João Nunes
Managing Director Michael Page & Page Executive MX y CA
Michael Page Mexico
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Expert Contributor

Beyond the New Normal: 3 Key Labor Trends for 2022

By João Nunes | Tue, 01/04/2022 - 12:58

The rise of digitalization, uncertainty and quick reaction to changes marked 2021, while the year was characterized by learning and recognizing that hybrid work models are here to stay and that business decisions have to be people-centered.

Now, it is time to ask ourselves what will come next, in 2022, and although it is true that the coronavirus pandemic taught us the importance of being resilient in order to adapt ourselves to the labor market dynamic and to the moments of crisis, it is also true that we should not ignore trends, so that we can draw possible scenarios that allow us to get ahead.

Based on the PageGroup’s Remuneration Report 2022, a comprehensive report on the predominant recruitment and human capital trends, with information from a survey involving more than 5,000 answers from people in junior positions up to senior management in Mexico and Central America, I can identify three key trends for the labor market in the year to come.

Labor Flexibility Is Here to Stay

The first trend is labor flexibility, accompanied not only by unstructured schedules and indefinite spaces, but also by the empathy and support of the leaders toward their teams.

Companies will now have to focus on offering experiences rather than jobs because employees have different expectations. It is known that in a few years, 75 percent of the workforce will be represented by millennials and centennials, young people who aspire to have a better quality of life without their work being an obstacle to achieving it.

New generations are not willing to accept a job if it does not guarantee a flexible work model. In addition, we see that in the new labor reality, productivity ceased to be associated with an office and, without a doubt, next year, workers will prefer to assume their responsibility to organize themselves according to their particular interests and needs, since they have found a middle point that allows them to perform part of their work in the office and another outside of it: from home, in a coffee shop or even in another city or country.

According to the report, 44.3 percent of employees say that they are more productive under the remote or hybrid work model and 37.8 percent think they are just as productive. That means eight out of 10 employees consider that their productivity has not been affected negatively by the fact of going to the office or not. Today, only three out of 10 people are working in the full-time face-to-face format.

Mental Health and Emotional Salary Will Be Key To Recruit And Keep Talent

The second trend is to provide for the mental health and emotional salary of workers. The benefits that people value the most are related to their stage of life; this means that the general offer of work incentives or benefits is no longer functional in the new world of work.

Again, flexible hours and empathy play an important role in this emotional salary. They do not necessarily require extra expenses from companies, but they do make a big difference in the levels of commitment of the employees toward the organization.

The report shows that more than 60 percent of workers feel emotional and mental support from the company they work for. Another important point to highlight from this trend is that 28 percent of the workforce is concerned about job security and stability, along with opportunities for growth and development.

For this specific group, the main reason for changing jobs is the search for a higher salary, better benefits and support to grow at work. So, to retain talent, it is crucial that companies dedicate time to design their incentives program, based on the requirements of their staff. The key is to personalize benefits and build a healthy, diverse, and inclusive organizational climate, where all voices are heard and taken into account.

Digital Transformation Will Continue Dominating the Labor Market

The third trend is related to the positions of the future and the growth of technology and the digital transformation. The research shows that jobs linked to business digitalization and e-commerce led salary increases in most industries and at different hierarchical levels, reaching increases of up to 30 percent in some cases.

In 2022, six out of 10 companies plan to invest in digital transformation technology and tools, especially in collaborative software, CRM, communication, and cloud storage. However, the digital bet implies attracting specialized talent; in fact, the most required profiles are those related to IT, data science, agile cells, scrum teams, machine learning, artificial intelligence and digital marketing.

We must consider that constant training and the acquisition of new skills is no longer optional. Neither is digital transformation, which, under a flexible labor model, will be fundamental in companies' strategies, since their permanence in the market depends on it.

Without a doubt, 2022 will be a year of opportunities and challenges for everyone. Regarding the priorities of companies, they will continue to be restoring their income, making efficient and responsible use of their budget to protect their employees’ well-being, ensuring their development, and meeting the needs and goals of the organization.

Photo by:   João Nunes