2023 Job market predictions

Bjørn Andersen
Market trends

No New Years’ eve is complete without predictions for the coming year, so here are my predictions for 2023 for the 4 hottest (work-related) topics:

1) We’ll start out with the easy one that’s bound to be on every list — AI. We’ll see more use of AI in 2023, and everything from writing job descriptions (and job applications?) to screening CVs will be affected.

While AI is a great and powerful technology, on a personal and professional level, I’m much more interested in how we’ll utilize AI. Martin Lindstrom wrote an excellent book a couple of years ago — Small Data — explaining the dangers of Big Data and the insights that can come from Small Data. Small Data is obviously about Big Data and not AI, but I see some similarities. Can we as humans use AI while still being critical? Will we remember to add all the small data or insights that the model didn’t include?

Our thoughts: Using AI to automate processes is a wonderful thing — but remember to mix AI with the personal, human touch for maximum effect.

2) Another big one is remote/hybrid work, which saw enormous growth in 2021, but has seen a downward trend in 2022, which we suspect will continue in 2023. Some of the challenges remote/hybrid work has seen include:

Is it a good idea for all (white collar) jobs/job types to be remote/hybrid? Or are some jobs better suited than others? Are some jobs not suited at all?

What are you missing out on you’re working remotely? The risk of social isolation was covered in a www.forbes.com article, amongst others, which also focused on the lack of career progression. www.telegraph.co.uk recently reported that “experts and City professionals are now saying workers are keen to get back in front of managers to save their jobs as a crisis looms.”

Large companies like Apple, Amazon, and others (and, of course, Twitter) have demanded that employees return to the office to heighten productivity. Apple has returned staff to the office, Tim Cook saying that it would “enhance our ability to work flexibly, while preserving the in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture”. On the other hand, many employees prefer working from home — how will the war for talent impact the return to office movement? Will working from home be restricted to the most talented and sought-after employees?

A classic trend has been employees moving to the countryside with a London salary, to North Dakota with a Bay Area salary etc. That has been a minor concern for companies so far, but will (some) companies in a recession demand full onsite for full compensation? And insist that employees working from home in a much cheaper, rural area receive less compensation?

Our thoughts: Starting a remote/hybrid work discussion is a certain way to start a heated argument. (Some) employers will have concerns around productivity and securing in-person collaboration, while (some) employees see remote/hybrid as a way not only to heighten productivity but also as a basic human right to a great work/life balance. Our recommendation would always be to nail down the definition of productivity, get the proper buy-in from both parties, and follow up weekly and/or monthly on productivity. From personal experience, it’s essential that you do this from the start — depriving an employee of the privilege of remote work (if it’s even legally possible) is often seen as a hostile and harsh sanction by employees. Apple employees stated, “without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being part of Apple”, which seems to send a clear message.

3) The infamous 4-day work week seems to be gaining traction. Belgium is introducing the 4-day week in December 2023, and in the UK 70 UK companies and more than 3,300 employees have participated in an “extremely successful” trial. “In the trial, employees are expected to follow the “100:80:100 model” — 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintaining at least 100 per cent productivity.”

The interesting thing here is — are all jobs/job types relevant? Is it possible to measure productivity in detail, so 100 % productivity can be maintained? And perhaps even more important — can employees and employers agree on the definition of 100 % productivity?

Our thoughts: The 4-day work week is still in its infancy, but it’s essential to align on the definition of 100 % productivity and embrace the fact that there most likely have to be stricter processes in place to achieve that level of productivity. That means reducing time spent on meetings, crystal clear KPI’s (and making employees accountable for those KPI’s), aligning with clients and external stakeholders on the change etc.

4) Throughout 2022, we have talked a lot about the War For Talent being “The New Normal”. www.telegraph.co.uk and others have covered “The Great Resignation”, with employees leaving the job market in favour of early retirement, using their savings to cover the gap between early retirement and the standard retirement age. Savings which have sometimes been generated by property wealth. Will 2023 see a more equal playing field? Will the falling property prices affect “The Great Resignation”?

Our thoughts: The War For Talent is still on. Big time. We see the same picture across sales, marketing, engineering and product — exceptional talent is still in (very) high demand. But we also see some employees who have perhaps overestimated their own worth in the current market. It may (for the time being) become a lot more difficult working remotely from a rural location and maintaining the same compensation level. Some who have abandoned the job market in favour of an early retirement or a well-deserved break may realize they have to return to the job market to fund their lives.

I’m super excited about 2023, which is bound to be an exciting year with lots of changes. Some parts of the job market will remain unaffected, while other parts will see a lot of change.

What are your predictions for 2023?

Insight by Bjørn Andersen

Bjørn Andersen
CEO & Founder

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