Labor Trends: 5 Disruptions Impacting Jobs in 2018 - US | Glassdoor for Employers

Labor Trends

5 Disruptions Impacting Jobs in 2018

Labor Trends: 5 Disruptions Impacting Jobs in 2018


2017 was a year of rapid change. To help you keep up with the changes in the labor market, we’d like to share the top five trends affecting employers in 2017, as identified by Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain, PhD. We offer takeaways on what these shifts — from the spike in tech jobs to rampant whistleblowing — mean for employers, along with actionable tips to help you stay current.

As you plan your HR and recruiting budgets along with new initiatives for 2018, it’s helpful to consider the larger trends shaping the labor market. We’ll cover what exactly is changing and how the shifts are revealed through data. We offer five labor market trends from Dr. Chamberlain to watch for in 2018, and actionable steps you can take to move your organization forward into a bright new future.

5 Labor Market Trends from 2017

It’s impossible to predict what’s ahead without looking back at the forces that shaped the labor market over the past twelve months. Here are the top trends that defined 2017 for jobs. Each one played a role in how 2017 shaped up, and we’ll likely see these trends building momentum in 2018.

#1: Tech Jobs Are Spreading

Tech jobs are no longer limited to tech companies like Google and Microsoft or tech hubs like San Francisco and Seattle. Every industry is being transformed by technology, and Glassdoor Economic Research revealed that software engineering jobs are spreading into non-tech sectors such as retail, finance, and manufacturing, compared to five years ago.1

The data also shows that the share of jobs has shifted away from the traditional tech hubs in the last five years to other locations such as Washington D.C., Austin, and Denver.1

Companies in every industry and location that want to attract tech talent are competing with the workplace precedents set by high profile tech companies such as Facebook (#1 Glassdoor 2018 Best Places to Work) and Google (#5 Glassdoor 2018 Best Places to Work) that have publicly championed strong benefits packages, great perks, and compelling employer brands.

For employers in some industries, it also means wearing a new hat to recruit top talent in tech across all industries. Big retail brands like Nordstrom are exploring more virtual shopping experiences tailored to individual needs with personal consultations and curbside pickups for the goods you choose. In a September press release, Shea Jensen, Nordstrom’s senior vice president of customer experience, said, “Finding new ways to engage with customers on their terms is more important to us now than ever.”

Impact on HR:

Tech is fueling the modernization of workplaces throughout the economy. Attracting tech talent requires fresh thinking on pay and benefits, workplace perks, office environments, adapting the hiring processes for skilled candidates, creating more flexible work options, and more.


To help you clarify definitions on terms you might not know, refresh your knowledge, and stay up to date on the latest recruiting and HR terminology geared specifically to tech and engineering, download the new Recruiting Glossary!

#2: Booming Hiring — But for How Long?

The economy kept cranking out jobs in 2017. Organizations added 1.9 million2 new jobs to payrolls this year as of November, pushing down the nation’s unemployment rate to a 17-year low of just 4.1%.2 Despite the eight years of steady job gains, the pace of growth has been slowing for three years — down sharply from the 250,000 jobs per month pace of 2014 and below last year’s pace of 187,000 new jobs added per month.2

Impact on HR:

Low unemployment makes recruiting more challenging. The number of unfilled job openings nationally reached a record 6.1 million this year.3 And it’s taking employers longer to get through the hiring process.

Our research found job interview processes in the U.S. took an average of 23.8 days this year4 — up from 22.9 days in 2014.5


While the economy is still growing, an impending slowdown could mean the job or budget cuts in the future. Shore up your focus on analytics now to improve your hiring process — and your Glassdoor interview ratings along with it. If any budget cuts come down the pike, you’ll be buttoned up in demonstrating your value.

For younger workers aged 18–34, 75% they expect their company to take a stand on political issues affecting the country, including immigration, equal rights and climate change.6

#3: The Power of Whistleblowers

Glassdoor has been focused on encouraging organizational transparency since our beginnings in 2007. The recent explosion of high-profile whistleblowing for sexual harassment and fraudulent behavior at companies that include Uber, The Weinstein Company, Barclays, Wells Fargo, Fox News, and NPR has shown us what happens when organizational culture is not transparent.

