As we enter 2014, here are my thoughts and predictions about employment and workplace trends:
- It will be a candidate driven marketplace. For the first time in nearly a decade, 2014 will be a candidate driven marketplace. According to Dice Holdings, Inc., 55% of hiring managers are planning to hire more staff in Q1 and Q2 than in the second half of 2013. Top performers and highly skilled workers will be in greater demand and have bargaining power. Therefore, companies that can engage and attract them will win out. While there will still be unemployment in places, economists are feeling a little more upbeat about a recovery in the 2014 job market.
- Employers need to address their leadership shortage. Executives all the way up to the CEO are expressing concern about a leadership shortage in the U.S. and that the shortage will hinder business growth. Expect companies to pursue international leaders at a greater rate. Companies want professionals with global exposure, top skills, management experience, corporate acumen and cultural understanding.
- Talent acquisition & retention programs will expand. In 2014, we can expect companies to find new ways to continuously and aggressively recruit and network to expand their talent pool. Even if they are not immediately hiring, companies want to have a talent pipeline to star performers. At the same time, employers will devote large chunks of time and money to expanding their retention efforts in order to avoid a mass exodus.
- The focus will be on coachability. While 2014 may be a candidate driven marketplace, it’s no secret that employers expect more from today’s candidates. They want candidates who are skilled, likeable, employable and “coachable” while at the same time fitting the company culture. Being coachable reaps many organizational benefits including higher motivation, better performance, improved knowledge and commitment to change.
- Companies must improve their use of social media and mobile technologies. Social networks and mobile technologies are constantly changing and companies will have to keep pace. Social media is no longer just a marketing or personal tool. It has become integral to employee communication, recognition, education, etc. Mobile devices have become central to our professional lives as well. Through both social media and mobile recruiting, hiring managers can reach out to prospective talent through a variety of platforms and mobile devices. It is a very effective way for hiring managers to keep in touch with job seekers anytime and anywhere.
- Employers must span their generation gaps. Four generations are working in many organizations right now, and they all have different ways of working. This will force companies to put into place practices that help manage generational issues and conflicts. The younger generation is creating the most challenges with their distinct values and “must haves” including flexible work hours and work-life balance, mentoring and personal development needs, and expectations of rapid career progression. Hiring managers need to find ways to deal with all generations in order to retain them.
- The contingent workforce will grow. Studies predict that the workforce will become even more contingent over the next few years. There are already signs that this is happening with a rise in temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers. The dynamics of business are changing so rapidly these days that many employers find they need to be agile and adaptable. Contingency is attractive because work is becoming more knowledge and project-based, and increasingly reliant on specialized skills and expertise. Although contingent workers bring benefits, they will also pose challenges in terms of how they are managed, compensated, and treated.