2022 Trends: Workforce

There are five big picture topics I’m focused on this year – technology, supply chain, workforce, climate change, and the changing face of America. I’m sharing some of my candid thoughts and predictions for these five topics in a “2022 Trends” blog series – I’ve covered both technology and supply chain in the past few weeks. Today, I want to discuss the workforce.

The pandemic has shifted the relative power of the employee, particularly frontline employees and employers. With a very low unemployment rate (4.2%), 11.9 million open jobs, and 9 million job seekers, a constellation of conditions explains the mismatch of labor with jobs.

First, women have exited the workforce disproportionately under the strain of COVID— whether it was remote learning, then the uncertainty of keeping children in school; the perceived danger of returning to the office, or a frontline job; the lack of flexibility needed to make everything work; the relative improvement in many people’s financial condition post-pandemic (25% of children were lifted out of poverty due to federal and state government supports).

Second, children and childcare have emerged as salient issues. The United States is the only high-income nation that does not offer paid parental leave. Access to high-quality, affordable childcare is less available post pandemic than before the pandemic due to the insufficiency of federal and state support for childcare infrastructure. Access to childcare is an economic and human capital issue, not just “some mother’s problem.”

And third— how do new ways of doing business like remote work impact traditional in-person sectors like health care? Whatever the case may be, workers will continue to be in a strong negotiating position regarding work conditions, wages, and quality of life in 2022.

Loretto’s focus in 2022, as in previous years, is on recruiting and retaining top talent. Over the past two years, we have conducted several employee surveys. This year, we will be implementing our employees’ best ideas–manager training around resiliency and crisis management, and robust career ladders for our frontline staff, including advanced certifications and leadership training pegged to increases in wages. In this way, we hope to continue to make Loretto the employer of choice in a very competitive labor market.

Are there opportunities for you to improve upon your current recruitment strategy? Have you considered changes you could implement to improve worker retention?