2023 Job Market Projections

  • On January 5, 2023

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2022 consisted of the Great Resignation to candidate ghosting, record job vacancies, a small talent shortage, and workers having the upper hand in the employment game. But what does 2023 have in store for employers, employees and job seekers?

Despite economic stresses, the U.S. labor market has held up. According to the latest available data, job growth remained robust and wages continued to climb. However, in recent weeks hiring intentions have dipped, and we expect this to remain stable into next year. This past year consisted of many employees quitting on a whim. During this period, there were two job openings for every person unemployed. But for the upcoming year, that won’t be the case as less job hopping and fewer counteroffers are likely as the demand for talent and the supply of candidates evens out. Salary increases will be less common, too, as many employers have already increased wages over the past 12 months due to the shortfall of talent leaving them with little choice. So, any pay raises they can afford to award in the future will be marginal.

Employers should be able to avoid wide-scale lay-offs, though data from some sectors, such as technology, will be the outliers of this scenario. This means the employment market will dull rather than create a massive employment crash that has been feared to repeat after the pandemic. It is also likely that workers who have gotten used to making demands of employers and having those demands met will lose their bargaining power. The market is changing, and employees are no longer willing to risk rocking the boat.

What does this mean for hybrid working, since this has been a big bargaining chip for job seekers and those whose values changed after the pandemic? In 2022, people resigned, turned down job offers or demanded a higher salary if they weren’t offered the flexibility they wished. The data collected concluded that hybrid options are still favored and desired by many, but executives and managers that remain unconvinced about this option in the first place will use a recessionary market to get people back to the office.

Communication within the office has also become a bigger topic of discussion. Once revered as the place for people to collaborate and communicate, showing up at a co-worker’s desk unannounced for a work-related chat is considered disruptive by some and has taken on the title desk bombing. Quiet quitting, where employees take work-life balance into their own hands rather than articulating their wants or needs, also became popular in 2022. To combat this style of work, employers are resorting to the silent treatment, freezing out or quietly firing workers rather than openly addressing performance issues. 

Progressive employers will do whatever they can to help their employees set healthy boundaries at work, an aspect of quiet quitting. In the wake of the pandemic, more employers recognize the importance of employee work-life balance and well-being. So, communication has become a higher priority in the workplace to maintain the balance of expectations and responsibilities to employee well-being.

The overall forecast for 2023 seems to be the jobs market regaining its balance, no more unsustainable levels of vacancies or talent shortages, with the correct number of jobs vacant for the candidates available, or certainly closer than it has been in the past year. For business leaders, 2023 presents an opportunity for reflection to look into current working conditions, as employees and candidates favor companies and businesses that create open, flexible, and healthy workplaces where they can thrive.

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