(Written by Mark Whitaker – Director, Harper Stephenson Search)
Today marks the first day back to work for many people after the holiday break, and it can be challenging to get back into the routine. While some may be energized and ready to tackle the new year, others may find the first week back to be difficult. There are many predictions, tips, and insights being shared in the media about various topics, including talent and recruitment. Here are some of my own insights, tips, and predictions on what to expect from a talent and recruitment perspective 🙂
Slowing Growth in Europe and the US, But Not Everywhere
The challenges facing the world economy, such as inflation, rising cost of living, and supply chain disruptions, have been well-documented and have contributed to economic downturns, job losses, and other negative impacts. While 2023 is expected to bring more challenges, some markets will continue to grow. In particular, skills in areas like AI, data analytics, and machine learning are still in high demand and are expected to continue growing. It is important to note that economic slowdowns are not evenly distributed across regions; while Europe and the US may struggle, the MENA and Asia/Pacific regions are likely to perform better. For example, the MENA region is experiencing strong growth in digital and eCommerce, offering good opportunities. Agile companies may be able to pivot their operations to focus more on these growing areas and offset any lack of growth in other areas. We hope that, particularly in the second half of 2023, the markets in Europe and the US will start to look towards better times and bring back some positivity.
Companies Promoting the Return to the Office
During the pandemic, the way we work changed significantly. Many workers found they could have more flexibility in balancing their personal and work time, and some companies discovered they could operate effectively in this new reality. However, in 2022, some tech companies have started to bring their team members back to the office, citing reasons such as increased collaboration, team building, and better learning opportunities for junior team members. It is likely that this trend will continue in 2023 as companies try to mitigate economic challenges. While greater flexibility has benefits, particularly for working parents, being in the office can also facilitate collaboration and training. As we move into 2023, companies that can adopt a flexible approach and allow team members to have flexibility when possible will be able to keep their team members engaged and happy while also maintaining the benefits of being in the office.
Shift in the Candidate-Driven Market
During 2021 and 2022, there was high demand for talent, leading to intense competition among companies to attract and retain key team members. Some companies offered generous pay raises, remote work flexibility, and other incentives to attract top talent. As economic uncertainty grew throughout 2022, many companies faced lay offs. This trend could well unfortunately continue, especially in the first half of 2023, as companies face more economic uncertainty. However, the impact of this trend will not be uniform or universal. Some companies may find more candidates available in specific areas where they previously struggled to recruit, while top talent with a track record of success will still be difficult to find in certain niche specialisms or regions. From a recruitment standpoint, companies that have a strong strategy for targeting top performers in their industry and market who are not actively seeking new roles will be more likely to drive long term growth.
What’s in Store for the Future?
It is difficult to make predictions, especially given the unexpected events of the past few years. However, as we move into the second half of 2023, it is hoped that we will have more confidence in regards to inflation and the economic outlook. As companies become more optimistic about the future, we should see a move back to economic growth. In certain regions such as the MENA and Asia/Pacific, this growth is already underway and is expected to continue, particularly in the digital and technology industries. Within the digital and technology space, there is expected to be increased demand for expertise in areas such as data analytics, Web3 technologies, and AI/machine learning. These developments may lead to the emergence of new job types and create niche opportunities for specialists in sectors such as finance and healthcare. While many companies are returning to in-office work, those that are able to adopt a flexible approach will likely be more successful in attracting and retaining top talent. A flexible approach presents challenges for HR and senior management, but it also offers the best opportunity to attract and retain the best performers.
Wishing you success in 2023!