US Job Insights for the First Half of 2022

To provide accurate and timely employment forecasts for business leaders, Express Employment Professionals International Headquarters commissions an ongoing Job Insights survey to track employment and hiring trends across a wide range of industries.

INSIGHT: Hiring Rebounds as Outlook for the First Half of 2022 Trends Upward
As the economy moves past challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. hiring decision-makers are becoming more positive about the future of the workforce, with the most common feelings attributed to hiring in 2022 being optimistic (44%), hopeful (43%), and confident (43%). According to hiring decision-makers, in the first half of 2022:

  • 60% plan to increase the number of employees at their company
  • 33% expect no change to the number of employees
  • 4% anticipate a decrease in employee count

INSIGHT: Soft Skills Are Deemed Essential with Candidates, Reskilling a Focus for Employees
With a hiring push expected in 2022, hiring managers turn their focus to looking for candidates with specific soft skills. When asked what soft skills were absolutely essential or very important, more than 8 in 10 U.S. hiring decision-makers look for a willingness to learn as the top trait (86%), while dependability (85%) is the second most important skill.

Other sought-after soft skills hiring managers look for are:

  • Communication skills (84%)
  • Problem solving skills (82%)
  • Adaptability (81%)
  • Initiative (79%)
  • Critical thinking (78%)

A new trend growing among organizations is the preference of reskilling current workforces for new challenges. Three-quarters (75%) say they would prefer to reskill current employees for new roles than hire brand new talent. To that point, nearly two-thirds of U.S. hiring decision-makers (65%) say their company plans to reskill any employees (i.e., train a current employee for a new position or teach them new skills for their current role) in 2022.

Companies planning on reskilling in 2022 will do so through a range of options, including:

  • Offering company-led training sessions or programs (68%)
  • Providing on-the-job training by other employees (54%)
  • Partnering with a third-party that offers trainings or courses (46%)

INSIGHT: Companies Continue to Battle Supply Chain Woes
While organizations were forced to adapt to navigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, they also faced global supply chain issues causing a bottlenecking of goods as demand rebounded. However, this continued battle is now affecting the hiring process.

Around 3 in 5 U.S. hiring decision-makers (61%) say their company has had to alter their hiring practices because of the national supply chain issue and report it will negatively impact their company’s growth. In an effort to counteract the new hurdle for hiring, more than half (56%) report they have had to relax their hiring requirements due to the supply chain issue. And, around a third (32%) say they have hired specifically for logistics/supply chain positions this year.

The manufacturing industry has been hardest hit by continued supply chain woes, as 74% of hiring managers say their company has had to alter their hiring practices because of the national supply chain issue. The service industry was a close second with 71% reporting similar issues. Both industries are also having to relax their hiring requirements during the ongoing supply chain crisis, with 68% in manufacturing and 64% in the services industries.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between Nov. 10 and Dec. 2, 2021 among 1,009 US hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the US who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

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