Where 2021 was full of reactions to what was going on in the working world, the coming year is going to see a lot of these temporary adaptations becoming more long-lasting. This is good news for tech workers and those who are looking to shift careers into the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the workplace trends set to emerge in 2022.
Without wanting to get into all that, it’s clear that in the past two years the global working landscape has changed utterly for many. What our examination of cross-industry labor forecasts for the future has made clear is that some of these changes are here for the long-term. Overall, this should be music to the ears of many tech workers.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the biggest trends shaping the workplace in 2022, and what they mean for workers and career-changers.
Our seven workplace trends in 2022
1. Where we will work: Hybrid and remote-first
As 2021 proved to businesses that tech employees could be trusted to work remotely, it also showed that the majority of workers want to hold onto that. Quite simply, the benefits to their life (for example no commuting time) far outweighed the negative aspects such as a lack of genuine connection with their colleagues.
Just as the number of remote-first companies (such as here at CareerFoundry) have multiplied, even more are opting for a hybrid work model. Just like the name suggests, hybrid working typically requires employees to spend two or three days per week in an office, with the other two at home.
On a massive scale, this has led to the whole idea of office space being re-thought. Not having to play the commercial real-estate game of having a prestige workplace, as well as fewer workstations needed overall, will save companies big. However, it’s only natural that employees have a right to be compensated for this, particularly as they are now having to compromise by working from home. Coworking spaces can be a nice alternative to those for whom working from their home is a difficulty.
This overarching trend has affected many of the others we’ve picked for you, which we’ll take a look at now.
2. The Great Resignation is empowering workers
You have probably heard of the great resignation already. In fact, despite first arriving in 2021, “The Great Resignation” now has 1.9 billion results on Google. This is perhaps the biggest shift to affect the labor market in generations, and it’s an understatement to say that its effect on the workplace in 2022 will be seismic.
For career-changers, or those considering taking the leap, this should be heartening. While you may be worried about increased competition for roles, the opposite is happening, with the balance of power shifting towards the workers themselves. We’re seeing more and more people switch careers and make bold career decisions—very encouraging and inspirational if you’re considering a career change of your own.
On a wider level, the self-examination that The Great Resignation is provoking in employers is leading to far better working conditions, particularly in the tech industry. One of the even bigger effects is that the pre-accepted meaning of success in general being linked to job performance is being challenged. Particularly since the pandemic, workers are demanding a better work-life balance. The rise of the four-day work week in some companies is proof of this.
3. Employee Experience is an increasing priority for companies
Following on from the last trend, the huge amount of workers deciding “enough is enough” has sent shockwaves through the labor market. Companies are rightly taking a hard look at what their employees want when it comes to their working environment. Funnily enough, the answer is a lot more than “as much tea and coffee as you want!”—a common “perk” offered on job ads.
For companies looking to hire and retain staff in 2022 and onwards, ads like that have to be a thing of the past. What was once a tiny part of a HR department’s purview, Employee Experience is set to explode in significance in the next few years. In fact, an EY survey showed that one in three respondents predicted that employee experience will become the most important aspect of an effective HR strategy in 2022.
So, what kind of things are being offered by companies to improve EX? These can take the form of proper mental health support (something whose importance has only been made stark by the pandemic), enhanced sick leave, funding towards employees’ household costs, as well as other discounts, but also proactively giving employees more recognition for their work. As GetHowNow puts it, the age of weird office perks are over.
4. Supports for workers working remotely
Another important aspect of working life that a good EX strategy should address is making sure workers are well-equipped for their jobs. If employees are being expected to work from home even occasionally, they need to have all of the adequate tools for this. As well as a budget to set up their physical WFH area, this extends to the digital tools they need not only to connect remotely, but also effectively.
This can be recognition that endless hours of Zoom meetings aren’t actually effective, which leads to more productivity and prompt decision-making. The pandemic has led to a surge in demand for tools to help us collaborate more effectively online. From simple screen recorder Loom to virtual whiteboard workspace Miro, the coming year will see even more of these things integrated and added to the workplace, bringing real value.
5. Skills over roles
Overall, in 2022 jobseekers are going to very quickly see a change in how they are perceived. This is because of a wider change to how work itself is assessed. Those familiar with the tech industry would say that this has been going on for decades, with potential teammates being assessed not on what they have done but what they can do. Gartner have been banging this drum since 2019, calling for companies to start planning ahead by not building around roles but around the skills needed to achieve their goals.
Again, this should be music to the ears of those planning a career change. The feelings of inadequacy for a lack of “relevant” professional experience are a common fear for those weighing up a new field or role. Having it openly recognized in the industry that it’s your skills that matter more is hugely empowering. If you’re preparing for a major career change, do some research to find out which skills are most important to your future career.
6. Multigenerational workforces becoming the norm
We are living in the first era where there’s the potential for a wide range of generations in the same office at the same time. For management, this may create challenges in the form of working out how to ensure that team members born in the 50s and those born in the 00s gel with each other.
The plus side is that, once again for career-changers, another potential insecurity is being addressed. The Deloitte Postgenerational Workplace Study shows “the increasing importance of moving beyond broad demographic categories to understand people on a more meaningful level.” As we all know already, age is just a number—as well as having nothing to fear, in 2022, workers should be able to expect businesses to be more receptive to your particular needs.
7. AI will throw up career opportunities
“Wow—another ‘upcoming trends’ article talking about AI” I hear you moan, and believe me, normally I would agree. In a pleasant change, what’s promised in 2022 flips the preordained script. Instead of sentient robots coming to take your job, instead artificial intelligence is starting to create and even help you evolve your career.
First of all, industries across the globe have been using AI to help them scale up comfortably and efficiently. It’s no surprise that AI and data analytics are easy bedfellows, but you’d be surprised how many other opportunities this has created in tech. These can include web development and even UX design: in fact, UX writing for chatbots has become such a growth market you can even take a course specializing in it to become a highly employable UX writer in 2022.
More than that though, companies are also using AI to help employees develop their own careers. Pharma giant Sanofi, for example, has been using the program iMatch to help workers in its R&D department see what potential new roles in the company they might like, based on their skills.
The AI tool also helps show which skills still might be needed for certain roles, so that employees can direct their professional development. Given that internal promotion and movement is also a trend you’ll be seeing more and more of, expect genuinely helpful tools like iMatch to grow.
These are just a snapshot of some of the major features of the new workplace landscape that we’re going to see emerging in 2022. Despite it looking unlikely over the past while, a lot of them are empowering for both career changers and those weighing up a move.
There’s never been a better time to pursue a career you love, and even make a complete switch to a career in tech. If you’d like to learn more, these guides will help you: