Monster Poll: What candidates are expecting in 2023

From new jobs to salary expectations, here’s what the latest Monster data shows.

A recruiter conducts an effective applicant screening process.

This could be a good year for companies seeking new talent: Nearly everyone (96%) in a new Monster poll said they’re currently looking or plan to look for a job in 2023.

Why jump jobs? Many are on the hunt because they need a higher income (40%), they’re unemployed (40%), or there’s no room for growth in their current role (34%).

“Everybody is thinking about making changes,” says Jill Santopietro Panall, owner and chief consultant of 21Oak HR Consulting. “It’s resolution time, and as we get into the fourth year of the pandemic, I think people are just worn out. If you’ve been in a job you feel didn’t support you along the way, you’re really jonesing to get out now.”

Here’s what Monster heard from 2023 job seekers:

Workers are ready for a change

The vast majority of employees want out — and experts aren’t surprised, particularly given the lack of mobility during the pandemic.

“A lot of companies have put all their training, learning and development on hold for the last couple of years,” says Todd Cherches, CEO and co-founder of executive coaching firm BigBlueGumball. “Even within companies, a lot of times people haven’t had promotions or raises in a long time. Everyone put their lives on hold for two years and all of a sudden, the floodgates have opened.”

Bad bosses are losing workers

Of respondents looking for a new career, a quarter (26%) want to make a move due to a toxic workplace. “I’m surprised it’s so low,” Cherches says. This is particularly true, he says, now that more people work remotely.

“If you’re working from home, that toxicity permeates your home,” he says. “And the whole hybrid thing is really challenging. When everyone was in the office that was one thing. Now there’s complete chaos.”

Panall also finds that number lower than expected. “I think there are a lot of places that are running off a very outdated model,” she says.

Job seekers are nervous about finding a new job

Monster found that two-thirds (66%) of respondents think it will be difficult to find a new job in 2023 due to the state of the economy. But job seeker struggles will likely vary by industry. Consider that Amazon recently announced it was laying off 18,000 workers, while a Seattle aircraft manufacturing plant made the news for its pivot to hire workers with criminal records due to a labor shortage.

“A lot of skills have become obsolete where there are new skills that are needed out there,” Cherches says. “The Great Reshuffling is a great analogy. The deck is being reshuffled.”

Workers are expecting more money

Not quite half (45%) of respondents expect a higher salary due to inflation and the increased cost of living. Experts think this may be optimism at work.

“I think it’s more hoping and wishing for a higher salary, but companies are being hit by inflation too,” Cherches says. “So even though prices are going up, it’s not like profits are universally going up. I think that might not be a realistic expectation.”

That said, with so many employees looking to leave because of salary concerns and so many companies looking for good talent, it’s smart for companies to find ways to make themselves attractive. “They shouldn’t get complacent,” says Monster career expert Vicki Salemi. “They still need to be prepared to be focused on their marketing. Because even though job seekers may feel they’re unemployed so they need to accept a job offer, as soon as the industry picks up hiring again, they may leave.”

Seekers worry about job hopping and resume gaps

When respondents were asked to identify resume red flags for recruiters, they pointed to job hopping (56%) and gaps on a resume (54%). In many cases though, the pandemic has made it easier for employers to make peace with both things.

“I’m not as concerned about job hopping as long as I can see the growth and progress I want to see,” Panall says. “I’m more concerned by someone who’s had a bunch of very short jobs of the same level for years in a row, versus someone who was like, ‘I was here for a couple of years and then I moved to another place where I had a higher title.’”

Salemi, a former corporate recruiter, concurs — neither item is a red flag as long as there’s a good explanation to go along with it. “Employers should not just skip over it,” she says. “That should be one of the first things they ask about.”