Despite the new trend of remote working arising from the most unique of circumstances - a global Covid-19 pandemic - it appears remote and hybrid working now the preferred choice by employees.
According to research by FlexJobs, 60% of women and 52% of men would seriously consider quitting their jobs if their employer refused to embrace the shift to remote work long term. This means that an increasing proportion of the workforce in the market for a new position would prioritise remote working opportunities.
To accommodate this change, the number of advertised job roles listed as hybrid/remote has increased in 2022, even as decreasing Covid-19 rates have seen a possible return to the office.
Employees whose jobs involve a remote work component (either full or part-time remote work) report increased job satisfaction and well-being. This is achieved through the nature of remote working and flexible hours, which allow for a better work-life balance.
In turn, employers are seeing benefits such as improved employee performance, increased retention rates and, despite initial concerns, higher productivity.
A Stanford Business studyfound that remote employees are 13% more productive than office workers, in a large part due to the ability to focus work around their most productive hours, rather than the restrictive 9 - 5 of the standard office.
To fill their hybrid/remote roles, many companies and organisations are adjusting their hiring processes, to ensure they are recruiting the top talent in these new circumstances.
Here is a run-down of the top hiring trends that are influencing recruitment strategies for remote and hybrid workers in 2022:
12 Hiring Trends for 2022
1. Vaccine Mandates
Across 2021, employers faced the decision of whether to instate a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for their staff. Many were initially hesitant but, according to a Gartner survey, the number of companies willing to enforce a mandate increased to 46% due to the emergence of virus variants throughout the year.
Now we are in 2022, this has plateaued - with companies focusing on measures to keep employees safe at work rather than declaring a mandate. This is due to concerns around legal challenges, worries about an employee exodus, and the belief in employee choice.
2. Sitting is the New Smoking
During the pandemic, the shift to remote work caused an increase in the number of hours a day workers were sedentary, largely due to the lack of commuting activity. This has raised concerns about the increased health risks caused by a less active lifestyle.
To combat the impacts of being sat at a desk all day, employers are increasingly expected to provide the equipment (such as standing desks) and opportunities (such as 10-minute stretch breaks) to introduce more movement into the workday.
3. Shorter Work Weeks Over Salary Increases
Due to rising rates of inflation, real wages have declined. This means that the salary increases employers can offer to attract and retain employees are decreasing in their value.
Whilst some employers can afford to raise compensation to maintain the workforce they desire; other smaller organisations cannot match these wages.
Instead, these employers are reducing hours to compete for talent, offering 32 hour work weeks for the same level of compensation as the previous full-time number of hours.
To ensure they are recruiting and retaining top talent throughout 2022, companies will need to remain competitive, whether through higher remuneration packages or shorter work weeks.
4. Use of Online Skills Testing
With the increase in remote working, recruitment has also had to shift towards becoming a remote, digitised process. During the pandemic, employers were not able to run their usual in-person assessment centres and interviews.
The increase in the geographical radius of the employee base, caused by the increased number of job listings that allow remote working, also means that face-to-face testing and evaluations continue to not always be possible.
Online psychometric and skills testing has been trusted by large numbers of employers for many years, to ensure the best talent is recruited for vacant roles. The events of the last two years have, however, increased the demand for online testing, which is becoming a commonplace part of the hiring process.
Online skills testing is efficient and effective. Easy to administer to large candidate cohorts, the tests help to streamline the hiring process by saving recruitment teams time and money.
They are also deemed to be more objective and therefore help to ensure a fairer, unbiased recruitment process. The test results quickly show which candidates should progress, based on ability around key skills that have been identified as important for the role in question.
Tests can be tailored to an employer's needs and an assessment package can be created, so prospective employees are evaluated across a range of specific skills, such as written communication, mathematical ability and logic, through verbal, numerical, diagrammatic and abstract reasoning tests.
5. Changes to Job Classifications
During the first year of the pandemic, job vacancies were necessarily listed as remote, but the description often highlighted the temporary nature of that arrangement. They were framed in this way to cover the eventual plan for employees to return to work from a central office location.
Now, due to the increased acclimatisation of remote working, a larger proportion of highly skilled professionals are seeking remote roles. This means that the indication that the remote working status of a position may only be temporary can discourage applications.
Remote working has increased the geographical radius of the potential talent pool. Job seekers with a preference for remote work are, though, unlikely to apply for a distance role if they are concerned they may need to relocate their lives or families to continue their careers.
