Here Are 5 Employment Trends for 2023

Benefits will play a major role in recruitment and retention, while mental health and wellness cannot be forgotten.

January 05, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The American workforce has had to quickly adapt to socioeconomic shifts as a result of the pandemic, according to Robert Boersma, vice president, operations at North America at Boersma writes in Fast Company that workers and their companies are determining what the “new normal” looks like and how to integrate pandemic-learned behaviors and activities into a post-pandemic world.

Here are five employment trends Boersma predicts for 2023.

Upskilling and developing soft skills will take center stage. “As we move into the New Year with economic uncertainty on the horizon, upskilling opportunities for the workforce will become a prominent retention strategy, demonstrating an organization’s desire to drive employee growth and development,” he writes.

Amid a tight labor market, offering employees, as well as job candidates, the opportunity to develop and learn new skills will allow employers to remain competitive in the market. Boersma says that interpersonal communication, decision-making, time management and collaboration are particularly valuable soft skills in the workforce.

Hybrid work environments will continue to be favored. Workplace flexibility is at its most valued, as workers don’t see the need to be at their desk five days a week after experiencing the ability to work remotely.

“With the world returning back to “normal” after two years at home, employees are not ready to completely give up the elements that have dramatically improved their quality of life in favor of returning to the office five days a week,” writes Boersma.

In response, many companies are offering their workers hybrid work options to satisfy workers’ desire for remote work while balancing the benefits of in-person facetime and collaboration in the office. Workplaces that are not flexible are a dealbreaker for many people, according to Boersma.

However, he cautions against tactics that seek to measure employees’ productivity outside of the office, such as hour tracking and monitoring software.

“These measures may negatively impact trust levels within the workplace. It is very important for employers to work collaboratively and be transparent with their teams and to maintain a sense of trust,” he writes.

Benefits will play a larger role in recruitment strategies. Nearly 60% of job seekers in the U.S. say benefits are an important element when looking for a job, second only to salary, according to a survey.

“With the continued talent crunch in the labor market, many organizations will turn to implementing more comprehensive and attractive benefit packages to attract and retain top talent. Non-traditional benefits such as access to fertility treatments, financial wellness programs, and pet insurance won’t be uncommon benefits in the year ahead. In fact, they are already highly sought after by Americans,” writes Boersma.

Pay transparency will continue to gain momentum. This is the future of work, according to Boersma, and New York City, Colorado and California already have pay transparency laws that require companies to state salary ranges in job postings.

Another survey found that nearly 35% of jobseekers experienced pay discrimination, and over 50% of those who did were women.

“Pay discrimination is an issue that has plagued the employment sector for far too long, and enacting salary transparency can help address the situation,” he writes.

A benefit of engaging in salary transparency is the increased quality of applications.

“When job seekers are able to ensure both the qualifications and compensation of a role fit what they are looking for, the best workers will self-sort accordingly. Providing a good-faith salary range—not too wide of a range—can also act as a powerful brand statement and build positive sentiment among applicants,” writes Boersma.

Economic uncertainty will create the need for a renewed focus on mental health. With a recession likely looming and continued news of layoffs at major corporations, employees are concerned about their own future at their current companies. Also, the pandemic allowed for important conversations surrounding mental health and wellness to be had inside and outside the workplace.

“Although we have moved past the pandemic, now is not the time to move backward on the tremendous progress made that allowed employees to be open about their mental health struggles,” writes Boersma.

It’s now the time for employers to take the responsibility to recognize any negative impacts to employee mental health and provide them with ongoing access to resources, he says.

“In conclusion, the state of the modern workplace is continuing to adapt before us, and it’s necessary to keep up with its changes. Keeping these six trends in mind over the next year will set employers and employees up for success, providing organizations and individuals with the opportunity to thrive in a post-pandemic workforce,” writes Boersma.