There were several moments throughout the past year when the experts predicted that things would soon be back to normal. Remember early in the summer, when it looked like the pandemic was starting to fade, or the fall, when the demand for office space was increasing every month?
It turned out that 2021 had different plans.
Those of us who’ve been closely watching the job market knew that there wasn’t any chance that we’d go back to normal. A new normal had already been established, one where companies had to quickly adapt to changes in the market and adjust their expectations about how quickly they could fill crucial positions. Workers have realized that there are so many available jobs that they can wait to find one that’s the best fit for what they need and what is important to them.
Here at Averity, we’ve noticed several trends over the course of the year. They focus on where we’ll be working, how we’ll find top talent, and what matters most to the people looking for jobs. We wanted to share a few of these insights as you look ahead to 2022.
1. Remote is the new normal
Companies that require their employees to come into the office five days a week are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to finding top tech talent. A hybrid model that lets employees split their time between the office and home is better, but even that won’t get you access to the best people.
A just-released report from McKinsey & Company found that more than two-thirds of the work in the tech sector can be done remotely without any loss of productivity. That’s not news for tech professionals, who have maintained that their productivity has increased during the months they have been working from home. They have made it clear that they don’t want to return to the office. Averity’s own research has shown that one of the main reasons tech professionals quit their jobs is a mandatory return to the office.
Although hybrid models seem to be gaining traction, employees have pushed back hard against corporations like Apple who have announced plans to bring employees back into the office a few days a week. Many professionals have moved away from where their companies are located and have no interest in returning.
The upshot: If you want to keep your best employees and attract the best ones that are currently on the job market, find ways to let them work remotely.
2. It’s a candidate’s market
Demand for top tech talent is at an all-time high. That’s great news for people in the job market, especially those with skills like Data Engineering, DevOps, and Software Engineering, to name a few. Great engineers literally have their pick among hundreds of positions in their field.
It’s not such good news for employers, who are scrambling to find credible candidates. They are being forced to offer salaries that are significantly higher than a year or two ago. That means that — don’t kill the messenger — engineers that were hired at $160,000 before the pandemic are now routinely getting more than $190,000.
Smart employers are starting to cast a wider net, especially with entry-level/junior level staffers. They know that if a candidate has the right “soft skills” — things like creative thinking, problem solving, intellectual curiosity and effective communication — they are likely to be a good addition to the team. You can teach someone the technical aspects of a job. It’s harder to instill intellectual curiosity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to work with others.
The upshot: First and foremost, hire great team members. Don’t focus on finding the right person for the job — find the right job for the person.
3. Brand matters more than you think
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that money is the only thing on the minds of those in this job market (which is almost everyone). At Averity, applicants are telling us that they are waiting to find the right fit. A recent report revealed that 9 out of 10 people are willing to accept a lower salary to do work that they believe in.
People want to work for companies they can relate to. They are looking for corporate values that align with their own. We aren’t seeing nearly as much interest in massive corporations that are in the news for bad business practices or for exploiting their customers. Putting it simply, people want to work for places where they can do some good in the world.
We recently placed a candidate who had gotten offers from eight prominent tech companies. He decided to accept a job with the company he chose because he appreciated the company’s reputation and felt he could have organizational impact there.
The upshot: Get the word out about your company culture, values, and vision. Everyone on your team should be able to talk about not just what you do, but what you believe in.
4. Relationships are more important than transactions
Relationships have always been important, but right now they’re crucial. People want to be in business with someone that they trust. That means that when a key position is open in their company, they are going to go to their relationship base first.
With the current shortage of top-level candidates, Averity has been fortunate enough to receive referrals for some amazingly talented people. These are the types of candidates who aren’t interested in throwing their resume into a pile with dozens of others and don’t necessarily have LinkedIn profiles. We have been able to match them up with companies where they can continue to grow their careers.
We’re getting these referrals because we’ve never stopped building relationships with the people we work with, whether it’s the hiring manager at a major tech company or an engineer looking to take the next step in their career. The simple formula here is relationships > transitions.
The upshot: Your own network is likely to bring the best candidates to your door.
Here’s a final thought: People hire people. That still rings true in today’s market. Companies that put the needs of their people first and provide them with what they need to do their jobs well are going to be the ones who will be able to attract the best new employees in 2022.