Early economic projections of low unemployment, as well as the requirement for more flexible work arrangements, will be driving the employment trends seen in 2022.
In the December 2021’s Economic Projection Report, The U.S. Federal Reserve is predicting the unemployment rate to go down to 3.5% this year, causing an already tight labor market to get even more constricted.
Adding to this challenge is the Great Resignation movement. An unprecedented trend where a monthly average of 4.26 million U.S. workers voluntarily quit their jobs since July 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)
Studies have shown that the driving factors of these mass resignations include an abundance of job openings, lack of childcare (mostly for women), and, in the most recent survey conducted by the U.S. Census, the threat of rising COVID cases.
Remote work is also among the factors that are propelling the 2022 employment trends. The Work-From-Home pivot during the early stages of the pandemic will be a mainstay policy among 9 out of 10 employers to recruit and retain high-skilled workers. These workforce changes are backed by a study conducted by Microsoft and LinkedIn that stated, among the 33,000 global workers they surveyed, 73% reportedly want flexible remote work to stay.
With these labor conditions, we expect the following employment trends to take place in 2022:
DEMAND FOR ROBOTS WILL GO UP
Due to talent shortage and difficulty in hiring workers in service-based industries, demand for automated equipment for those industries will go up. Out of the 4.5 million people who resigned in November, 1 million were in the Leisure and Hospitality sector. According to a study made by Meticulous Research, the Food Automation Market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.5% from 2020, to reach $29.4 billion by 2027.
The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2026, the rising demand for automation, in general, will result in a net increase of 58 million U.S. jobs. The skills that will be the most attractive are engineers who specialize in robotics, machine learning, and AI.
CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE WILL BE CRITICAL IN RECRUITING
Jerome Ternynck, CEO of recruiting software SmartRecruiters said, “Companies are realizing that recruiting is a sales and marketing function and that hiring success, the ability to hire amazing talent at scale, is business success. They put more marketing skills into the talent attraction function.”
With over 10 million open jobs, there are no shortages of options out there for workers who are looking for new positions. Due to this competitive recruiting environment, employers struggle in keeping job seekers engaged throughout the interview process. Job seekers primarily cite lower offered salary, inflexibility in work location, or loss of interest due to long response time in between interviews as reasons why they drop out of the interview process.
To remain competitive, employers must provide better communication and transparency in salary offerings, work from home and hybrid flexibility, and provide a faster, more efficient hiring timeline.
HIRING BONUSES WILL BE MORE PREVALENT
In PwC’s Future of Work Report, 67% of the workers who participated said they are planning to look for a new job while the market is hot, and among these would-be job seekers, 40% cited seeking higher wages as their reason for wanting to make a move.
Given that this is a hot talent market, employers are not only offering higher salaries but more and more are also enticing top candidates with sign-on bonuses. Among the 957 executives who participated in WorldatWork’s 2021 “Bonus Programs and Practices” survey, 79% said they have provided sign-on bonuses to new hires. Using current job advertisements data, The Conference Board noted that job postings with sign-on bonuses as part of the description have more than doubled since October 2021. A trend that is expected to be carried through 2022.
MORE PEOPLE WANT TO FREELANCE… BUT AB-5 RESTRICTIONS CAN CAUSE ROADBLOCKS IN CALIFORNIA
According to freelancing website Upwork, 59 million Americans performed freelance work in 2020, making up 36% of the U.S. workforce and generating a $1.2 trillion economy. By 2028, the freelancing population is estimated to grow to 90.1 million.
Since California implemented the AB-5 Independent Contractor Law in January 2020, it has been difficult for employers to engage with freelancers or gig workers who can provide supplemental support to their businesses. AB-5 uses an ABC Test to classify independent contractors – but Prong B, which states “The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business”, is problematic for freelance workers who wish to engage with businesses that provide the same line of services.
Recent updates to AB-5 include the passage of Prop 22 which exempted app-based drivers (such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc.) from the ABC Test, and the enactment of AB 2257 that added freelance journalism and creative professionals to the exempt professions.
These updates don’t apply to typical high skilled consultants. For example, if companies with full-time engineers outsource CAD projects to freelance mechanical designers, they are still unable to bring them in as independent contractors.
MORE CONTINGENT WORKERS IN THE WORKFORCE
An established staffing firm can help alleviate the challenges that come with a super competitive, tight labor market. Staffing agencies can engage with freelancers on a project basis while staying in compliance with AB-5’s stipulations by bringing them as contingent W-2 workers. They can also provide recruitment assistance, salary negotiations, and the technical resources needed to onboard remote workers.
SoloPoint Solutions is currently seeing an uptick in hiring for mechanical, electrical, and manufacturing engineers as more businesses are expecting to fulfill production demands in 2022. Our engineering recruitment services are built to support companies who need to fill in hiring gaps – especially in a tight labor market – to allow them to focus on core business operations. To learn more about our recruitment services, contact us today: