During the pandemic, employees put their careers on the line. Is 2022 a good year for change? HR experts provide a forward-looking outlook.
Now something new is needed: this impulse currently accompanies many employees. Four out of ten workers are considering changing jobs. 37 percent are open to a new job in 2022 or have already taken concrete steps, according to a survey conducted by Opportunity in January among 1,000 quality employees on behalf of Xing E-Recruiting.
These numbers indicate movement in the labor market. But: What developments should job changers consider now? What can applicants ask for, and what do they need to bring with them? HR experts dare to take a look.
Opportunities in the candidate market are good
In principle, experts from major personnel service providers see good opportunities for job-changers in Germany in 2022. “Even during Corona, the shortage of skilled workers has not decreased in Germany,” says Heinz Ostermann, a recruitment expert at the Federal Employers Association of Personnel Service Providers. Almost all levels of qualification. “As a student, this would give me confidence.”
After the initial great uncertainty after the start of the pandemic, most companies escaped the “shock” again, including Marilyn Pullman, managing director at recruitment firm Robert Half. “This has made it all a lot safer and you can still see that it’s a really complete filter market.” Companies are often in a ‘talent war’.
Many job vacancies and companies are actively looking for new candidates. “Of course, this has the positive effect that some who want to change their careers now have very good cards and are in very high demand.”
At the same time, the pandemic has been a time for many to “really rethink everything in their lives.” Are you still happy with everything the way it is? Is this still a job I want? “You can already tell that the desire for change is much higher now,” Polman says.
According to Christoph Neuwirth, chief operating officer of the board of directors of recruitment firm Hays, qualifications remain important despite the positive mood. The faster you digitize or automate an activity, the more stress that must be replaced.
Application and setup processes remain digital
The epidemic has changed a lot, and most of them have experienced it themselves. According to Pöhlmann, applicants will have to adapt to digital job interviews and digital qualification in the future.
This does not only apply to highly qualified or knowledgeable jobs. At all levels of qualification, it can be seen that in-person job interviews are gradually giving way to digital interviews. “As an applicant, I simply have to fit in,” Ostermann says.
Ideally, you should check your appearance in the mirror, for example, and find out in advance on the Internet how to appear in front of the camera. “You also put effort into face-to-face interviews, and that shouldn’t be any different with digital job interviews.”
Mobile work has become the norm
Working from home regularly is something many experienced for the first time during the pandemic. Marilyn Pullman says that in “a huge number of job advertisements,” remote work is now the norm. Polmann says employers are increasingly open to hiring someone from Dresden or Nuremberg — even if the company is based in Berlin.
This allows a great deal of flexibility, but on the other hand it can be considered a negative development. When it comes to the question of why someone loves their job, the transition to the digital world can change a job a lot, according to the expert. “Managers must now attach special importance to how to strengthen team spirit.”
Of course, those who do not work in a desk job still have to commute to work. On the downside, the increased costs for travelers also have to be booked, according to Heinz Ostermann. This may become an obstacle to this group of jobs. “Anyone who doesn’t live in a big city, but in a small town or rural area, is dependent on individual transportation because of the lack of public transportation options. That could have an impact on the job market.”
Communication and self-regulation are crucial
Polman says future employees now have to come to terms with the world of digital work. According to the expert, this includes a certain amount of flexibility, the ability to think differently and agile, and the ability to say: “Yes, I can work efficiently in my home office and communicate with my superiors or with my team.”
Christoph Neuwirth also emphasizes the role of soft skills. The world of work is getting faster and faster, working methods are becoming more multidisciplinary, more flexible and independent. Anyone who expects to be able to work independently must also be able to reverse it in their own way of working.
According to Neuwirth, for example, independence, the ability to set goals for oneself, and the ability to work in a team are important interpersonal skills. “Flexibility is a big keyword,” the expert says. “Even if the company doesn’t require it, it requires work life and the rapidly changing world of work.”
Applicants can request flexibility
The majority of companies now have to adapt to the fact that where possible employees are demanding flexible working hours. According to Pöhlmann, applicants can certainly insist that the company is more adapted to their own circumstances.
“You don’t necessarily have to sit at your desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. anymore, but use the method: the project must be done by time X.” If you have a better time from 6pm to 10pm because the kids are in bed, then your employer should guarantee that for you as well.
Neuwirth says more training and qualification are also key issues. “Now, as an applicant, you should ask how the company is developing here.” How does the company find the balance between flexible work models and a good team structure in which it also feels integrated?
In this context, the question will also be important for future applicants: How will I support when it comes to well-being, i.e. mental and physical well-being? “How do I handle the challenge that I work a lot of time on my own, and often only see people by default?”
According to Neuwirth, many employers have to change here. “Companies have to make themselves really attractive and listen carefully: What do my people want? I think the company that listens best is the one that makes the best move.”
(This article was first published on Sunday, January 23, 2022.)