The majority of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 saw notably low hiring rates due to the pandemic. Job postings and hirings were significantly down, and hiring managers, companies, and workers were all directly impacted. Employers and analysts alike were relatively unsure of what to expect in the second quarter of 2021, predicting that hiring numbers would steadily increase, but that the number of job postings would increase faster. And with these predictions having proven to be true – with job postings outnumbering hiring and the active labor workforce percentages stagnating – it’s clear that the pandemic has caused several priority and perspective shifts for both employees and employers.
For many, staying home for the past year and a half has led to personal reflections about life choices, lifestyle, wellbeing, and priorities. Working in a profession that doesn’t align with career aspirations started seeming more optional for some employees. With so many people reflecting on their careers, many started researching next career steps.
Currently, psychologists are likening our processing of the pandemic to the stages of grief, suggesting that we’ve arrived at the sixth stage – coined by David Kessler – searching for meaning and purpose. Workers are listening to their passions and are reorienting themselves to find work they see as meaningful. This is a result of a range of factors, including the widespread layoffs throughout 2020 and unsafe work conditions that made people feel undervalued.
With that being said, the job market is currently in a unique situation. Between ample hiring opportunities and an ongoing competition for talent, workers can take advantage of the employee driven market.
A Shift in Hiring Rates and Processes
2020 saw markedly low hiring rates, as companies aimed to survive the economic woes of the pandemic through layoffs and cost reductions. Though remote work provided many with a source of stability, the initial transition was both tumultuous and unpredictable. Currently though, remote work has become a staple of the present-day workplace. Employers are having to adjust their workforce structure and talent acquisition processes to accommodate the change in the work landscape.
As of May 2021, talent acquisition rates have started increasing, seemingly reflecting an uptick in the economy. However, many workers have remained patient and complacent as they figure out the next step in their careers. Employers and analysts are worried about the immediate implications of the Great Resignation – a wave of resignations predicted to occur during the summer. Bracing for the impact of mass resignations has meant refocusing aspects of pre-established hiring processes. Updating location strategies, revamping talent outreach, and finding meaningful ways to connect with candidates’ passions and values has become paramount.
Priorities and Perspectives Post-Pandemic
Employees are more focused than ever on finding jobs that feel meaningful, align with their values and career aspirations, and create career agility. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders facilitated widespread deliberation, leading many of us to ask ourselves – is what I’m doing with my life really worth it? Answering this question has come in multiple parts: understanding the security and stability jobs offer us, realizing the importance of social responsibility in workplace contexts, and identifying opportunities that give us purpose.
Employers feel they are both unable to find highly skilled talent and unable to find enough candidates for job opportunities. This temporary trend in the job market presents candidates with a chance to find a new role that perfectly fits their experience, or to reskill and start a new career in a burgeoning or newly developing industry.
Alongside this trend in the job market, the growing number of DE&I initiatives offers talent new opportunities to apply their skillsets in different contexts. Fast-growing industries are continuously looking for individuals with unique skill sets and experience. For example, employers with rising STEM roles like digital designers, product managers, software developers, and automation management are all seeking versatile individuals who can learn the relevant, necessary skills and knowledge without obtaining a relevant STEM degree.
The Aftermath of the Great Resignation
Though the period of the great resignation has not yet come to an end, the sentiment behind the potential wave of resignations reflects a clear shift in the minds of employers and employees alike. Employers are now much more focused on the employee experience, ensuring that employees’ needs are met for mental and physical wellbeing. Employees, on the other hand, are committed to finding careers that make their lives feel more fulfilling daily.
Employees and employers are both focused on optimization of experience, performance, and connection to company culture. Now more than ever, finding the ideal fit for a role will guarantee an organization’s success. Companies’ understanding of the crucial role employees’ play in overall performance is now being reflected in new hiring processes, company culture, and best practices. This newly developing perspective, alongside the current trends of the job market, presents candidates with a variety of job opportunities to take advantage of – whether that be a change in profession or the next step in your career.
Want to learn more about how you can take advantage of the job market and find an opportunity that will fulfill your career aspirations? At AppleOne, we have the dedicated teams, connections, and experience to ensure you find your ideal role. If you’re looking to make a career change, AppleOne can provide you with a top-notch resume and interviewing skills that demonstrate the high value of your skillset.