Post-Covid America was to see a modern resurgence of the Roaring Twenties. However, in 2022, Americans face inflation and talk about recession, stagflation, layoffs, downsizing and war. Economic, geopolitical and macroeconomic events have an impact on human resources and the labor market, resulting in the following trends in the workplace.
Layoffs, downsizing, canceled job offers
Since May, tech startups have laid off nearly 27,000 workers, according to layoffs.fyi. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said he has a “super bad” feeling about the economy, said the electric car maker would cut 10% of its workforce. Microsoft said in May it would slow hiring in its software group. Meta also announced a hiring freeze that month for certain teams. Coinbase canceled a number of accepted offers. Gemini, the crypto exchange, founded by the Winklevoss twins, said a “crypto winter” was coming and cut staff by 10%. Crypto.com and BlockFi also said they were laying people off.
Fintech unicorn Bolt has announced that it will be laying off workers as the tech bubble slowly bursts. Klarna, a Sweden-based buy-it-pay-it-later fintech company, announced plans to lay off around 10% of its global workforce, in a pre-recorded video message. Robinhood, Netflix, Peloton, Cameo, Noom, On Deck, Workrise and others also announced layoffs or temporary freezes.
The rigidity of remote work
The first question job seekers will ask a recruiter is, “Is this a remote position?” Otherwise, they say, “Thank you, but I’m not interested.” After two years of working remotely, a large portion of the workforce wants to continue working from home, or anywhere.
People cite the benefits of having a better work-life balance. They can enjoy all the family milestones they’ve missed over the years because they’ve had to commute to the office every day.
Management, sometimes grudgingly, recognizes that working remotely also benefits the company. Talent acquisition professionals can recruit the best candidates in the United States and around the world. In a tight job market, the ability to attract candidates from locations outside of commuting distances is seen as a great way to promote diversity in the workplace.
The growing conflict between remote workers and office workers
It is natural that there is a difference between those who go to an office and those who work remotely. Both parties begin to feel that they are not being treated fairly.
Commuter workers have to wake up early and get into town on crowded public transportation and have to worry about their physical safety in big cities, like New York and San Francisco. The trek takes time and money and saps your energy. Meanwhile, commuters complain that remote staff don’t even have to get out of bed to work.
Home workers feel left out. They are afraid that their career will be hindered by being out of sight and out of mind. Managers may neglect to invite them to important Zoom or impromptu office meetings. They’ll miss any chance encounters in the hallway, cafeteria, and elevators. People working from home will not be invited to lunches, after-work drinks or concerts and sporting events in the city. They will probably feel like second-class citizens.
There is a fear of missing out (FOMO) for both groups. People who go to the office miss all their kids’ plays, football games, ballet lessons, and other memories they’ll never get back.
Those at home begin to resent people in the office who benefit from proximity bias. It is much easier to give quality assignments to the person who is always in the office.
If a trend emerges that office workers receive higher salaries, raises, promotions and bonuses compared to their distant counterparts, there will be complaints that they have been favored because of proximity instead of the hard work and production. Ongoing conflict could lead to disengagement and dropouts in the trend of the great resignation.
Management and workers are not on the same wavelength
There is an inherent disconnect between corporate leaders and rank-and-file workers. For example, top executives at top New York-based investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms have an advantage over their employees. Top executives have lavish offices, assistants, and the influence to get things done.
This cohort has the financial means to live in Manhattan. They have no idea how difficult it is to commute five days a week from one of the five boroughs or the neighboring suburbs of New Jersey and Connecticut. The well-to-do elite can easily pay for spacious apartments close to the office, nannies, daycare centers, private schools for their children, and company cars to take them everywhere. A regular bank employee does well, but his lifestyle is far from that of the top brass.
Development and Training
Even with the current layoffs, the United States still has about 11 million jobs available. Despite fears of a coming recession, there is still a war for talent, especially in hard-to-fill roles, such as software engineers.
To address the imbalance of open jobs in sectors that require specialized skills compared to the existing pool of candidates, progressive and forward-thinking companies are upgrading, reorganizing and training their staff.
Companies offer in-house or third-party online courses to learn in-demand skills, such as software development and data analysis. They also provide mentors, coaches, and ongoing training and learning. Companies including Target and Walmart are offering free tuition to their employees to learn and grow.
This trend not only helps existing workers, but is also a good way to attract, recruit and retain talent, as workers feel valued and appreciated and see that there is room to grow and develop. within the organization.
Helping with mental health, emotional well-being and employee burnout
Although the world would love to put Covid-19 in the rearview mirror, people are still suffering. Seeing loved ones fall ill and succumb to the virus has affected people deeply. They realize that sometimes life is short and hard. Plus, being locked up for two years took its toll. Americans are experiencing a large-scale mental health crisis.
One of the antidotes is for companies to recognize this crisis and act. Many organizations have made mental health a top priority. They offer counseling, therapy, mental health and emotional well-being apps and memberships to gyms and fitness centers. Mental health leave days are now standardized. Companies have closed their offices for a week or two, so that everyone can disconnect from work and recuperate. No-Zoom Fridays, offsite activities and other employee empowerment initiatives have been implemented.
Exhaustion of human resources
Human resources professionals have an extremely difficult job. They have faced an overwhelming amount of anxiety and pressure over the past two years. This cohort had to quickly figure out how to move their employees online and build a robust and functional distributed workforce, all while dealing with a raging pandemic.
With no time to catch their breath, the economy reopened and HR was tasked with hiring and onboarding people quickly. Pent-up demand kept them working around the clock.
Now they face another challenge. Due to recent economic and global events, companies are downsizing and freezing hiring. HR is on the front line to manage this new and sudden change, from hiring quickly to cutting costs. With layoffs and a pause in hiring, HR now also has to worry about their own jobs. During the pandemic, HR and recruiters were one of the biggest groups that faced layoffs and furloughs.
Economists and Wall Street professionals predict that the United States is heading into a recession. They say it could be very bad and we could even experience stagflation not seen since the late 1970s and 1980s. These possible events will continue to add pressure and stress on this already overtaxed group.
Criminal records can be ignored
In the wake of George Floyd, diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to be at the forefront. By removing the barrier to gainful employment and recognizing that companies desperately need more workers, companies are changing their minds about job seekers with criminal records. Until recently, having a crime on a record barred a person from many jobs. This group has been trapped by their past and unable to come out of the stigma attached to having been in prison. Companies are now opening up more and more to “second chance” employment, giving this pool of untapped potential the opportunity to excel and succeed.