2021 was a difficult but pivotal year for tech workers and employers alike. We’ve got mixed news: 2022 will likely continue to be difficult but perhaps a little more, well, precedented.
Glassdoor released four predictions for the workplace of 2022 Wednesday based on data it gathered from reviews, salaries and conversations happening on its site, as well as economic trend data. Here’s what the career platform sees in the workplace crystal ball.
Hiring will continue to be extremely competitive
Chief among these predictions: Tech companies will continue to have trouble hiring in 2022, just as they did in 2021.
As of September 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were only 0.74 unemployed Americans for every job opening. Excluding temporary layoffs, that figure goes down to 0.63. Record numbers of people are quitting their jobs, and companies like Meta have been struggling to meet their 2021 engineering recruiting goals.
What explains the gap in available workers and open positions? For one, as a recent Pew study points out, work is no longer the meaning of life for a greater and growing number of Americans. People are realizing that there’s more to life than work, and they’re also realizing the ball’s in their court when it comes to what they’re willing to put up with at work and where they draw the line.
Companies will have to try harder to nab top talent. According to Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao, they need to look beyond temporary hiring bonuses to permanent wage increases, and consider benefits like tuition reimbursements, student loan assistance and remote work opportunities.
Employers would also do well to seek out nontraditional or overlooked candidates, like remote workers, recent retirees, disabled workers or the formerly incarcerated, according to Zhao.
Top talent will continue to want to work remotely … and be paid top rates
Since the start of the pandemic, tech workers have been rethinking where they want to live and work. That’s going to continue to be the case in 2022, Glassdoor predicts, with more people moving out of major cities and insisting that they take their big-city salaries with them.
Companies hiring locally next year will also likely face stiff competition from companies that are posting remote-friendly positions. 20.4% of employers hiring locally in October 2021 were competing against remote jobs, up almost double from 10.3% in 2019, according to Glassdoor data. Zhao expects that figure to increase further in 2022.
2021 saw an increase in the trend toward “geo-neutral pay,” with companies from Spotify to Reddit pegging pay to top-tier market rates regardless of an employee’s location. More companies will likely join them in 2022.
Local companies will also have to pay more to compete with companies that are offering San Francisco or New York rates to remote workers, according to the report.
DEI accountability will matter more
Glassdoor’s third prediction: Employees and the public will continue to demand more action and accountability from companies on the DEI front. Companies will respond by reporting more of their diversity data.
Tech companies like Google and Apple have been early leaders in reporting their workplace demographic data as it relates to company diversity and inclusion efforts, and more organizations may be following their lead.
These reports are important because they are one way of holding these companies accountable, said Zhao. One particularly helpful metric that some companies are starting to make public: promotion rates by different demographic groups. Companies are starting to show breakdowns by gender, race and sexual orientation, but other groups to think about include parents, veterans and workers with disabilities, he added.
That being said, as Protocol’s own Diversity Tracker points out, collecting and and analyzing the tech industry’s diversity data is a tall order as diversity reports aren’t at all standardized, and each company has its own way of reporting diversity data. Some efforts have been made to increase standardization, but the industry as a whole is still not unified in its reporting methods.
Another data point that companies rarely share but Zhao would like to see: unadjusted gender pay gaps. Most companies in the U.S., when they do share their gender pay-gap data, only share the gap adjusted for factors like experience, tenure and title, but U.K.-based companies with 250 or more employees are required to report full gender pay-gap data as of 2017. Even if companies aren’t mandated to do so, reporting this data “can help drive accountability” and “is not necessarily something to be scared of,” he said.
Workplace community will thrive outside of the physical office
48% of employees have felt isolated from co-workers during the pandemic, according to a recent Glassdoor survey of U.S. workers. But with omicron dashing more and more return-to-work plans, many tech workers are still balancing a mix of in-person and remote work. So companies that want to retain and engage workers will need to learn ways to create community and culture outside of the four walls of the physical workspace, said Zhao.
The rise of remote work also comes with the risk of alienating remote workers who might not be in the same physical space as other employees. Companies from LinkedIn to Evernote have experimented with tools and policies to make sure their remote employees are given the same facetime and opportunity as in-office workers, but the challenge still exists.
“Employers need to be intentional about making sure that remote workers are staying connected and that they are facilitating community and connection even for their in-person workers,” he added.