Staffing Trends to Watch in 2024

By: Heather Moyer, March 26th, 2024

Layoffs, new and advanced technologies, talent shortages and a challenging economic climate heavily impacted hiring last year, and experts are anticipating much of the same staffing industry trends in 2024, especially in the staying power of remote work, skill-based hiring, and the impact of AI and automation.

The outlook is positive, though, and is marked with optimism. “As economies rebound and industries rebuild, companies prepare for growth, creating a heightened demand for skilled professionals. This positive outlook is demonstrated by increased job opportunities across various sectors, creating a favorable environment for job seekers.”

A few of these 2024 staffing trends will be especially impactful and will be critical to watch.

Remote and Hybrid Work Are Here to Stay

Despite many mandates to return to the office, employees continue hybrid or remote work, enabled by the changing nature of work. “The office should be a magnet, not a mandate,” says Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer of Cisco, in Forbes.

Remote and hybrid work also opens recruitment to a larger and more diverse pool of talent as well. Analyses of LinkedIn’s data found that remote jobs are especially attractive to Black and Latino workers, especially women. From January 2019 to October 2022, “Black workers led the way with a 24% increase and Latino workers experienced a 5% increase in the share of confirmed hires. This makes remote jobs a compelling solution for companies who want to diversify their workforce.” The share of women applying to remote jobs also increase 20% year-over-year, with a 10% in the share of women accepting remote roles.

The other side of this coin is that with the increased productivity, blurred lines between work and home life, and potential isolation, companies will also have to work harder at keeping employees engaged and finding meaningful ways to do so from afar.

Upskilling & Reskilling The Workforce

The challenging economic landscape means, however, that filling skills gaps from within the existing workforce will continue to be the ideal approach, saving on the costs associated with employee turnover.

New technologies have evolved the way employees are working, improving productivity, and requiring an expansion of or even new skills. By investing upskilling and reskilling, companies can both offer employees opportunities for professional development and career growth as well as ensuring the business is adaptable to changing demands and needs.

Regardless of where that training comes from, workers will need to acquire those new skills to stay competitive, as automation and Generative AI, for example, continue to evolve the nature of work. “Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027, but only half of workers are seen to have access to adequate training opportunities today,” according to the Future of Jobs Report 2023 from the World Economic Forum.

The Rise of AI and Automation

Despite the fear of robots replacing humans, technology is changing the work, not replacing the workers, as the Deloitte AI Institute puts it in their Generative AI and the Future of Work report. “executives should begin to consider “futureproofing” the Generative AI-enabled workforce because work is apt to shift quickly, and workers will need new skills. The Generative AI revolution holds enormous opportunities for organizations that prepare to adapt and evolve.”

Because of broader accessibility, new technologies are reaching peak adoption faster. For example, it took 2.5 years for Instagram to reach 100 million monthly users, 9 months for TikTok, and just 2 months for ChatGPT.

As the work changes, recruiting will have to adapt accordingly. Though jobs in office support, customer service, and food service are expected to shrink in demand, industries like healthcare and STEM will expand.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Remote and hybrid work opens up the opportunity to hire from a broader, more diverse talent pool. “Remote work listings also open the door to neurodiversity, to people with physical disabilities, and to individuals with unique scheduling or caregiving needs that prevent them from being present in an office.”

But HR professionals and companies will need to continue focusing on creating inclusive and welcoming environments, both virtually and in person. Empowering and enabling employees to connect and collaborate effectively impacts productivity and performance, but belonging and mental health in the workplace are impact greatly as well.

As workforces actually evolve and begin to look different in response to missions and initiatives, policies and programs will also need to adapt to address potentially new and different needs and preferences. Organizations’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) with be tested, and HR professionals will potentially need to evoke new skills to step up.

Skills-Based Hiring On The Rise

As companies focus on adaptability and agility in the face of continuous innovation and evolution in work, they will need to hire employees equipped not only for today’s demands for those possible tomorrow as well. This means looking past the resume standards of education and experience and focusing on specific skills and competencies to assess abilities and potential. 

Shifting to skills-based recruitment requires buy-in from hiring managers as well, making it a larger change management issue as well. “HR, working closely with hiring managers, will need to conduct a skills analysis for each role to understand the core skills needed on day one and the ones that can be taught later, as well as a matrix for all roles to determine which skills are essential for progression in the organization,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

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