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3 Key Workplace Trends in 2024 and How They Will Impact Job Seekers

Workplace trends 2024

Overview

If you’re a job seeker, you will always rely on certain job search tools and activities, no matter what. You will always maintain a great resume. You’ll never go wrong by networking and building relationships with colleagues and people in your chosen industry. And time spent engaging on LinkedIn, taking continuing education courses, or refreshing your interview preparation skills is never a waste.

But beyond polishing tools in your job search toolbox, you also need to think of the big picture. Consider how the current conditions of the world around you may impact your job search. What’s happening economically, politically, socially, technologically, and even within your own community which may affect your job search and career trajectory?

In this article, we’ll look at three workplace trends experts have identified for 2024, and we’ll consider how you might best adapt your job search strategies considering their impact.

Hiring Increase Slows

Economists and hiring experts agree we’ll see a continued increase in hiring, but it won’t be a huge increase. The slower rate of increase is due to two key factors—many workers staying put in their current roles due to economic uncertainty, and an increase in retirees returning to the workplace.

The first factor is nothing new, but the second factor is something workplace experts have noticed trending in recent years as baby boomers’ exodus from the workplace coincided with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace. In short, this combination created a bit of workplace chaos, leaving many key positions vacant, with leaders empty-handed and unprepared to fill the roles. Additionally, most new hires were Gen Z employees, many of whom lack essential soft skills.

Some retirees have recognized the opportunity to capitalize on employers’ desperate need to fill essential roles with trained, skilled, capable employees—and they know they fit the bill. Amy Glaser, senior vice president at Adecco, claims that many retirees return to the workplace to pursue personal fulfillment, achieve financial goals, and increase social and mental stimulation, too.

“We expect ‘Peak 65’—the phenomenon where Americans will turn age 65 more than any other time in recorded history—to take place in 2024. Every year, we’re seeing more of a multigenerational workforce. In each generation, we’re seeing a similar demand in part-time roles to match the desire for greater flexibility and work-life balance,” Glaser notes.

Takeaway for Job Seekers

The great news for more seasoned job seekers? The tide has turned in your favor. Gone are the days when employers rampantly practiced age discrimination, preferring to hire recent graduates in order to pay less and demand more. Employers now understand the value more experienced workers bring to the workplace, and many of them are now willing to pay more for it, too.

If you have years of work experience, tout it on your resume. Share your experience proudly (without bragging, of course) during job interviews. Don’t be afraid to discuss ways you’ve solved problems, contributed to leading teams, and forged ahead with helping increase productivity.

In addition, if you want to return to the workplace post-retirement, but you really prefer a flexible, part-time, remote role, ask for it. With your years of experience and strong skill set, you hold a powerful hand of cards and can negotiate what you want more easily than ever before.

Employee Experience Becomes Key Focal Point

Over the past few years, talent acquisition and human resources professionals have watched the emphasis on employee experience steadily overshadow other focal points in the workplace. In 2024, many employers will home in on the employee experience more than ever, putting their money where their mouth is. More than ever, funding for professional development, wellness initiatives, upskilling, career coaching, mentorship programs, learning and development, and other training needs will significantly increase.

In a recent article by ADP on HR trends to follow in 2024, accounting for critical components of the employee experience, HR vendors shared that more than 20 percent of organizations increasing HR technology spending in 2024 are focusing on rewards and recognition programs and wellness technology. In part, the increased spending on HR technology addresses the need to provide training and learning and development opportunities for all employees, including remote and hybrid workers.

Employers are not only increasing spending because they recognize the need to focus on wellness, rewards, and recognition; they’re increasing spending on upskilling, training, and coaching because they understand that skills may be the secret to the labor shortage. Employers often feel baffled, noting there are more than 6.3 million unemployed workers, yet they face difficulty filling even the most basic entry-level roles. Employers are coming to terms with the notion that instead of looking for people with ready-made skill sets, they may have to build the desired skill sets after hiring employees.

According to the ADP Research Institute, management skills and people skills are the most needed skills in the workplace. Deb Hughes, ADP’s senior vice president of HR and change and communications, believes “soft skills are also often undervalued in the workplace, despite their crucial role in building connections and fostering empathy.” She states, “Companies that prioritize, amplify, and develop these skills in their workers will be the ones that thrive.”

Takeaway for Job Seekers

If you have excellent soft skills, showcase these skills on your resume, in your cover letter, during your job interview, and during all interactions with employers.

If you lack strong soft skills or the specific hard skill set needed to do the job, don’t be afraid to apply anyway. Many employers are desperate to fill vital roles, and they may be willing to train you in specific areas after you’ve been hired if you demonstrate a willingness to learn and commitment to the process.

While you look for your next job, practice your soft skills in your daily life. Communicate with others regularly face-to-face. Volunteer in your community. Refuse to spend excess time online. The more you practice soft skills, the stronger they become.

Employers Offer Fewer Incentives

During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers seemed panicked about hiring and retaining employees. They dangled countless flashy, attractive carrots in front of job seekers and candidates. Employers offered sign-on bonuses, significant salary increases, internal promotions, title changes, and great flexibility options.

Employers will likely no longer dangle these carrots in front of candidates and employees in 2024. In fact, many employers will focus on retaining their current workforce and avoid layoffs in the face of inflation and economic downturn. Some employers will certainly offer modest salary increases and bonuses, but they will be more moderate than what we have seen in recent years.

Takeaway for Job Seekers

All hope is not lost if you had planned to approach your supervisor to ask for a raise or seek a promotion in 2024. However, you need to be smart, strategic, and thoughtful about it. Most importantly, consider a long-game approach and continue to invest your best self in workplace relationships and projects, which is always the best approach to achieving true career success and fulfillment.Need more help in polishing your job search tools as you kick off 2024? Be sure to visit Lensa Insights.

Bethany Wallace
Bethany Wallace
Bethany Wallace partners with mission-minded organizations to build better workplaces through soft skills solutions. Bethany aids leaders in strengthening workplace relationships through communications consulting, training, executive coaching, keynote presentations, & career coaching. Bethany enjoys presenting research at conferences and contributes regularly to major publications & recognized podcasts, including Glassdoor, College Recruiter, Zip Recruiter, Jobscan, FlexJobs, the New York Daily News, BusinessTech, Human Resources Online, Life After Teaching, Love Your Story, The Conversation Guy (10 Minute Mindset), Everyday People Podcast, The Success Chronicles, and more.

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