• Workers in 2022

‘Tis the season to rethink your hiring strategy for the new year. 

Whether your company is looking for seasonal workers, flex workers, or full-time employees, you’re up against a challenging job market. With “The Great Resignation” still in full swing, the ongoing supply chain crisis, pending vaccine mandates, and new Covid-19 variants popping up, businesses are up against a slew of challenges to fill their labor needs. 

Though where one company sees a challenge, another could see an opportunity. Businesses have what could be seen as an incredible chance to listen to workers’ changing expectations, enhance their workplace, and stand out in front of thousands of companies vying for talent. 

More than 12 million people are looking for work or working part-time—even though there are over 10 million job openings. That means that the talent is out there, ready to work, but they’re just not finding what they’re looking for. This is the moment for companies to step up their game not only to fill short-term labor needs but to build a long-term retention strategy. 

So what are all the workers looking for?

Looking for increased pay and opportunities

Workers are demanding higher pay, but that’s not all they want. Raising pay to a liveable wage or to a competitive rate will only get you so far, and it may not be enough to fill your labor needs given today’s talent shortage. The global Covid-19 pandemic put working conditions into perspective for millions of workers, and millions of them have had enough. 

Today’s workers don’t just want to look to their next payment to get by; they want to look to the future and have a chance to thrive. And why shouldn’t they? Companies like Walgreens Boots Alliance, McDonald’s, and Chipotle, are listening and have increased pay. Other companies like Walmart and Target took it further by offering to cover 100% of college tuition and books and covering student debt (respectively).

Other companies are including signing bonuses to attract candidates, and one company in Florida is even offering a drawing for two brand new and mortgage-free houses. If you want to attract talent to your company, consider what opportunities you can give them—on top of fair pay.

Seeking flexible work arrangements  

The world of hybrid work is here, and it isn’t going away in 2022. While many roles like those in retail or hospitality will continue to have an in-person presence, hundreds of other industries are coming to terms with workers not wanting to return to the office. Some say that businesses could even lose 70% of candidates by requiring in-office work. Flexibility looks different for jobs that must remain in-person, but it’s still possible. 

One way to look at flexibility is to consider offering child care options. Between January 2020 and January 2021, 9% of moms with preschool-aged children left the workforce, as did 8% of moms with children ages 6-12. Yet companies know, as mothers do, that child care is expensive, but there are many ways that companies can help working parents—from daycares to workplace culture.

Another way to look at flexibility is by zeroing in on local talent. Studies show that geographic differences (even minor ones) in open jobs can lead to higher unemployment. Harvard Business Review’s research suggests that if hiring managers consider recruiting from a county that is 10% closer, it can lead to finding 44% more people who’re already commuting to that location. By shortening workers’ commutes, you offer them more flexibility and give them one of the best perks you can: their time back.

Searching for an inclusive and positive company 

While the unemployment rate has dropped from earlier months, the number can be slightly deceiving as it fails to represent the rate for historically disadvantaged groups accurately. And while many companies stepped up and changed their DE&I policies to be more inclusive, the momentum has slowed since 2020. What hasn’t slowed? Workers’ expectations. 

According to a survey from CNBC and SurveyMonkey, nearly 80% of workers say that they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. This LinkedIn article offers a comprehensive look at how any company can update its DE&I strategy. 

On top of inclusivity, workers want positivity. The Chamber of Commerce poll found that 41% of workers are looking for a positive work environment. 

Wanting to use their skills—and develop new ones

It’s time to look past the diploma and to look toward what skills workers can bring to the company. And that doesn’t just go for the skills they display now, but also for the ones they can develop. What skills should companies be focusing on when looking for talent? Soft skills.

Not only is focusing on soft skills good for hiring, but it’s good for business. Research has found that companies that focus on soft skills when hiring generate higher production levels versus those that emphasize only hard skills. Another study also showed that soft skills training in problem-solving and communication boosted productivity and retention by 12% and delivered a 250% ROI.

With skills training also comes the possibility of upward mobility, and workers want to see the opportunity—even those who work part-time and especially those working temp-to-perm. This is something that blue-collar workers have often been left out of, and companies can no longer leave out. 


So, where will all the workers be in 2022? They’ll be looking for jobs that give them what they’re worth, extend equity, and offer them flexibility and potential. 

Perhaps it isn’t workers who should be creating a New Year’s Resolutions list; it’s the companies who want to work with them.