Here is your January guide to the latest trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.
2021 ANNUAL SEARCH TRENDS RE-EMPHASIZE CHANGING CANDIDATE PRIORITIES.
Google’s Year in Search Highlights
Google’s Year in Search trends highlighted how the world searched more for ‘how to start a business’ than ‘how to get a job’ in 2021, indicating that employers need to pay close attention to entrepreneurship skills and ambitions, as well as consider how to adapt their employment offer to embrace employee ‘side hustles’ and the wider creator economy, which would likely open up new talent pools.
SEE ALSO: Why employers may need to rethink current employment models and embrace the creator economy [Radancy’s ‘The Scoop,’ December 2021]
Another search trend that was pertinent in Google’s report was how ‘sustainability’ was searched a record number of times in 2021. According to Josh Bersin’s HR Predictions for 2022 report, sustainability and global climate change will become HR priorities in 2022. And given the rising importance of sustainable living in society, employers need to consider how to tie their ESG commitments to their employer brand messaging, ensuring relevant content is easily surfaced on their career site and other recruitment marketing channels, such as social media and email marketing. Amazon is just one example of an employer who is cross-promoting their sustainability commitments directly from their Working at Amazon page on their careers site.
Searches for remote jobs on Radancy-powered employer career sites more than doubled in 2021.
A study of 31 million job searches across Radancy’s career site network found a significant increase in those looking for remote jobs in 2021 compared with the previous year. Notable findings were:
- Remote (or equivalent) career site job searches were up 162% year-over-year in 2021 and are now up 204% since March 2020. Despite this, remote job searches only make up 2% of all career site job searches.
- In 2021, the term “telecommute” fell out of favor, whereas “hybrid” and even “WFH” entered the job search lexicon.
- In the information sector, 4% of all job searches were remote, more than 2x the overall benchmark. The finance sector also indexed higher at 3%.
- Retail sector job seekers are 214% more likely to search “work [from/at] home” and information sector job seekers 107% more likely than all other sectors.
RECENT HEADLINES HAVE FOCUSED ON ‘WHERE WE WORK.’ IN 2022, IT WILL BE ABOUT ‘WHEN WE WORK.’
The 4-day working week is gaining momentum globally
One emerging trend that can make employers more attractive to new pools of talent is a reduced working week – something that has been trialled by employers in many countries around the world.
Recent employers in the headlines that have announced reduced working weeks include:
- Not-for-profit community, 4 Day Week Global, is running 6-month 4-day working week pilot programmes across many employers in the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, commencing in June 2022.
- Panasonic (Japan) is introducing an optional four-day work week, one of a growing number of Japanese companies encouraging better work-life balance (Jan 2022).
- The United Arab Emirates government departments moved to a 4.5-day working week, aiming to improve competitiveness (Jan 2022).
- Atom Bank became the largest UK employer to introduce a four-day working week, stating employees could work 34 hours over four days (instead of 37.5 hours over five days) with no change to salaries. The move was to “support improved employee mental and physical well-being together with improved business productivity.” (Nov 2021)
SEE ALSO: Every company doing a four-day work week [Build Remote]
What about a 7-day working week?
It’s not just shorter working weeks that employers are moving towards to attract talent and improve well-being and productivity. Some employers have shifted to a 7-day working week for business operations.
In June 2021, Wired UK reported that employees at design consultancy, Arup, can work any day of the week, enabling employees to work when it is more suited to their needs.
Could school-time-only job contracts help with the talent shortage?
School-time, or term-time, employment contracts are most synonymous with the education sector, but an opportunity for employers who are not in education could be to offer ‘school-time’-only job contracts.
In 2017, Scottish-based Pursuit Marketing became the first private sector employer to offer term-time contracts. Lorraine Gray, then Operations Director at Pursuit Marketing, stated:
“Parents often feel torn between work and spending time with their children, especially during their early years, and this solution resolves that dilemma, allowing them to be at their desks during term time and at home with their children during the various school holidays.”
With these flexible working patterns, employers can tap into new talent pools, currently made even more accessible with the growth, and expected continuation, of remote and hybrid working. This would help improve labor participation numbers amongst under-represented groups and help address talent scarcity issues. Combine this with more job-sharing options, and it could become a powerful talent acquisition play.
There’s no doubt that business operations and employee support models need consideration to adopt this level of flexibility, and it won’t suit all employers in all sectors, but the benefits to those that can shift towards more flexible employment models are clear to see.
GROWTH IN EMERGING ASYNCHRONOUS WORK TECH FUNDING WILL HELP FACILITATE WHEN AND HOW WE WORK.
New, more flexible and disparate working patterns are going to mean new ways of working, collaborating and communicating. A shift from synchronous to asynchronous communication and collaboration is required to help knowledge workers who conduct ‘deep work’ improve their well-being and productivity.
Unlike video meetings and phone calls, which are synchronous, asynchronous communication means that collaboration doesn’t have to happen in real time, but on the individual’s own time. And because of the changing world of work (when, where and how we work), asynchronous tech is starting to attract serious investment.
Most notable recent investment includes:
- Miro, a visual collaboration and interactive whiteboarding tool, raised $400M in January 2022.
- ClickUp, an all-in-one productivity platform that can replace the likes of Teams, Trello and Slack, to name a few, raised $400M in November 2021.
- Loom, a video messaging app for hybrid work (who also moved to a four-day week), raised $130M in May 2021.
- Yac, an async meetings app for remote teams, raised $7.5M in January 2021.
- Voodle, a workplace video communication app to reduce video call fatigue and chat overload, raised $6M in December 2020.
Like any emerging paradigm shift, the answer here isn’t just in technology, but also in behavioural and cultural change. And employers shouldn’t just think about asynchronous tools for use with employees, but also how they can be used to improve the candidate engagement and communication experience.