Making a ‘prediction’ is a sophisticated way of saying you’re making a guess as to what will happen in the future. It’s not too far removed from using a wigi board or magic eight ball. The reality is that if we could all gaze into a crystal ball and see into the future, we’d be rich from investing early in Bitcoin, the right pumped-up meme stocks and NFTs.
Very little in life is black and white. Instead of making ironclad predictions, it makes more sense to give the odds of something happening. Here are some of the changes that we are 30% to 65% likely to see happen in 2022.
2022 Will Be The Year For Five-Hour Days, A Four-Day Workweek And Flexible Staggered Schedules
The job market has been scorchingly hot, and looks like it will continue into 2022. The rationale is based upon the fact that the employment rate is almost back to where it was before the outbreak, and there are now over ten million jobs currently available. Businesses can’t find enough workers to satiate demand. It’s so difficult that they are offering sign-on bonuses, higher pay, free tuition and other benefits to attract, recruit and retain workers.
Additionally, business leaders acknowledged that people want to be treated as adults and offered freedom and autonomy. This includes offering an array of different workstyles customized to fit their specific needs. This includes providing employees with choices such as three day weekends, bespoke working hours and flexibility—which means a worker can decide for herself where and when they work.
There is a 50% chance that there will be a correction in the stock and real estate markets. The prices of securities and home values rose so swiftly, history shows that it may be time for a correction as nothing goes up in a straight line forever.
If the stock market gets hit hard, falling over 20%, bringing down real estate too, we can likely see hiring freezes put in place by companies and some downsizings as business leaders will get highly concerned over a potential crash.
Remote Work Rules
The pandemic showed that it wasn’t necessary to schlep into the office, wasting almost three hours a day, and losing quality time with family that you can never get back.
In addition to Covid-19, we had the Delta variant and now Omicron. Businesses have scraped their return to work plans. It’s reasonable that workers will refuse to go into crowded cities such as New York or San Franscio. Studies showed that people said they’d quit their jobs if forced to stop working from home. With Omicron, it is almost certain that the first half of 2022 will be mostly, if not all remote.
Working Mothers Won’t Be Ignored
During the pandemic public schools closed and kids sent home in states including New York and New Jersey. Working parents bore the brunt of this decision. Their lives were instantly turned upside down. Parents faced a frustratingly brutal dilemma—do I keep my job or take care of the children?
It was reported by the National Women’s Law Center that between August and September 2020, over 800,000 women left the workforce to look after their children.
With the Omicron variant starting to surge, and a number of colleges shutting down and sending students home or told to work remotely, it’s only a matter of time until this happens to public schools again.
Instead of risking the loss of working mothers who may pull out of the workforce, progressive, forward-thinking companies will be proactive. The businesses will offer flexibility and possibly child care assistance via extra compensation. If the company is large enough and has sufficient resources, they might consider starting their own internal childcare facility to help out working parents, particularly, working moms.
Mental Health And Emotional Wellbeing Benefits
2022 will be the year in which mental health, emotional wellbeing and empathy will be brought to the forefront. After two years of watching people fall sick and die, isolated at home, pulling back from socializing and dealing with fear and anxiety— business leaders will address these issues.
They will recognize mental health issues and offer open and honest conversations. Empathetic leaders will inquire about what their workers need, and provide those services. This could include counseling sessions with a therapist for the worker and her family, passses to fitness and wellness centers, mental health apps and platforms, extra days off, no Zoom days, and company wide weeks off to allow everyone to decompress.
The Rich Get Richer
The pandemic has swiftly increased wealth and income inequality. Online companies, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple and Zoom, have performed amazingly well and the executives were richly rewarded.
We’ve seen a K-shaped recovery, in which the wealthy are getting even wealthier. Everyone else is on a downward slope, financially. Billionaires have reaped unfathomable amounts of more money. For instance, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are now members of the $100 billion club, as their respective share prices rose 677% and 39% during this time period. This happened as millions of average Americans lost their jobs and many families struggled to make ends meet.
This trend will continue. With the Federal Reserve Bank printing money and massive amounts of funds available to Wall Street we’ll continue to see IPOs and SPACs, minting new millionaires and billionaires. If the stock market continues to push higher, we’ll see a tremendous increase in wealth inequality, even greater than we have now, with the vast amount of wealth in America in the hands of a small number of people.
The New ‘Precariat’—People Who Go From One Gig To Another— And Digital Nomads
One of the most exciting things to come out of the pandemic is that both companies and workers have opened up to new ideas. There is no longer the need to do things just because ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ We’re entering a time period of rapid change.
The Great Resignation has led to millions of workers quitting their jobs to find better opportunities. People are taking greater risks with their careers. There will be a decline in workers opting in for the stability and predictability of their 9-5 jobs, and a rise of a new precariat—people who live from one short-term job to the next.
Many folks have decided to get out of their homes and work from different locations. People have taken to doing their jobs at the beach or near ski slopes. Some decided to relocate to lower-cost locations within the United States to save money—while still receiving the same pay. Adventurous types traveled to other countries as digital nomads living in different countries all over the world.
