It’s hard to know for sure what hiring will look like throughout 2022, given all the unknowns with the economy and the pandemic. Yet, despite the supply chain and labor shortages suffered in 2021 and the ongoing variants of the COVID-19 virus, employers are feeling rather optimistic about hiring trends in 2022.
According to Monster’s 2022 Future of Work Report, 93% of employers said they are planning to hire throughout 2022, up 11% from 2021.
“Employers’ failure to hire in 2021 is putting more pressure on hiring in 2022,” says Fordham University economist Giacomo Santangelo. “We can’t have output without workers, and firms ran into that brick wall in 2020. Firms are having difficulty bringing those people back, and so the pressure is on them to get things up and running again.”
While we’ve come a long way since the early days of the pandemic, HR leaders and recruiters need to continue to adapt and adjust in 2022. Using Monster data and expert insights, here are five key hiring trends to anticipate, along with tips on how to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Candidates Will Return To The Labor Market
When it comes to recruitment and retention, employers had their work cut out for them in 2021 amid the labor shortages and the Great Resignation. With more companies planning to hire in 2022, it’s not surprising that increased competition remains a top concern.
However, there may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Experts are anticipating more candidates to not only return to the labor market throughout 2022, but then also stay put in their respective jobs.
From a recruitment standpoint, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the tight labor market may be loosening. For example, the BLS November jobs report showed that the unemployment rate continued to decline to 4.2%, while the labor force participation rate increased to 61.8%—the highest level since March 2020.
Santangelo believes this hiring trend will likely continue throughout 2022 for a number of reasons. He says, “Firms in 2022 are going to see workers desperate to return. Inflation is going to force them to go back to work as benefits run out, as the monies that the federal government has been distributing runs out, and as the value of that money deteriorates. I think all of these things are playing into where firms’ heads are at right now.”
TIP: Despite this anticipated return to work, Beth Herman, Monster Regional Sales Director, says employers will have to make more of an effort to attract and retain talent during 2022. She says, “Companies have to learn how to be far better at selling their company and their opportunity and really showing what’s in it for the candidate. Most people still put up the same dull, boring job ads—they just cut and paste the description. Instead, they need to think: how do I sell this opportunity at this company to the type of people I want to hire?
2. Flexibility In The Workplace Will Continue
According to the Future of Work Report, 62% of companies are planning to make the shift to hybrid or remote work during 2022. Many have found that flexible work options help retain talent, give them a recruiting edge, and have worked well amid the ongoing pandemic. This is good news because the report also shows that, among hiring trends, workplace flexibility is one of the top priorities for candidates when looking for jobs.
“I think it’s pretty clear in the short- to mid-term that we can be just as effective remotely as being in the office in terms of productivity and accountability,” says Scott Blumsack, Monster Senior Vice President and Global Head of Strategy.
“Employees have really come to value, and in many cases, expect flexibility and this shift to remote work. Both of these trends lead to an evolution in 2022, where yes, most likely we will go back to the office in some way, shape, or form as the year continues.”
One aspect to keep in mind when considering industries like manufacturing and retail, however, is that not every job can be done remotely. This has presented some challenges for recruiters who have struggled over the past year to find candidates willing to work onsite, where work schedules tend to be more rigid.
Blumsack says business leaders will need to find flexible solutions throughout 2022 in order to win candidates in those industries. “Really thinking creatively about what solutions you can provide, whether it is subsidies for childcare, onsite childcare, or having a flexible offering that aligns to the candidate’s needs is going to be critical,” he says.
TIP: Workers value flexibility in the workplace. Find ways to accommodate more workers’ schedules through flexible hours, remote or hybrid work, and child care solutions.
3. Candidates Will Continue To Prioritize Pay
When it comes to jobs, it’s no secret that money talks. With more and more workers realizing their worth and demanding fair wages, the topic of pay is one that has come up a lot over the past several months.
As a result, we’ve seen wages move up, up, up amid the ongoing labor shortages. According to the BLS November job report, average hourly earnings have increased by $1.07 since April 2021. Similarly, a November 2021 report by Paychex and IHS Markit showed that small businesses have increased hourly wages by $1.17 over a 12-month period.
Pay will still be top of mind for many during 2022. When it comes to attracting more candidates to your workforce, Ashraf believes increased pay transparency will be key.
“We encourage all of our customers to put a salary range or hourly wage range on their job postings at the very top of the job,” he says. “We actually ran a pilot program, and the company found that when they added a salary or an hourly wage at the top of their job description, they had a 30% increase in conversions from job views to applies.”
