2018 was a difficult year for hiring, and 2019 is shaping up to be just as challenging. Earlier this year, the job market crossed the threshold into having more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them. Job seekers had more options than ever, which meant they also had the power to be a little more choosy with their next job opportunities. There were several consequences to this tight labor market – we saw a rising trend in candidates ghosting on interviews, and we also saw the growing importance of maintaining a solid candidate experience.
It’s likely that 2019 will continue to be a candidate’s market. According to a survey we put out earlier this year, hiring demand is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, we found that employers planned to increase their hiring volume by 2.3% from 2018 to 2019. With continued job growth on the horizon, the competitive race for great candidates is showing no signs of slowing down.
How employers will contend with these continued challenges remains to be seen, but here are some of the biggest hiring trends we expect to come out of 2019.
1. Wages Will Finally See Real Growth
For a long time, wages had been stagnant despite the falling unemployment rate. But this pattern was bound to break at some point, and we’re already seeing signs of that in the tail end of 2018. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that wage growth is now the highest it’s been since 2009, and we predict that this trend will continue into 2019 if employers want to attract the best candidates.
While today’s job seekers prioritize a lot of factors when choosing their next job, from flexible work hours to career development opportunities, money still is (and quite frankly will always be) a major priority. According to data from Glassdoor, pay is a top motivator for 67% of job seekers. So if your organization is struggling to attract top talent, joining the wage growth trend is one place to start.
2. More Companies Will Offer Flexible Hours
Work-life balance is increasingly important to today’s job seeker, especially for millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce. One way to accommodate this is by offering more flexible work hours whenever possible. This can also translate into opportunities to work from home, which interests 75% of millennials. Flexibility in work hours enables your employees to have kids, pets, and hobbies outside of work. Making it easier for your employees to manage their personal lives frees them up to be refreshed and focused when they are in work mode.
3. Diversity Initiatives will Evolve
Diversity in hiring isn’t a new trend by any means: 78% of companies already prioritize diversity as a hiring initiative, and we don’t expect this to slow down. We do, however, expect companies to start using different strategies for attracting and hiring a diverse workforce.
If we’ve learned anything from 2018, it’s that there’s no simple fix for improving diversity. Take Amazon’s high-profile snafu of 2018, when they created a hiring tool using artificial intelligence, but it backfired. Their AI tool started to discriminate against women. While it was designed to automate the hiring process and to make it easier to objectively identify top talent, the AI tool became more biased than any reasonable person would ever be.
This doesn’t mean that AI and automation can’t work in the hiring process. Technology certainly has the potential to make the hiring process more equitable and objective. It just needs to be undertaken with care. And 2018 demonstrated how much more work needs to be done to find the right hiring tools that enable companies to hire the most diverse, talented teams possible. While we expect new hiring tools to emerge, we expect to see old tried and true tactics solidify their place in the hiring process – things like blind hiring, pre-hire assessments, structured interviews, and diverse hiring teams.
4. Companies Will be More Open to “Alternative” Candidates
For a long time, the “skills gap” was the biggest thing on every hiring manager’s mind – the mismatch between the skills that job seekers have and the skills that employers increasingly need. This gap has only been exacerbated by the increasingly competitive hiring landscape.
We predict that companies will start opening themselves up to alternative candidates that may not be the perfect cookie-cutter employee that they first envisioned. After all, job experience has never been all that predictive of job performance. Sometimes the best person for the job may have limited experience in that role or may be coming from another field entirely.
To accommodate for “alternative” candidates, we expect employers to invest in ways to identify talent and potential in innovative ways, from pre-employment assessments to gamification in the recruiting process. We also anticipate companies will start investing in more robust training and onboarding processes to get their candidates up to speed.