To plan for the future of corporate and administrative hiring, employers need to understand the current hiring landscape. With industries still struggling to find a sense of normality after the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting talent in 2023 will come down to a company’s ability to adapt to what candidates want in a modern workplace.
The move to remote work has been a major game changer for many industries over the last several years, and corporate and administrative roles have been no exception. Many of these workers — including those in creative, marketing, talent acquisition, human resources, healthcare and procurement — shifted to remote work for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to this public health crisis, three-quarters of employees in the U.S. had never experienced remote work.
While the transition to telework was a forced necessity, many employers found that this work arrangement was possible with the right technology in place. More than that, business leaders recognized that remote work presented a key business opportunity to increase workforce efficiency, drive cost savings and retain and attract top talent. Companies suddenly found themselves no longer bound by geographic limitations when it came to finding workers, giving them access to a larger talent pool. They could also recruit and hire candidates in less expensive markets, further helping their bottom lines.
But, while remote work helped many companies survive, and at times thrive, during the pandemic, many are still uncertain about its long-term role. Employers are attempting to establish their new normal — determining what the future of work will look like within their respective organizations. Corporate leaders are weighing the benefits and drawbacks of fully in-person, hybrid and remote work arrangements. This decision will likely have a major impact on their ability to find and retain the talent they need.
The pandemic had a profound impact on employee behavior and mindset — leading many to rethink how they want to work. Eighty-seven percent of Americans now prioritize flexible work arrangements, and a majority of employees want to remain remote full-time.
However, employee demands aren’t necessarily lining up with employer expectations. While the temporary transition to remote work proved that it can be an effective and efficient option for some businesses, 50% of companies still plan to require workers to return to the office five days per week. Within the corporate and administrative space, this expectation can vary widely based on position and industry. Those working in manufacturing or administrative roles may be more likely to work in-person, while those in medical billing and coding or creative and marketing may find more opportunities for full or partial remote work.
A compromise may be found in hybrid work. With about half of the U.S. workforce capable of working partially or fully from home, around 53% of workers surveyed said they expected to see a hybrid work arrangement going forward, based on information they received from their employers. Hybrid work offers employers a middle ground that combines in-person and remote work, fulfilling employee desire for flexibility with employer need for in-person staff.
Employers who ignore employee desire for a remote or hybrid model put themselves at a disadvantage. If 87% of American workers are prioritizing flexibility in the workplace, companies unwilling to provide that may experience issues finding and retaining talent. Especially in fields like creative and marketing, where over 57% of teams work fully or partially remote, employers who refuse to budge on flexibility will likely struggle to fill open positions.
The talent acquisition industry is an important indicator for economic health, as it keeps a pulse on fluctuating company recruitment and hiring trends. While talent acquisition roles have topped the most in-demand jobs for the past five years, that is no longer the case. Demand for recruiters and talent acquisition specialists has fallen nearly 50% in the last six months as hiring needs slow. This has been perhaps most visible in the tech sector, where major companies have made big cuts to their recruiting teams.
Recruiting and talent acquisition roles can act as a canary in a coal mine for positions across many industries, including the corporate and administrative sector. When these roles are drastically cut, it’s usually an indication that companies are scaling back on their hiring needs. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that other roles under the corporate and administrative umbrella are at risk for layoffs, it does say something about the outlook of business decision makers. If employers are preparing for a possible recession and are downsizing their recruitment team, this could have implications on hiring within other sectors.
The U.S. is experiencing a massive shortage of qualified talent — with more than 3 million workers missing from the labor force. But while the Great Resignation often dominates conversations around labor shortages, it isn’t totally to blame. Issues like lower high school and college enrollment, a skills shortage and rapid wage inflation play a role in a qualified labor shortage, leaving more companies competing for fewer workers who have the background and skills they need.
Corporate and administrative roles are seeing the impacts of this talent shortage. Seventy seven percent of surveyed advertisers, agencies, ad tech companies and media owners believed there was “some” or “high” scarcity of marketing talent within their organizations. Within procurement, a similar major talent shortage is looming. As procurement and supply chain employees begin to retire, it’s unclear who will take their place. Only 50% of employees under age 40 plan to stay in their current positions long-term, with 24% actively seeking new roles.
Based on our current data, we can predict the following trends within the corporate and administrative sector in 2023. We categorize our outlooks in three ways: positive, neutral and potential risk. However, unforeseen future developments, such as a recession, could impact this forecast.
We expect the procurement hiring outlook to be generally positive in the year ahead. Although recent hiring levels have returned to normal after a fairly steady rise throughout 2021 and the first part of 2022, most skill sets remain above pre-pandemic levels of demand. Procurement’s role in strategic planning through supply chain constraints, among other factors, is likely to bolster demand through 2023.
Thanks in part to recent increased digitalization efforts and growing marketing budgets, demand for marketing specialists is not only above pre-pandemic levels, but showed continued growth throughout 2022. However, the threat of economic instability comes with increased investor uncertainty and a potential decrease in marketing and ad spending. Because of this, we have a neutral view of the creative and marketing hiring demands in 2023.
Hiring freezes and decreased hiring demands may be impacting recruiting positions, but HR skill sets are still vitally necessary for businesses. These roles will likely focus more on retention, employee relations and maintaining their workforce's trust in the company in 2023. This emphasis on retention helps keep our hiring outlook neutral for these positions in the upcoming year.
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