Experts weigh in on this year’s hiring trends and insights for next year.
As we reflect on the past year and look toward 2024, it’s evident that the world of work has experienced significant shifts. The transition from the year of quiet quitting in 2022 to the year of corporate reckoning in 2023 has been particularly turbulent for many. Hiring trends in 2023, saw companies recalibrating their workforce with layoffs and introducing back-to-office mandates, a sense of hesitancy permeated the job market. To gain a deeper understanding of what the future holds for hiring practices, we tapped into the knowledge of industry experts who shared their insights and predictions for the year 2024. From a reckoning in employee experience to the rise of AI in recruiting, we unpack what professionals can expect in the ever-changing job market.
Year of Corporate Reckoning Continues
In 2023, businesses faced a wake-up call as they navigated through economic headwinds. Companies that had expanded rapidly during the boom years found themselves overstaffed and were forced to make tough decisions, leading to layoffs across various sectors. Additionally, the push for employees to return to the office met with resistance from a workforce that had grown accustomed to the flexibilities of remote work.
Future of work and career expert Dr. Lauren Pasquarella Daley warns of an employee experience reckoning. She believes that companies that reduce flexibility and care for employees in 2023 will face repercussions in the hiring arena as their reputation among potential hires takes a hit.
“I think companies and leaders went too far this year doing away with flexibility and care to their employees, and it will come back to bite this in 2024 when they need to hire again,” says Daley.
2023 Hiring Trends: Caution Meets Opportunity
As we cast our gaze into 2024, experts offer varied insights into what the future holds for hiring and employment trends. Tech Recruiter and author Jonathan Kidder envisions a year of heightened hiring activity with a note of caution due to the upcoming election year.
Kristen Forti, CEO of Epitome Executive Search predicts a continuation of the hesitant job market, characterized by a slower pace in filling leadership roles and a wait-and-see approach from both employers and candidates.
Forti reflected on the environment, saying, “There are leadership opportunities out there, but there’s a slower pace of filling them and a lot of ‘wait and see’ behavior on both the employer and candidate side.”
Kelly Monahan is a Managing Director at UpWork. She terms 2024 as the year of job disruption. David Fano, Founder and CEO of Teal, takes a more balanced view. He suggests that the year could be one where the value exchange between employers and candidates levels out, resulting in more deliberation from both sides around career decisions.
The Impact of AI on Hiring & Recruitment
2023 saw significant growth in AI’s capabilities, particularly in the career and job search space. Andrew Seaman is the Senior Managing Editor for Jobs and Career Development at LinkedIn. He believes AI integration will be THE major theme for 2024 hiring and recruiting.
AI’s role in recruiting has been expanding, and according to Johnathan Kidder, this trend will continue. He speculates that AI could play a more significant part in sourcing and outreach. That would impact not just the hiring process but also the job search strategies of executives.
“Executives should remain well-versed in AI’s influence on the hiring landscape, adjust their approaches to harness AI-driven tools effectively, take proactive steps to maintain a strong AI presence, and continually enhance their skill sets to stay competitive in the job market,” Kidder said.
Seaman believes AI capabilities in screening candidates will continue to evolve to include testing and other screenings. Kelly Monahan envisions AI augmenting the executive search by speeding up talent identification and even predicting candidate success. Companies may already have tools at their disposal to help with the changing AI landscape. “Executives should consider leveraging their existing people analytics data to help create executive assessments and prediction models.”
However, the use of AI isn’t without its challenges. Recruiting Brainfood’s Hung Lee warns of AI-enabled candidates overwhelming hiring systems with one-click applications. There is a need to rethink current recruitment processes to handle the surge. “Current recruitment processes are designed for a non-AI-enabled job seeker,” Lee said. With the ability to submit applications more widely and in less time, companies could see a significant increase in their candidate pool. “Our systems will not be able to handle it.”
Hiring Trends: Rise of Fractional Leadership
An interesting trend to watch is fractional executive hiring, which, according to Kelly Monahan, is likely to become more normalized. This approach allows a company to rent a C-suite executive for a specific project or transitional phase, offering organizations access to top talent while keeping overheads low. Companies continue to adapt to post-pandemic economic shifts and prioritize agility. Fractional roles provide an alternative that aligns with financial prudence and strategic flexibility.
The growth of fractional leadership is a trend that Anessa Fike, Founder & CEO of Fike and Co., has been at the forefront of for over a decade. She says it’s no wonder that this model is gaining traction. As the needs of organizations evolve, so does the archetype of leadership. Fractional roles are redefining what it means to be at the helm in innovative, scalable, and financially sustainable ways.
“Organizations looking for Fractional Leaders will find that they often ramp up quicker and can achieve more in less time because they’re used to diving into organizations in that way and making immediate impacts, they lessen the blow on the bottom line by providing impactful leadership and solutions in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive,” says Fike.
Increase in Creative Marketing Roles
David Fano shared his prediction that as traditional marketing costs rise, organic creative marketing roles will experience a surge in demand, enhancing the value of human creativity in the job market. The effectiveness of traditional paid advertising channels like Facebook and LinkedIn ads begins to wane due to cost increases and market saturation. This will likely lead companies to invest more in creative roles that can produce organic growth.
This shift places a premium on human creativity—something AI has yet to replicate with the depth and authenticity required in the marketing sphere. Roles that emphasize storytelling, brand development, and community engagement are expected to become highly valued as businesses seek to stand out and connect with their audiences in novel and meaningful ways.
Leadership in the Wake of Boomer Retirement
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population projections, about 12,000 people will turn 65 every day in the next year. That’s about 4.4 million in 2024. And by 2030, all boomers — those born from 1946 through 1964 — will be 65 or older.
Millions of boomers are reaching retirement age in 2024. As a result, there’s a call for Gen X and Millennial leaders to step up. Experts like Jonathan Kidder and Kristen Forti emphasize the importance of intergenerational collaboration, knowledge transfer, and respect for legacy systems while also bringing innovation and change.
Utilizing the lessons of previous generations can prove to be extremely valuable according to Kidder. “Identify experienced mentors who can offer guidance and share their wisdom. A mentor can provide valuable insights, help you navigate organizational politics, and provide constructive feedback on your leadership development.”
Advice for Up-and-Coming Leaders
For those looking to be considered for leadership succession, it’s about building a repertoire of human skills, being adaptable, and leveraging comfort with new technologies. As Andrew Seaman underscores, it’s crucial to build rapport across generations and be seen as a unifying leader. “Our workplaces are going to continue to be intergenerational. The next generation of leaders will need to speak to all age groups.”
Kelly Monahan reminds younger generations that change is also okay. “Listen to why things are done the way they are in an organization. Respect the legacy system, but don’t hesitate to create changes where needed.” She does warn not to disrupt the entire system while initiating change. “This can be accomplished through experiments, small pilots, and various testing ideas before scale implementation.”
Hiring Trends: Looking Ahead
The future of work is one of continuous adaptation. The trends and predictions for 2024 offer a roadmap for businesses and individuals alike to navigate the ever-evolving job market. By staying informed, embracing technology, and honing interpersonal skills, both employees and employers can position themselves for success in the coming year.
Dr. Lauren Pasquarella Daley, Future of Work and Career Expert
Andrew Seaman, Senior Managing Editor for Jobs and Career Development, LinkedIn