Job Market Trends to Watch In 2018

Glassdoor's chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, reveals five trends in the labor market that will disrupt the way companies attract, hire and retain employees in 2018. Let’s take a closer look.

January 17, 2018 – 2017 was a landmark year for hiring. Despite two major hurricanes and political turmoil in Washington, D.C., the U.S. economy forged ahead, adding more than 1.9 million new jobs and pushing stock markets to an all-time record high. After eight years of steady jobs growth, the nation’s unemployment rate hit a 17-year low this year. But there is more to the jobs picture than numbers alone. Change is afoot in how roles are created, found, applied for and won.

What are the next big disruptors in jobs and hiring? Glassdoor‘s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, recently revealed five trends in the labor market that will disrupt how companies attract, hire and retain employees this year, as well as the biggest job trends. These insights are part of Glassdoor’s What’s Ahead for Jobs? Five Disruptions to Watch in 2018, in which Dr. Chamberlain forecasts the future for work and hiring.

“This year has been good for many – but not all – workers,” said Mr. Chamberlain. “Job seekers who’ve mastered key skills in data science, software development and health professions are seeing rising pay and benefits. At the same time, average wages for many remain stubbornly flat. Despite a healthy job market overall, job growth is sharply divided, with tech skills earning a premium and others being left behind by rising AI and automation.”

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Glassdoor highlighted five big trends in the labor market that it believes are likely to unfold this year and beyond. Some are already in play, and each is expected to accelerate in the coming years, disrupting how companies attract, hire and retain talent.

1. Bracing for AI in HR and Finance

When it comes to the future of work, AI and automation are poised to impact nearly every facet of the workforce in some way. But Glassdoor cited two industries as being particularly ripe for big changes in 2018 thanks to AI technology: talent acquisition and finance.

In the HR world, a growing list of vendors like Entelo, Textkernal and HiringSolved are offering AI solutions to help recruiters sort through oceans of resumes for candidates, make predictive matches between job seekers and roles using data, and correct biases in the language used in job descriptions. There are even AI bots that handle repetitive and easy-to-automate tasks like scheduling candidate interviews.

Rather than replacing HR experts, new AI tools are complementing people’s skills. AI is taking over low-value aspects of many HR jobs, allowing professionals to focus on higher-value uses of their time. AI tools have the potential to help companies identify hard-to-find candidates at scale, correct subtle gender and other biases in hiring, and provide powerful and scalable solutions to the growing problem of “resume overload” facing HR teams. Many AI solutions today are affordable and easy-to-use, and Glassdoor expected to see much broader adoption in recruiting and HR in 2018 and beyond.

Related: How Companies are Preparing for the Future of Work

A second industry that’s ripe for AI-related disruption this year is financial services. On Wall Street, many jobs still involve routine tasks like suggesting financial bets, developing hedges and executing trades – jobs that can increasingly be done with machine-learning software. Greater reliance on AI in portfolio management, credit analysis and risk management is upending many established roles in finance. Glassdoor expected this trend to accelerate as prices fall and ease of use improves for AI solutions in finance.

2018 Predictions for Talent Acquisition Professionals
The future of talent acquisition will be more personal, more segmented, more strategic and more driven by an up-and-coming generation, according to Korn Ferry Futurestep experts. Driving change in 2018 and beyond, said Futurestep’s CEO, will be the rapid pace of technological advancement.

2. Bringing Transparency to the Application Process

Workplaces today are far more transparent than a generation ago. Yet one aspect of work that’s far behind the curve of transparency is the job application and interview process, said Glassdoor.

Online application processes are notoriously opaque. Once job seekers submit resumes online there’s often little transparency about what happens next, the timing for the process, whether resumes have been reviewed or not, why they are rejected or not, and whether the role has been filled or remains open. This lack of transparency is a major pain point for job seekers today. In an era when consumers can easily track every step in a FedEx delivery process – from a mobile device – it strikes most job seekers today as archaic to be unable to track the status of a potentially life-changing job application in real time.

Glassdoor said it expects more employers this year to embrace transparency in the application process, partly as a way to differentiate themselves in the competition for talent. After all, the technical infrastructure to allow “package-tracking”-style updates on job applications has been in place for many years at most large employers – it’s just a matter of repackaging data from existing applicant tracking software and opening it up to job seekers, said the report.

