The Great Reassessment: the US talent market in 2022

3 minute read
People in the US are reassessing not only their careers but also their personal goals. This, says David Helfrich, client partner and head of the Americas at talent mapping and executive search firm Armstrong Craven, is causing a Great Reassessment rather than a Great Resignation. In this short video he looks at current trends in the US talent market
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Experts in talent mapping, pipelining, executive search and talent insights. Working with the world’s most influential & respected businesses undergoing transformational change, gaining market insights needed to identify & recruit specialised talent

US market overview

So the general overview here in the United States is something I would characterize as more of the Great Realignment, or even the Great Reassessment, more than the Great Resignation because it's not the case that people are leaving the workforce altogether – although some are if they're able to do that – but most people, of course, are still being productive and are being a little bit more creative in terms of how they're looking at the market. So what we're seeing here in the US since the pandemic has made people really reassess not only their career goals but their personal goals as well.

As you noted, some people have started a business. For example, maybe they've delayed and put off starting a business that's something they've always wanted to do. Now they're finding the impetus and inspiration to do that and to make those dives and take those calculated risks.

Other people are deciding that the jobs that they were in previously weren't fulfilling. So now they are out on the job market, which is very robust here in the United States, particularly in certain sectors like technology, legal, healthcare and life sciences. These are markets where the demand for talent really outweighs the availability of talent.

And employees and applicants are really in the driver's seat in a lot of ways. And this is something that we haven't seen in some time. So it's caused, I think, a lot of employers to reassess their efforts to try to not only just recruit but retain top talent and likewise, simultaneously, talent is now reassessing their goals, both in the immediate and in terms of the long-term in terms of what they want to do to live a fulfilling life and have a fulfilling career.

So some industries are roaring back and certainly industries like Amazon, for example, Peloton, Zoom - any industry that has been able to take advantage of the remote work revolution are doing quite well. And also industries such as healthcare and life sciences, of course, where there are larger demands than we see in other industries are doing very well. But I think overall we're seeing now in 2022 a healthy rebound in the United States in terms of economic activity. But with that being said there is a caveat that this isn't the case with all industries. Some industries have been hit hard and are even downsizing and reassessing how they're going to be competitive moving into the future.

And usually those industries are ones that in my view have been living in the past and have been living in a reality that doesn't quite fit the new reality that we're moving into in 2022 and beyond.

How can organizations retain talent?

In the United States we tend to lag behind other countries and other societies when it comes to comprehensive benefits packages of really attractive employment offers that are a bit more personalized and geared and customized towards optimizing the employee experience.

And what I mean by that is typically in the United States there have been a lot of companies that have done the bare minimum when it comes to legal requirements, whether that's paid time off, whether that's providing healthcare, whether that's even providing just basic benefits packages that you would expect a first-world nation to provide.

We have a situation in the United States, typically historically where companies have, I think, really tried to take advantage of some of the meager legal requirements that are there. But what we're seeing now is a lot of companies, particularly a lot of forward-thinking companies, rejecting this paradigm and are actually really optimizing comprehensive benefits packages in a really dynamic and forward-thinking way.

So we're seeing companies go above and beyond when it comes to attracting talent, whether that's offering more paid time off, whether that's offering increased flexibility. One thing that's interesting, particularly workers with families, they have got accustomed to spending more time around their children and their parents and grandparents, and have really valued that. So we're seeing a lot of companies also value that and are offering increased flexibility that we would've never seen two or three years ago to where people are working in a hybrid environment where they're able to work from home comfortably and then come into the office at other times when it's necessary.

So we are seeing companies be more competitive and again this is also because employees and applicants are driving the process in a lot of ways where their talent and skillset is in high demand. So because of that that really does place a lot of emphasis on employers to be more competitive and also more human centric, not so transactional when it comes to giving a job offer and trying to attract talent, but really understanding what it takes to make their employees happy. And I think this is a welcome sign across the board here in the United States, which will not only lead to a happier workforce, but I think also a more productive workforce.

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Published 14 March 2022
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