s likely that they’ll spread the word, leading to more word-of-mouth marketing.
Right now, workers have a lot of choices. Often their asks are small. No email after 5 p.m. or slight flexibility in working hours, for example. It’s these small things that make a difference in retaining talent.
Value in Upskilling Workers
The top reason employees leave their job is due to management. In fact, two-thirds say their manager is not properly trained, according to a study of 2,000 employees from Predictive Index. But there’s an upside; according to the World Economic Forum report, a large majority of employers recognize the value of investing in their employees, leading to a new wave of leadership candidates.
- There’s a newfound emphasis on personal development courses, with growth of 88%.
- Employers expect to offer reskilling and upskilling to just over 70% of employees in the next three years.
- And an average of 66% of employers surveyed expect to get a return on investment in upskilling and reskilling within one year.
Placing this emphasis on upskilling workers can positively impact employee retention and engagement rates, like creating a great employee experience. And when employees know that management is invested in their future, they’ll feel less likely to leave their jobs.
Welcoming Immigrant Employees Back to the Workforce
In a normal year, the U.S. welcomes roughly 1 million immigrants, and roughly three-quarters of them end up participating in the labor force. In 2020, with borders closed due to the pandemic, the number dropped to about 263,000. Industries with labor shortages currently include hospitality and warehousing. Traditionally, 21% of immigrants accept jobs in both of those sectors. With the U.S. reopening borders post-pandemic, we’ll be welcoming these jobseekers while watching and waiting to see the impact to these sectors.
New Focus on Internal Talent
A recent Gartner survey of 550 HR leaders says one of their focus areas in the New Year is current and future leadership bench strength (45%). It might sound strange for a staffing company like LGC to point out that human resources teams should focus on internal talent – but it’s not. We have over 40 offices nationwide staffed with creative and talented team members. Keeping them engaged and more importantly, investing in their personal talent is a priority. While leadership hiring will be key in 2022, focusing on the talent we already have is critical to operations.
Continued Emphasis on Soft Skills
It’s often been said to “hire for culture,” and that’s never been truer. With so many options available, candidates will leave a position if they don’t fit in well with the workplace environment. And conversely, managers will let employees (often with the right technical skills/experience) go if they don’t mesh well with the current team and environment.
According to a recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends survey, 92% of hiring professionals stated that it’s “increasingly important” to hire candidates with well-developed soft skills, especially in today’s evolving workplace. In the same survey, 89% said that bad hires “typically have poor soft skills.” Solid soft skills can increase both retention and productivity, both critical to business operations in a marketplace where it’s tough to find new employees.
Defining What Flexibility Means
Over the last few years, we’ve heard more and more that workers want flexibility. Then the pandemic compounded this need, which is why it’s one of the major 2022 staffing trends. We know this trend is here to stay, especially as it becomes clearer as to what type of flexibility can be offered. The traditional business leader with an office is trying to figure out how to define flexible work — hybrid, work-from-home, four-day work weeks, etc. Businesses with customer facing jobs, including retail and hospitality, have figured out how to make it work for their teams since traditional schedules demanded weekends and nights.
More Personal Settings
Though we probably won’t see the sprawling Google or Amazon campuses going anywhere, offices and other workplaces will likely do away with the giant floorplans that (inadvertently) discourage employee interaction. This is due in part to much of the corporate workforce being remote. Gone are the days of the closed office door; employees want to feel like they’re being heard and seen by management, figuratively and literally.
We’ve been hearing for a while now that it’s an employee’s job market. They have the power and employers are at their will, right? Not exactly. By referencing the 2022 staffing trends, employers and managers have a great opportunity as we head into the new year – to build a workplace that supports and empowers employees and makes them want to stay.