Every workday is a high-wire act, as you deftly balance looming deadlines, shifting priorities and end of quarter goals—all of which leaves just enough time to keep your team on target and your talent pipeline stocked. Kudos! But wait – the New Year is quickly coming into view. Are you thinking about the trends that will impact your ability to find the talent you’ll need in 2018?
Worry not! Our goal here at Monster is to position you for success. To that end, we asked some top experts about the trends that will shape the year ahead, a year that is likely to see mounting uncertainty around federal law and policies and bring a historically tight labor market.
“Tight” is actually an understatement for the state of the labor market heading into 2018. In October, unemployment dipped to 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the first time in the 10-year history of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, job vacancies topped 6 million in summer 2017.
Buckle up and be ready for the challenges ahead by taking a few minutes to absorb the insights below.
Talk of tax changes looms large but will take time to coalesce. As Congress races to complete work before its holiday recess, numerous matters of concern to business are under consideration, from the debt ceiling to taxes. But “it’s optimistic to think that tax reform can get done this year, so companies will have time to adapt when and if legislation is enacted,” says Mike Aitken, vice president of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management.
Given the pressure of an election year, it’s possible that members of the House and Senate will pass some tax changes that would become effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Taxes, Trump, and a tight labor market could affect workforce strategy. With Trump administration policy on trade still evolving, employers will have to hedge their workforce deployment bets for 2018.
The withdrawal from or renegotiation of trade agreements such as NAFTA would mean redistributing the workforce geographically, creating voluminous work for human resources, says Aitken. “We need to think about how that plays out.”
Immigrant labor policy and work visas remain a great unknown. How employers—especially tech firms—will execute their plans to employ international talent in the United States in 2018 remains to be seen.
The take from the White House has varied. President Trump successfully applied to hire more foreign nationals to clean rooms and wait tables at his Mar-a-Lago Club for the 2017-2018 season. On the other hand, his administration recently made it more difficult for incumbent highly skilled H-1B and L-1 visa holders to renew their employment status, further stretching the very tight IT talent market.
Top talent will turn a cold shoulder to low-touch recruitment. Companies are moving their recruiters away from human interaction, and that’s a problem, says Chris Wunder, senior director of recruitment at Leap Hospitality. In 2018, many Millennials will judge the culture of companies, courting them in part by the quantity and quality of personal attention they receive throughout the recruitment process.
Employers will be forced to diversify their IT talent sourcing. Many top companies that have long recruited computer science majors from the top 50 university programs are switching to finding talent wherever they can, says Ashwin Bharath, chief operations and information officer at Revature. In 2018, another IT sourcing innovation will continue: mining for programming gold by recruiting talented IT folks who have found ways to learning coding and higher-level skills entirely outside the traditional higher education system.
More and more of your workers will need to know how to code. Just as more tasks in American business and industry are automated, more workers will be required to interact with computers in increasingly complex ways.
“A major sea change is that nearly every job, either now or in the near future, will require some level of software coding skills,” says Bharath. In the tight labor market of 2018, more employees in a variety of functional areas will challenge their employers to train employees in industry-relevant coding skills.
Given the trends above, it looks like many companies will continue a wait and see policy with their 2018 hiring strategy. “So many things are changing, companies are much less likely to pull the trigger on hiring. They’re running on lean teams for now,” says Wunder.
While that approach is tempting, it is likely to limit the growth potential of the enterprise and its workforce. “If you get caught up in the day-to-day of what’s going on in Washington, it can delay your organization’s plans for investments,” says Aitken. In other words, regardless of changing politics and policy, organizations should continue to make long-term plans.