Was 2022 really that bad, and what does 2023 have in store for us?
Inevitably the final article in the final issue of TALiNT International ends up as some kind of review of the year, with the equally inevitable predictions for next year. So here goes.
And what follows may well confound my colleagues because I can often be a bit of a gloomster when it comes to my views on the talent and recruitment market. And on the face of it, it would be very easy to take an “it’s been tough this year and it will be even tougher next year” perspective but, actually, I have a different view.
With the greatest respect to the people of Ukraine, for whom 2022 has been a terrifyingly difficult year, and also to people for whom inflation and economic turbulence means they are finding things incredibly tough right now, I actually think the underlying situation is not as bad as we think.
There are three reasons behind my optimism: The first is that the present recession looks increasingly like the first downturn to not lead to a significant rise in unemployment. This matters enormously as it provides a higher level of consumer confidence which helps to make any downturn shorter and shallower. The second is that it kind of suits government sat the moment to be talking things down a little bit (which is often ably facilitated and even amplified by the media) to enable things to be miraculously much better at election time in a
couple of years.
And the third, which is the most positive thing of all, is that I think it is increasingly obvious that one positive aspect of the pandemic is that our ability to be agile, innovative, and resilient has been greatly enhanced and will not just enable us to manage through the current economic uncertainties but will create a new paradigm to help us deal in practical ways with things like wellbeing, diversity and climate change.
Which brings me to TALiNT Partners’ audience and their focus on helping employers finding and keeping the people they need. I have lost count of the times I have said that the ‘talent agenda has always been important, but that it has never been more important, and, arguably, that it is the most important corporate endeavour right now’ and nothing I have seen this year has dissuaded me from that notion.
So, in considering what’s to come in 2023; for the reasons above, I don’t think it will be nearly as bad as many commentators have said. Specifically, not only will hiring continue to hold up pretty well, I think employers will make improvements in managing their own workforces better through improvements in re/upskilling and internal mobility, which in turn will lower attrition. There will be progress in engaging with under-privileged communities, especially through train and deploy models as well as a lot of progress in tempting older workers back into the workplace. The use of technology will continue to improve as employers get smarter both about using their existing tech better and being careful about only buying new solutions that can demonstrably add value.
Having said that, I am writing this piece at 37,000 feet on the way back from our final big event of the year – our TALiNT and TIARAs even in Atlanta. This was our first proper in-person conference and awards ceremony in the US and, I have to confess I am still basking in the glow of the NPS score of +63 and may also have been aided by a few glasses of wine. I will re-read my article in the cold light of day with both jet lag and, most likely, a hangover, and report back…
[UPDATE] Sunday December 3, 9am. Both jet lag and hangover not as bad as feared and I’m sticking with my views!
Best wishes to you and yours for a happy and successful 2023.