COVID isn't likely going away anytime soon. This means it's time to stop waiting for things to return to pre-pandemic normalcy and accept the new norms like more emphasis on remote work, active DE&I initiatives, and employee engagement - things many top companies on our Best Places to Work '22 list have already embraced. If you're looking to join the top companies on this list, the time to adapt to the future economy is now. Glassdoor Economist Daniel Zhao lays out four upcoming trends you can expect for the job market in '22 to help you prepare for the year ahead.
1. Hiring is going to be difficult
Hiring is going to be difficult in 2022. In fact, it might be just as difficult as it was in 2021. The surprise theme of 2021 was labor shortages, as it's been a challenge for employers to hire and retain employees. But many of these factors that have made hiring tough are likely to persist through '22. For example, the pandemic is still around and is still affecting the job market, and it's not likely to disappear anytime soon. Ongoing threats from new variants are continuing to cause uncertainty around the labor force, and demographic factors such as an increase in retirement are likely to continue causing labor shortages throughout the year.
2. Remote work isn't going anywhere
Remote work is one way employers are going to try to get around the labor shortage issues, as it's a great way to expand their talent pool. In the past, remote work was a sort of secret superpower for some employers - it was a way to access overlooked talent pools. But these days, remote work is essentially table stakes due to the pandemic.
Many more employers are considering remote work for sourcing talent, which is likely to increase competition for those remote workers - and more competition over workers means higher pay for those workers.
Remote work has also reached a critical mass, affecting other parts of the economy. Local employers who aren't hiring remotely are seeing competition from larger employers. For instance, a local company in the middle of Pennsylvania may be facing competition from employers in New York City who are trying to hire Pennsylvania talent for remote jobs.
3. The focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion policies will increase
Employers are going to increasingly invest in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). And a lot of this investment is going to turn from goal-setting and transparency to action and accountability.
In 2020, many employers actually set very ambitious goals around DE&I, and that generated a lot of goodwill from employees and society. But that goodwill won't last without action from the employers. Many employees are still holding judgment on their perceptions of their employer's commitment to DE&I.
Employers in 2022 will need to commit more to sharing data and progress on their DE&I goals. This can help lead companies on a path to accountability and ultimately help drive progress and level up the conversation. Exposing their progress can create a data set and mutual language for people to use to talk about DE&I efforts moving forward.
4. Employees want stronger workplace community
Many professionals are excited about heading back to the office. They're eager to experience in-person interactions again beyond what can happen on Zoom. They yearn not just for the physical office, but the sense of community that comes with it.
According to a recent Glassdoor report, about half of employees say they feel isolated from their coworkers because of the pandemic. In 2022, employers need to be more intentional in facilitating connections between employees, especially in the new world of work where certain workforces are entirely remote or a mix of remote and in-person. Employees in all different contexts need to feel connected.
Additionally, we will likely see people begin connecting outside of their inner work circle through means like Fishbowl by Glassdoor, where individuals can connect with other professionals from all over the world.
So, what's the takeaway?
Ultimately, the hot job market means employees will have more power in 2022. That power could mean things like workers negotiating higher pay, better benefits, or more flexible work arrangements. It may mean workers feel more comfortable challenging their employers on things like DE&I because they feel more secure economically. This also means it may likely continue to be difficult to hire and retain talent just as it had been in 2021.
Given these challenges, it's a good idea to pay close attention to your employer brand and how tightly linked it is to employee engagement. Your employer brand is your reputation, as dictated by how satisfied your employees are at your company. Employer profiles on Glassdoor give you a window into employee engagement as well as the ability to participate in conversations around your company. Your employer profile also lets you show off what makes you stand apart: your company goals, culture, and how you respond to what employees say. If you haven't focused on your employer brand or Glassdoor profile before, the tough hiring market ahead signals that now is the time.