At the same time, workers are looking to their employers to take a stand on social issues. An eye-opening 2017 survey from Glassdoor showed that nearly four in five (84%) U.S. workers say companies have an important voice in proposed legislation that could affect employers and the lives of employees.6

What it means for HR:

2017 gave us a stark reminder that suppressing bad behavior and dysfunctional workplace culture is not a sustainable strategy in today’s world of ubiquitous social media and online employer reviews. In addition to showing little tolerance for unethical and inappropriate workplace behavior, companies are ramping up efforts to address social issues.

A recent Glassdoor survey shows one-third of U.S. companies surveyed plan to boost investments in corporate diversity and inclusion programs over the next year.7


Employees are more productive in environments that don’t challenge their ethics or threaten their personal boundaries. Company policies and procedures are critical to establishing the rules of conduct within an organization, outlining the responsibilities of both employees and employers. Think of policies like the constitution by which your organization is run.

Learning & development is now the #2 topic on the minds of CEO and HR leaders: 83% of companies rate this issue important and 54% rate it urgent, up 11% from last year.8

#4: Goodbye Annual Reviews

The evolution of performance management has led many companies to abandon the dreaded annual review in favor of more frequent check-ins and informal feedback. In addition, companies are turning more attention to ongoing learning and development efforts.

The learning industry has exploded, with businesses around the world spending about $140 billion on L&D annually ($500 to $3,000 per employee depending on the industry).9 A variety of online learning platforms help employees develop their skill sets by teaching new technologies, soft skills, and microskills, while enabling employers to adapt to the quickly evolving tech landscape.

Impact on HR:

With the annual performance review becoming increasingly seen as old-fashioned, employers need to continually evolve performance management processes. In addition, companies that include employee development as part of their company culture will be even more likely to hold on to employees before they jump ship for a promotion.

A Glassdoor Economic Research analysis found that role changes are almost three times more likely to occur by changing employers rather than being promoted from within: 73% of workers left their employer to change roles, while only 27% stayed at the same employer.10


Glassdoor reviews and exit interviews can be a great source of feedback on performance management and missed development opportunities. Conduct an audit of Glassdoor reviews with an eye toward performance management and development, and ensure your exit interview process captures the information needed to retain more employees.

#5: The Year of the Informed Candidate

Job seekers have more opportunities than ever before to learn about your company: Glassdoor users visit an average of 7 different job sites during their search. 11 As they embark on the candidate journey, they use this information to form opinions about your company:

93% of job seekers today say it’s important to be thoughtful and informed about all aspects of a company prior to accepting a job offer.12

Still, employers are struggling to fill open positions — a 2017 survey of 750 U.S. & UK hiring decision makers revealed that 76% of respondents said that finding quality candidates was their #1 recruiting challenge.13 Quality candidates have also informed candidates, according to 88% of hiring decision-makers in the survey. Informed candidates transform the hiring process by coming prepared to interviews with questions; being knowledgeable about the role and understanding the company’s culture and values.

Impact on HR:

Attracting informed candidates makes your hiring process easier by contributing to an improved candidate experience, reducing time to hire, and offering better hiring manager satisfaction. To top it off, informed candidates are likely to stay with your company longer as well as be more productive and engaged employees.14

Companies can improve their ability to attract informed candidates by communicating their employer brand proposition and giving candidates the materials they need to become more informed. This information goes well beyond the careers page and employer profiles to include employee photos, ratings, and reviews.


Identify the sources of hire that give you the highest quality candidates — those that make it from interview to offer. Focus more of your brand and advertising resources on those sources that attract informed candidates.

5 Labor Market Trends to Watch in 2018

Evaluate these trends along with your hiring and HR plans to develop achievable, market-right goals for 2018.

#1: Bracing for AI in HR

When it comes to the future of work, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are poised to impact nearly every facet of the workforce in some way.14 In the HR world, AI is being tapped to free up HR professionals’ time by helping to create bias-free job descriptions, identify the best candidates, screen candidates, and schedule candidate interviews.

