Important Employment Trends to Watch in 2023

Employment Trends

Employment trends change from year to year. Over the past two-plus years, we have seen many of these changes occur. This is due to changes in the workforce and continued fears during a pandemic and potential recessions.

Which of these changing trends will most affect HR departments? Our experts at HR Service, Inc. compiled a list of employment trends worth reviewing. Read further to discover the most relevant trends across industries to make the most out of your recruiting and hiring efforts.

 Hybrid Workplaces are Here to Stay

One of the most controversial employment trends deals with remote workers. Flexibility within the workplace has never been as valued as it is right now.

Most employees do not want to feel tethered to their desks for eight or more hours per day after experiencing the openness and flexibility of remote work. Shorter or non-existent commutes and the ability to shift working time to non-traditional work hours allowed employees to improve their work/life balance.

With much of the business world seeking a return to “normal” schedules after nearly three years, employees are not ready to completely give up the freedom that gave them an improved quality of life in favor of returning to the office five days a week.

Hybrid work allows a compromise between employers and employees. This approach allows employees the flexibility to work remotely, at least part-time, and still have some in-person time so managers can keep up with employee work progress.

Moving ahead, we will continue to see organizations utilize hybrid work environments as a viable option to meet everyone’s needs. This employment trend allows employees to have the freedom and independence of remote work without compromising the need for accountability.

Non-flexible work environments can be a dealbreaker for some workers and can impact employee engagement, retention, and recruitment. Employers should consider employees’ wants and needs when determining their work model. Surveys indicate working from home with a flexible schedule raised productivity by nearly 13%.

From tracking hours to other monitoring software, employers are putting technology to use to measure employee productivity when not in the office to gain insight into how teams spend their time. While this is useful for employers, caution should be exercised when selecting how and what to track as these measures may negatively impact trust levels within the workplace. It is very important for employers to work collaboratively and be transparent with their teams if they want to maintain a sense of trust.

Employer-Provided Upskilling and Soft Skills Development

Upskilling and developing soft skills were themes that gained attention across all industries in 2022. As we move into 2023 with economic uncertainty and changing workforce needs on the horizon, upskilling opportunities for the workforce will become a prominent retention strategy.

Employment trends in upskilling demonstrate an organization’s desire to drive employee engagement through growth and development. Organizations today have picked up on the desire of employees for continuous learning, and so we expect to see increased learning and development programs set in place as companies create an environment where upskilling is encouraged. This will allow companies to reap the rewards of developing highly skilled teams.

The current market has created a challenge for employers to attract the best talent, making it crucial for both employees and employers to identify and close any skill gaps. Offering the opportunity to job seekers and employees to develop or learn new skills can be a solution for employers hoping to remain competitive in the market and increase the efficiency of their current teams.

While it’s easy to project the future of the workplace, no one has the crystal ball to pinpoint what lies ahead. With digital transformation in high gear, one thing is certain, change will remain constant. We’ve seen job roles transform into something completely different, others have disappeared, and a few are gone forever. The focus has been on hard skills. That is now changing and changing fast.

Technology is taking center stage in transforming the workplace. The latest prediction is that the focus will shift to soft skills. Soft skills like analytical acumen, written and verbal communication style, and leadership approach, are important to both employees and employers. Soft skills also include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Decision-making
  • Time management, and
  • Collaboration

All of these are valuable for employees and job seekers to focus on in the new year to increase their value in the workplace. These skills play an important role in employee performance and productivity.

Soft skills are key to gaining visibility, building trust and relationships, and creating opportunities for advancement. Soft skills help facilitate connections needed for high-performing teams, managers, and leaders. Possessing these skills often sets top leaders apart.

Pay Transparency Gains Momentum

Pay transparency is the future of work, and we’ve already seen this shift begin to happen in 2022. Ten states and municipalities already have pay transparency laws in place, requiring employers to state salary ranges in job descriptions and/or during the job interview process.

Pay transparency is one way to correct wage gaps and erase pay discrimination, which could be a huge victory in all industries. A recent study highlights New York City residents’ thoughts on pay transparency.

The study found that nearly 35% of jobseekers experienced pay discrimination and over 50% of those were women. Pay discrimination is an issue that has plagued the employment sector for far too long, and enacting salary transparency can help address the situation.

There are also benefits to engaging in salary transparency efforts for employers. This may include increasing the quality of applications. When job seekers can ensure both the qualifications and compensation of a role fit what they are looking for, the best workers will self-sort accordingly. Providing a good-faith salary range—not too wide of a range—can also act as a powerful brand statement and build positive sentiment among applicants.

Renewed Focus on Mental Health

Economists are suggesting that a recession is likely looming. With widespread news coverage of layoffs at large tech companies across the country, many employees are concerned for the fate of their own employment. Times of economic uncertainty bring about a whole new set of fears that have the power to negatively affect mental health.

The pandemic produced many important conversations surrounding mental health and wellness inside and outside of the workplace. As a result, many organizations now provide employees with wellness perks such as meditation software, mental health days, as well as sick time to help destress. Wellness perks can also include access to psychological services.

Although we have moved past the pandemic, now is not the time to move backward on the tremendous progress made that allowed employees to be open about their mental health struggles. The new focus is on employers to recognize these potential barriers and provide employees with ongoing access to resources that can improve their mental well-being, and in turn work performance.

Which Trends Will Work Best for Your Organization?

Nearly every aspect of business is prone to change, and employment trends are no exception. This makes it important to stay on top of what is valued by employees. The nature of work is constantly changing, multiple generations are collaborating in the modern workforce, and the technology we use is evolving by the day.

Employee perception about the ideal work environment continues to shift, and employers are proactively prioritizing upskilling and training to meet their needs.

All these employment trends lean towards the evolving employee landscape and embrace the fine lines between employees’ personal and professional lives. Employers need to watch how these trends evolve in the coming years and adapt by making needed changes.

If you have any questions or would like guidance in navigating these ever-changing employment trends, HR Service has the resources and tools you need. Discover the HR tools available to meet your needs in an evolving workforce, or contact us for an individual consultation.

Prepared by Dean Kipp, SHRM-CP Human Resources Business Partner

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