Speak to anybody looking to hire for new staff and they will likely bring up ‘The Great Resignation’. This phrase refers to the huge number of workers giving their two weeks notice after riding out the storms of the pandemic, creating unprecedented demand for staff and a hard-to-hire environment. Compared to last year — when layoffs were widespread, unemployment skyrocketed, and finding employment was challenging – the jobs market has flipped on its head. Here are additional changes we’ve seen:

Hybrid workplaces. Reopening is underway in cities like New York and companies are beginning to set their formal office plans. While few stated early on that remote work would be permanent, others announced a goal for a full return to office. The majority are opting for a mix of the two — signaling that the future of the office is likely hybrid.

The next 12 months will be crucial in understanding what will be anything but a one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid working. Companies will have to think about details such as how to effectively operate with workers across time zones, if and how to adjust pay to compensate for different costs of living, how to onboard and train remotely, as well as the new role of the office itself.

Shift in opportunities. We’ve also seen a shake-up in the distribution of opportunities. Early on, we saw significant hiring within the logistics and warehousing industry — likely fueled by growing e-commerce and increase in online deliveries. Adzuna’s data reveals jobs in this sector have grown 296% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The pandemic also caused ultra-low interest rates, driving a surge in the real estate industry as well as labor and trade professionals indirectly through home improvements. These jobs boomed 110% compared to January 2020.

At the other end of the spectrum, airlines, salons, bars and restaurant job opportunities were initially curtailed by pandemic restrictions, but are now recovering. Hospitality and catering jobs are flooding back and businesses are struggling to fill these roles. We’ve seen the restaurant industry respond with creative ways to compete for talent, including pay raises and sign-on bonuses – a trend that has spread across other industries struggling to hire.

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Demand for work perks. As the labor market shifted in favor of job seekers, workers started demanding more. Buzzy office perks like free food or laundry services became less appealing, replaced by a greater focus on health and well-being.

We’ve seen increased support for employees dealing with childcare or other caring needs. This was evident when schools closed and people were mandated to work remotely, with research showing 50 million Americans, one-third of the working population, has a child under 14 in their household.

We’re also seeing signing bonuses of up to $5,000, state-led perks, and pay raises offered to entice employees back to work. Currently, there are 54,400 openings offering signing bonuses to new staff, as employers search for ways to fight for top talent.

Hot demand for digital skills. Digital skills are in particular demand. Many tech stocks surged over the last year, and our data showed a relative resilience in some of the big tech cities such as San Jose,

Austin and Seattle. Compared to other white-collar sectors like financial services and consulting, the tech industry saw a faster recovery and continues to hire at pace.

Digital skills are also in-demand in other sectors, including healthcare, retail and sales. The need for experts in fields like digital marketing, social media, data science and cyber security has multiplied.

No need for formal education. The combination of shifting skill needs and high demand for candidates has propelled another positive change: Companies are paying more attention to skills over formal education. Adzuna’s data reveals there are more than 2.4 million vacancies open to those without a college degree as employers consider talent from beyond traditional recruitment pipelines.

We expect employers to continue pushing upskilling and reskilling workers to widen their talent pool.

A look ahead. This is a very different labor market than 14 months ago. We’re seeing a major flip where job seekers are in the driver’s seat once again which is setting flexible working, better support, and a focus on skills in motion.

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