Many AI solutions are affordable and easy-to-use, and we expect to see much broader adoption in recruiting and HR in 2018 and beyond. A growing list15 of HR-focused vendors using AI includes companies such as Entelo (candidate sourcing), Textio (job descriptions), Textkernal (candidate matching), HiringSolved (candidate matching and recruitment process automation) and (scheduling).

Action Steps:

Identify the biggest pain points in your sourcing and recruitment process. Then research appropriate vendors and schedule demos. Consider a trial before committing your budget to a new software solution.


AI is also impacting work processes in financial services, healthcare, retail, and transportation. More positions will be created that either develop, interact with or support AI software. Make sure you work closely with hiring managers to understand the requirements for these positions. Titles might include AI software engineer, data scientist, solutions architect, or even AI copywriter (for chatbots). They may also include support for AI technology, such as sales, marketing, and legal support. Because of the small experienced applicant pool in this new field, identify transferable skills for candidates.

#2: Bringing Transparency to the Application Process

Partly thanks to Glassdoor, the workplace is much more transparent than it was just 10 years ago. Yet the job application and interview process is still largely opaque. Candidates frequently mention frustration with the “black hole” that can occur anywhere in the recruitment process, from application submission to late-round interviews.

In an era when consumers can easily track every step in a FedEx delivery process — from a mobile device — it strikes most job seekers today as archaic to be unable to track the status of a potentially life-changing job application in real time.

In 2018, we expect more employers to start embracing transparency in application processes. Transparency during the interview process not only improves candidate satisfaction, but it also differentiates your company in the competition for talent.

Companies may consider developing a platform such as Johnson & Johnson’s “Shine,” which lets candidates check on the progress of their application, get information on next steps, and browse related information about the role and company that’s relevant to where they are in the hiring process. Or they may choose to adopt or reconfigure ATS technology in order to send automated status updates to candidates.

Action Steps:

Find out the biggest candidate pain points in your recruiting process by conducting candidate surveys and examining Glassdoor interview reviews. Then determine how you can modify your processes with the help of technology to offer more transparency to candidates.

#3: Tapping Employee Passion Through Role Experimentation

While departmental career progression is usually well-outlined in organizations, lateral moves are often harder to make for employees interested in developing new skills. Glassdoor research shows a key reason workers quit is stagnating too long in roles that no longer fit their skills and interests. 16 To combat this, we expect to see more employers in 2018 promoting flexible role experimentation. They may also offer formal pathways to encourage employees to venture into new roles as their skills and passions evolve over time.

One pioneer in this space in recent years has been ATB Financial. In 2017, the Canadian company launched an innovative formal career development program, allowing for more flexible role changes inside the company. The program created new onboarding and recruiting channels specifically for internal role changes, and featured management training to help lay a cultural foundation for greater openness to cross-team role changes and internal talent mobility at the company.

Action Plan:

  • Create outlines for various career paths in your organization
  • Collect examples of lateral moves within your organization
  • Ask for employee testimonials
  • Include this information in employer branding communications:
    • Careers site
    • Glassdoor Profile
    • Internal communications
  • Determine how you can encourage lateral career progression through training and managerial support

#4: Smoothing Out Bumps in Mobile Job Search

Mobile accounts for two-thirds of digital time spent in the U.S.17 Job seekers, too, tend to favor their mobile devices: more than half of Glassdoor’s traffic from its 48 million unique monthly users occurs on a mobile device. 18 Employers who don’t have a mobile-friendly job search and application experience are missing out, particularly for key audiences: surveys find Hispanic job seekers and Millennials disproportionately rely on mobile devices as the main way to access the internet.19

Yet the mobile job search experience is filled with bumps and hurdles. Complicated online forms, clunky drop-down menus, hard-to-upload resumes, unnecessary passwords and required fields, and forms that often ask for duplicate information that already appears on resumes plague the mobile job application process.

In 2018 and beyond, we expect to see big improvements in mobile job experiences as employers seek to stay competitive. Mobile friendly careers pages, ATS improvements, and job advertising features like Glassdoor’s “easy apply” jobs will help employers stay current, leaving “pinch and zoom” as a thing of the past.