Keep in mind that wages alone won’t cut it. Monster’s Future of Work Report showed that other forms of compensation like healthcare and paid time off will also be necessary to attract and retain workers in today’s labor market.
“Companies are having to increase pay rates, offer better perks and benefits, and sometimes even offer signing bonuses,” says Danny Ashraf, Monster’s Director of Sales. “They’re having to do much more to attract and retain that type of talent.”
TIP: Candidates look for fair compensation, healthcare benefits, flexible work schedules, and paid time off when evaluating a company. Focus on those key elements in job descriptions and interviews to keep up with hiring trends and attract more candidates to your workforce.
4. Skills Will Matter More Than Experience
Between mass layoffs and the Great Resignation, today’s candidate likely doesn’t have a “perfect” resume with advanced degrees and five to 10 years of experience at the same company—and that’s OK. Given the current market conditions, we are seeing things that were once considered red flags like job-hopping and resume gaps becoming more acceptable.
This can, however, present some challenges for recruiters with laundry lists of expectations to fulfill. According to Monster’s Future of Work Report, finding qualified candidates is the most anticipated hiring challenge during 2022.
Herman believes that a better focus on skills will help recruiters source the right candidates. “Instead of looking for the perfect resume, let’s look for the skills and competencies that are needed to be successful in our environment,” she says.
“I think the majority of companies out there can and should be doing a much better job of interviewing candidates to really understand their skills, their competencies, and their expectations, and not just focus on the resume and what you did or didn’t do in the last job and how long you stayed there.”
Especially as certain industries continue to struggle after the mass layoffs suffered in 2020, Ashraf says that a better understanding of a candidate’s transferable skills, or skills that can be used in multiple career fields, will be key throughout 2022.
“The candidate pool and profile has changed, but the work hasn’t,” Ashraf says. “For instance, we most recently were on a call yesterday with a staffing firm that asked us to expand our search from just traditional warehousing candidates to retail and restaurant workers. They’re casting a broader net and going beyond just typical warehousing and logistics candidates.”
TIP: When it comes to talent acquisition, employers and recruiters should place greater emphasis on skills given recent hiring trends. Blumsack says, “One pivot that may benefit employers in 2022 is focusing on the skills that are really needed to do the job effectively and focusing less on those rigid requirements, whether they be past work experiences from a specific job title or specific education requirements.”
5. Next Gen Recruiters Will Embrace HR Tech and Diversity
It’s out with the old, and in with the new—Baby Boomers are retiring, and Millennials and Gen Z are taking up a larger share of the labor market. According to Gallup, these two generations combined make up 46% of the full-time workforce. As these younger digital natives, who, for the most part, grew up with a cellphone in their hand and the Internet at their fingertips, continue to permeate the labor market in 2022, methods of recruiting and job searching will become much more digitally savvy.
On the candidate side, we can expect to see more job searches being conducted on mobile devices. According to Monster’s Future of Work Report, about one in four candidates say they do most of their job searches on a mobile device and/or mobile app.
From the recruiter side, gone are the days of finding a single partner solution for all of your HR needs. Instead, we’re seeing a similar digital transformation in HR departments, along with greater usage of digital recruitment tools—especially with younger recruiters. Compared to Boomers, Monster’s Future of Work Report found that Millennial recruiters are more likely to leverage a broader set of tools, such as resume database search, social media, employer branding, and online candidate profiles.
Blumsack says, “I think this next generation of recruiters may operate more like marketers and really embrace a lot of the digital tools that are used in marketing to connect consumers to goods and services and take them to the next level by translating them into the world of recruiting to create better matches between candidates and employers and support the overall hiring process,” he says.
Having started their careers in the midst of a pandemic, we’re beginning to see Gen Z put more weight on skills and less emphasis on things like a candidate’s interview presence. Ashraf believes this hiring trend will ultimately lead to a more inclusive generation of recruiters. “The next generation is being more inclusive; they are being less discriminatory. They want to make decisions based on facts and not ‘gut feel,’” Ashraf says. “They’re basing decisions on actual skills, not based on what a candidate looks like, how they sound, or how they present themselves.”
TIP: Invest in digital recruitment tools like artificial intelligence, resume database search, social media job ads, and online candidate profiles to streamline the process of finding right-fit candidates.
Keep On Top of Hiring Trends Throughout 2022
Hiring the best candidates for your company can dramatically improve your productivity, employee engagement and retention, and ultimately, your success. Monster can help you navigate the job market’s many hiring trends, and much more, with our current Future of Work report. With free access to the analysis and resources you’ll need this year and next, you can make sure you’re getting the most from your hiring strategy.