Digital nomads, predominantly young professionals without kids, are moving to cool, interesting places in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve already seen housing prices rise in certain locations that attracted mobile white-collar workers with large disposable incomes. Suburbs, beach towns, ski areas and other interesting areas will see an influx of these professionals, driving up housing prices and rental costs. We could foresee competition from cities, states and countries to attract this talent to boost tax revenue. This already happened during the pandemic when a number of places rolled out the red carpet to entice people to relocate there and work remotely.
Normalization Of Job Switching
When I first started recruiting, if I shared a resume of a person who was at a company for only a year or so, I’d be chastised. They’d derogatively say the candidate is a ‘job hopper,’ and attribute negative connotations to their desire to pursue a new job so soon. The hiring managers and human resource professionals would contend that the person is either a poor performer and trying to leave before they get fired or is disloyal.
We are in a very different era. It’s more transactional. With the Great Resignation, organizations realized that people won’t likely stay for too long. Silicon Valley accounts for the most rapid changes in technology, software and business styles. It’s been an enormous wealth creator. Also, it has the highest employee turnover rate.
Employees want to learn as much as possible at their job and build out networks with the people they interact with and get to know at the company. Armed with new knowledge and robust connections, the person feels free to move onto another opportunity. Then, the person will do the same thing again and again. Learn as much as possible, widen your network and when it’s time, move on. By jumping ship, you can exponentially increase your exposure to smart people who can help with your career.
The Hot Job Market Has A Drawback: Companies ‘Compromise’ On Quality Hires, Which Are ‘Holding Businesses Back’
Companies are battling to find, hire and keep workers. It’s not easy. In this new era, people are emboldened to leave one sector and try something new. Many older workers left the job market because either they’ve done well with their investments and saw the prices of their homes dramatically increase. Unfortunate seasoned workers left the job market because they couldn’t secure a new job. The flow of new immigrants who may have taken jobs, appreciably slowed during the virus outbreak and the improved economy created new, unfilled jobs.
The current job market is so incredibly challenging that companies are forced to compromise on the quality of candidates just to get the help. To compound the problem, by bringing aboard people who don’t possess all of the needed skills and experiences, it holds business back.
The Recruiter Role Will Proactively Change
In a hot job market, recruiters are in big demand. Recruiting will change with the times. The standard practice of hiring was to wait for an opening and then recruit to fill it. With millions of Americans quitting their jobs, and over 10 million jobs open, there is a dire need to think differently.
Instead of sitting around and waiting, companies looking to stay competitive will need to search for and engage with talent on a continual basis to accelerate their hiring. This could alter the way recruiters work. They’ll need to be strategic and offer a continual personalized reach out to potential candidates. In-house corporate talent acquisition professionals must stay in close touch, nurturing relationships with potential future applicants, and build a solid pipeline, so their company won’t struggle when there is attrition and seats must be quickly filled.
There will be a rapid increase in venture capital investment in human resources software to support these efforts, by increasing efficiencies and accelerating a strong pipeline of qualified and interested candidates in a way that HR teams alone cannot achieve.
Employer Branding Will Be Key In 2022
Businesses advertise their goods and services to obtain customers. In a tight job market, with no end in sight, employers will need to brand themselves as a great place to work, too. Brand recognition will rise to a top priority for companies in 2022. Businesses will need to effectively communicate benefits, perks, and most importantly, culture to attract talent and stay viable.
HR teams need to prioritize employer brand initiatives—or even define and hire for a head of employer brand role—to convey their culture, values and vision. And this effort shouldn’t end at the exit interview. Company brand and culture should extend further to ensure employees are ambassadors for life.
Why Your Future Interview Or Job May Be In The Metaverse
Living in the real world hasn’t been too great over the last two years. We’ve confronted Covid-19, the killing of George Floyd, endless fighting about politics, social unrest and the disastrous aftermath of Afghanistan among other travails.
All these real-world problems may make you yearn for a better place. What’s wild is that a brave new world is being created. It’s called the Metaverse. The term refers to a collective virtual space in which people can interact with each other in an augmented reality.
Instead of Zoom calls, you can interact with coworkers and clients in a virtual environment that feels real. The metaverse will offer new, exciting opportunities to people. It could be an enhanced work-from-home experience that makes you feel part of the team and not isolated alone in your apartment. You can go on interviews, communicate with clients and build businesses. It feels that if this works, there’s an unlimited possibility of what can happen in a new virtual reality.
The Omicron Variant Made Companies Reconsider Their Return To Office Plans
There is a famous quote in the movie Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” It feels this way with the never ending pandemic. There are brief glimpses of hope that it’s over, then suddenly a new variant surges. The back-and-forth is not fair to workers and their families. They’re pressured to prepare and then rearrange childcare and other commitments. People are not able to make long term plans if they don’t know if they’ll be told to come into an office or not.
Both workers and companies will come to the conclusion that returning to an office will not happen for at least the first half of 2022. In places like New York—which was the original epicenter in the U.S. of Covid-19—is now closing Broadway shows and other events. It’s too risky for companies to make people take mass transit, walk on crowded streets and have to be careful keeping socially distant in the office. It’s too much to handle, as everyone’s already frazzled. For the foreseeable future the majority of people, especially those working in big cities, will be sent home to work.