Action Plan:

  • Conduct an audit of your mobile job application process, including your:
    • Careers page
    • Job Ads
    • Application process
  • Identify problem spots and schedule follow-up actions
  • Consider mobile-friendly ATS and job ad solutions

#5: The Changing Face of Job Creation in America

A bird’s eye view of jobs in America according to the BLS shows that healthcare is poised for growth in the coming years, partly due to the needs of the aging Baby Boomer population. More than 1.1 million new jobs are expected for home health care aides between 2016 and 2026. Similarly, registered nurses, medical assistants, and nursing assistants all appear on the BLS’s list of top roles for job growth.

On the tech front, software developer is projected to be among the fastest growing jobs in the next decade, adding an estimated 253,400 new jobs by 2026.19 Our research shows many of these jobs are likely to be added in retail, finance, manufacturing, consulting, and biotech, outside of the Silicon Valley tech world.

In addition, traditional jobs such as restaurant waiters, janitors, construction laborers, customer service representatives, landscapers, truck drivers, and maintenance workers all appear on the BLS’s list of top occupations for job growth between 2016 and 2026.

With so many companies hiring for the same positions, organizations will need to focus on retention in order to differentiate themselves and stay competitive. Whatever the level of skill required for a position, workers thrive when they have a sense of meaning, can take pride in their work, and receive sustainable benefits and pay.

Employer branding, career development opportunities, and transparency are now more important in 2018 than ever before. When workers can easily search for and apply to jobs on their morning commute, and with recruiters increasingly sourcing passive candidates, employers must create environments where it’s more attractive to stay than to leave.

Action Plan

To shore up your retention efforts, find out why employees stay with your organization:

  • Conduct a retention analysis, examining longevity by department and demographic groups
  • Conduct “stay interviews” to pinpoint the positive factors working within your organization
  • Use data from exit interviews to identify opportunities to strengthen retention
  • Examine Glassdoor reviews with an eye toward why people love working for you and why they don’t
  • Identify two to five opportunities from your analysis and create an action plan for each


Technology — tech jobs and tech for HR and recruiting — is a common thread throughout these trends. While organizations still need to focus on the basics of efficient recruiting and boosting retention, we encourage you to be on the lookout for how technology can assist with your recruitment and people management process — and that includes the information and analytics you can glean from technology tools such as Glassdoor.

Glassdoor gets your company’s open jobs in front of millions of candidates who might not otherwise find them. Employers can engage those candidates with a compelling brand story at the most influenceable time in their job search — right when job seekers become informed candidates. Those informed candidates have been shown to be 2x more likely to be hired because they’re the right fit, 20 so you spend less time sifting through resumes and more time with the right people, which saves you time and money both short- and long-term. And when you find yourself with better hires who do great work and stay longer, everyone wins.

Here’s to all of us doing great work, staying engaged, and finding new success in 2018!


  1. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “Beyond Silicon Valley: Tech Jobs Spreading Out of Tech Hubs”, July 2017
  2. Source: BLS “Employment Situation Report”
  3. Source: BLS “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey”
  4. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “How Long Does it Take to Hire? Interview Duration in 25 Countries”, August 2017
  5. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “Why Is Hiring Taking Longer?”, June 2015
  6. Source: Survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 30 - April 3, 2017
  7. Source: Aptitude Research Partners, 2017
  8. Source: Deloitte, 2017 Human Capital Trends
  9. Source: Bersin, HR Technology Disruptions for 2018
  10. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover”, February 2017
  11. Source: Site Survey, January 2016
  12. Source: Survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 30 - April 3, 2017
  13. Source: Aptitude Research Partners, 2017
  14. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “Who’s Hiring AI Talent in America?”, November 2017
  15. SHRM, “Intelligent Technology Is Changing Recruiting”, February 2017
  16. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover, February 2017
  17. Source: Comscore, U.S. Mobile App Report 2017; 2. Source: Google Analytics, CQ3’17 average
  18. Source: Jibe, “Why Workforce Diversity and Mobile Job Applications Go Hand-In-Hand”, March 2015
  19. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, “Beyond Silicon Valley: Tech Jobs Spreading Out of Tech Hubs”, July 2017
  20. Source: Based on app-to-hire ratios in a 2015 study of 30 million applications from a leading third-party recruitment agency