The labor force is constantly evolving, but the past several years have brought new and unexpected shifts in economic uncertainty, labor force dynamics and new modes of working. It isn’t growing, just a different mix. As the workforce continues to change, employers looking to grow and attract top talent should keep the following trends in mind.
COVID-era flexibilities remain
The way we work is vastly different today than it was before 2020. Post-COVID hybrid and remote work abilities have opened employment opportunities more broadly, bringing untapped talent into hiring pools and offering access to more socioeconomically diverse workers. Work is an activity, rather than a location. Employers that are growing with their workforce are taking time now to look at the requirements for roles at their companies and determining if commuting to an office or spending some or all days of the week in-person are essential. The key is to strike the appropriate balance.
Skillset value on the rise
For decades, college degrees have been used as a proxy to determine a job candidate’s ambition, drive and intellect. In a talent deficit environment and amid rising costs for higher education, the next generation of workers is evaluating education against work experience to determine if it can showcase underlying skills. As employers slowly broaden their qualifications for hiring based on experience and skill, hiring managers must change their mentality and acknowledge this different approach and the value it can bring. How? By ensuring resume reviews and interview questions target skills-based analysis rather than isolating a crop of candidates just by their academic credentials.
Changing recruitment mindset
Employer loyalty is another area where recent generations’ mindsets have shifted. While experienced professionals — workers that are part of the Baby Boomer generation, for instance — may have worked for the same employer straight out of college for many years, this career path is less common today. Millennial and Gen Z workers are digitally native generations that have lived through chaotic market events including multiple recessions, the mortgage meltdown, and a global pandemic and are accustomed to this lack of certainty. As an employer, the ability to promise a job long-term and expect reciprocal long-term employment is no longer valued at the same level as past generations. Employers with this mindset are working out ways to better honor and reward workers’ real-time experience.
Employers’ recruitment mindset must also adapt to these new and future generations of workers. Employers and recruiters should understand that recruitment efforts are not a one-time occurrence and create a long-term recruiting mentality with Gen Z workers. For this generation, careers are a journey during which they are continually searching for their next experience. It’s critical for leaders to think about what the workforce really cares about — both within the business and within the community — and continue to re-recruit these employees on an ongoing basis.
To that end, connectedness for employees in remote and hybrid environments looks different than it does when everyone is in the same location. It’s particularly important for employers to drive a sense of belonging in the multitude of work environments that exist, and this requires intentional focus and effort.
Transparency is the new norm
With the rise of social media and workplace-specific platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, younger generations now expect transparency from employers. Companies’ compensation practices are no longer completely confidential – some states are requiring employers to publish the expected pay range for any job they post online. Workers who are new to the industry have learned that knowledge and transparency can shape their financial well-being in the long term. Employers who seek to successfully grow with future generations will recognize this different position and become more open about their employment practices during negotiations.
Well-rounded benefits attract workers
Employees today expect a more well-rounded approach to their work life, particularly after the pandemic highlighted the sheer amounts of job-related stress and imbalance that had become the norm. Workers’ expectations of workplace benefits go beyond standard healthcare coverage, workers’ compensation plans and paid time off — and this is especially true for the younger generations. In fact, younger generations will begin to see well-rounded benefits packages, including metal health benefits, as a job differentiator. Employers need to balance benefits to holistically address workers’ physical, emotional and financial well-being.
A culture of caring unites these new ways of thinking about engaging the workforce. Employers successfully evolving with the workforce understand that workers who are new to the industry want to contribute to a larger purpose and help create a culture of support within their organization. A recent study showed that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a top area of interest. And for many workers, companies that have an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy in place, alongside a commitment to corporate giving and community engagement rank even higher.
Companies that commit themselves to adapting with the evolving labor force have every reason to succeed at attracting and retaining workers. To learn more about Sedgwick, our caring counts approach and our available career opportunities, visit www.sedgwick.com/careers.