To accommodate this shift and ensure they are receiving applications from top talent, many employers are reclassifying their temporary remote roles to either fully remote roles or positions with the option to either work from the office location or remotely.
According to a report by RSM, in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce, nearly half of companies polled have provided permanent full-time remote working options, whilst another 42% are considering adapting their existing job offerings to attract talent with a newfound preference for remote work.
6. Hybrid Work Opportunities
Following on from the above, there has also been an increase in reclassification to hybrid roles. These embrace the benefits of in-person collaborative days with the work team, whilst allowing for the freedom of remote working for three days a week, for example.
Hybrid work allows for an onsite employee presence and a touch in point with management, which is an attractive prospect for many employers. Some companies have offloaded the financial burden of a central office and opted instead to come together in a rented office space once or twice a week, drastically reducing overheads.
Hybrid working is also attractive to employees, as it allows for the social interaction afforded by an office job. Working remotely full time can be a lonely prospect, so hybrid working helps to provide a good balance between team working and independent productivity.
7. Deployment of Automated Screening Tools
To accommodate the shift to remote employment, the use of automated screening tools during the hiring process has increased. Automated screening platforms help to make recruitment more efficient and effective, reducing the time to hire and improving performance and retention rates by ensuring the right candidate is selected for the role.
Although automated screening was increasing in popularity pre-2020, the digital nature of the recruitment process, which now includes remote testing and video interviews as well as the usual online application form, has inspired many companies to make the shift to entirely digital, integrated screening platforms that automate the process from application to selection and beyond.
8. Virtual Onboarding
To accompany the remote nature of both roles and their recruitment process, employee onboarding has also seen a shift towards being conducted remotely. For many employees hired during the pandemic, in-person onboarding was not a possibility, so employers had to create virtual onboarding resources.
As it became clear the experience of pandemic remote working was engendering a longer-term shift in working modes and practices, many employers decided to invest in digital onboarding resources.
Virtual onboarding allows for the seamless integration of remote workers into company culture and ways of working, as well as providing the necessary pre-employment training in an efficient and cost-effective format.
Official processes, like reviewing company rules, regulations and procedures, and signing contracts, can be done digitally, reducing administration labour and the associated costs.
9. Fairness and Equity Issues for Organisations
Questions around fairness and equity are being increasingly prioritised by organisations, which is a positive step forward. These questions are arising in new ways related to race, climate, health and well-being.
Managing equity and fairness across all employees stands to be one of the most important issues for HR departments in 2022.
Employers face decisions around issues such as:
- Ensuring access to remote working opportunities is fair across teams and career grades
- Setting fair compensation levels for employees who, with remote working, may live in different geographies
- Compensation premiums - the premiums involved in hiring new employees can cause a pay imbalance when compared to the compensation of loyal, long-standing employees
- Targeted but potentially unequal benefits across the workforce. For example, employees without children may not access a proportion of the work benefits designed for families but receive no alternative benefits.
10. Wellness Metrics
Monitoring different metrics helps HR departments to understand how their employees are behaving and feeling. Metrics such as employee satisfaction and employee engagement are now being accompanied by additional measures to assess well-being and mental health.
After the pandemic brought to light the need for employers to do more to support their employees in terms of health and well-being, there has been greater investment into programs that support mental, physical and financial well-being. This reflects a concerted effort to ensure employees have access to assistance should they require it.
Increased employee well-being has been shown to translate into better performance and increased retention rates, so well-being is not only crucial for personal satisfaction and health, but for the health of business too.
11. Chief Purpose Officer Will be the Next Major C-level Role
The increasing permeation of social, cultural and political debates into the workplace has catalysed the creation of a new C-level role - Chief Purpose Officer.
An organisation's role in society has been put under increased scrutiny over the last two years, with employees, clients and the public showing an interest in how companies interact with both their workforce and the communities they impact, alongside their wider environmental and social contributions.
Engaging in societal and political debates is not only important to ensure employee satisfaction, it is now key to maintaining productivity. A Gartner survey found employee engagement can fall by as much as a third when employees feel disheartened by their employer's stance on key societal, political and environmental issues.
12. Stay interviews
Stay interviews are becoming a popular trend in HR to ensure employees stay loyal to their employer. They are conducted in a similar structure to an interview to help managers and HR teams understand why employees stay and what might cause them to quit.
Stay interviews is something HR teams should consider implementing into their retention strategy.