3. Tapping Employee Passion through Role Experimentation

Employees go through a natural career journey at companies. Once hired into a role, they typically want to mature into new positions over time – either upward through promotions in the same role, or laterally into a new role as employees develop new skills and career aspirations.

Most companies today have good processes for upward promotion within the same job family, said Glassdoor. But what about employees looking for horizontal moves into new jobs, such as an operations expert who aspires to become a digital marketer, or an accountant who aims to become a data scientist? While lateral role changes are common, few companies have a formal program in place to encourage and support them. And too often, that creates a lack of perceived career opportunities, prompting valuable talent to depart for outside offers.

Glassdoor said that this year more employers will begin filling this gap by embracing formal “role experimentation” programs to help facilitate more lateral job changes. By establishing clearer pathways for internal job moves, companies have an opportunity to tap into the changing skills and passions of their workforce, help reduce turnover and do a better job of matching proven employees with their most productive role inside an organization.

4. Smoothing Out Bumps in Mobile Job Search

The way Americans look for jobs has radically changed in recent decades, Glassdoor pointed out. In the late 1990s, early job boards for the first time began moving jobs online and away from newspaper classifieds. Two decades later, booming mobile devices have again disrupted job searching, with a skyrocketing number of Americans searching for and applying to jobs on the go from mobile phones and tablets.

Related: How Companies Can Build Up Their Defenses Against Talent Raids

Today, more than half of Glassdoor’s visits each month come from job seekers on a mobile device – a huge fraction of our roughly 48 million unique monthly users. Much of the matching between people and jobs that helps drive the U.S. economy is happening on mobile devices.

Companies Have Aggressive Hiring Plans for 2018
The hiring outlook for 2018 is the best the U.S. has seen in over a decade with 44 percent of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent employees in the new year and half (51 percent) expecting to hire temporary employees, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast.

Although mobile job search is on the rise, mobile job application experiences remain painful for most job seekers. Mobile job experiences are plagued by complicated online forms, unnecessary passwords and required fields, and forms that often ask for information that already appears on resumes.

Why are there so many speed bumps for mobile applications? Most of today’s big applicant tracking systems (ATS) that companies use to manage online hiring involve legacy enterprise software built for the pre-mobile era. Despite decades of innovation elsewhere in HR tech, the mobile hiring processes for most ATS remains cumbersome, outdated and frustrating for mobile job seekers.

In 2018 and beyond, Glassdoor said it expects to see big improvements in mobile job experiences. A huge segment of the matching of people and jobs that drives the U.S. labor market is moving toward mobile. That market today is finally mature enough to make it profitable for more companies to finally invest in fixing broken mobile job application processes.

5. The Changing Face of Job Creation in America

Throughout their careers, most job seekers experience but a small corner of the labor market. What sectors are positioned to grow fastest in 2018? And how should employers and job seekers brace for these changes?

Related: Hiring to Ramp Up Quickly Heading Into 2018

Overall, Glassdoor said, healthcare is the one sector that casts a shadow over all others in terms of likely job growth. Of the 15 roles projected to add the most jobs in the next decade, four are in healthcare. More than 1.1 million new jobs are expected for home healthcare aides between 2016 and 2026. Similarly, registered nurses, medical assistants, and nursing assistants all appear as top roles for job growth.

The reason? Demographics. As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, they are spending heavily on healthcare to improve their quality of life. For employers, this means that filling healthcare roles should remain a challenge in 2018, thanks to rising demand throughout the nation. And for job seekers, this trend means any investments in health-related skills are likely to pay off in their career for decades to come.

The other hiring trend Glassdoor expected to see continue in 2018 is growing tech hiring in “non-tech” industries. According to Department of Labor projections, software developer is projected to be among the fastest growing jobs in the next decade, adding an estimated 253,400 new jobs by 2026.

Glassdoor’s research shows that many of these jobs are likely to be added in retail, finance, manufacturing, consulting, and biotech — often by more traditional employers located far from Silicon Valley. For employers, the growing need to hire tech talent is forcing HR teams to rethink many aspects of their employer brand — their mix of perks and benefits, their management styles, openness to more flexible work environments and more — in order to attract in-demand tech workers. For job seekers, this means many new career paths will likely open this year and beyond for those with tech skills, as employers in a more diverse set of industries make investments in software and data to become more agile, automated and scalable.

Related: Hunt Scanlon’s 10 Most Important Recruiting Stories of 2017

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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