Newly released data from global job-search platform Indeed has confirmed what most people already suspected: that the cost-of-living crisis is shaping labor trends, and specifically what prospective employees want from their job.
While some findings were predictable – for example, there were more searches for “full-time no experience” positions, zero-hour contracts, and greater demand for weekly pay in the three months leading up to Jan. 2023 compared to the same period a year ago – the alarmingly steep rise in these areas might shock business leaders and human resources professionals.
For instance, in the U.K., searches on Indeed for zero-hour contracts were up 70%, requests for part-time work had increased by 65%, and “weekend-only” searches jumped 120%. Demand for weekly pay surged by 122%, “full-time no experience” searches rose 219%, and “support worker no experience” was 337% higher.
Ultimately, the results indicated that recruitment models, learning and development and employee experience should urgently be modernized to keep pace with and accommodate workers’ needs and wants.
Jack Kennedy, U.K. economist at Indeed, said the jobseekers’ top search terms gave “a snapshot of how financial pressures are impacting” the workforce.
The growth in searches for part-time and flexible roles, and work that required no previous experience showed “people are increasingly seeking jobs that enable them to bend around their personal lives, and likely their current work lives too,” Kennedy said.
Further, with work being sought for less-favorable time frames – weekends and night shifts, for example – plus zero-hour contracts, it indicated that people were looking for “a second or third job, or juggling new work alongside caring responsibilities to pay the ever-rising bills,” Kennedy added. He noted that this insight was tallied with the Office for National Statistics’ latest data, published in February, showing 1.22 million U.K. workers had more than one job – a figure that exceeded the pre-pandemic peak.
The Indeed results also hinted at a “desire among some jobseekers to start earning money quickly,” Kennedy added. This issue resonated with Florida-based Amy Glaser, svp of business operation at Zurich-headquartered staffing and recruiting consultancy Adecco. She pointed out that her company’s recent global survey found 61% of respondents felt their salary was not “high enough” to deal with inflationary pressures leading to 51% reporting they would have to seek supplementary income.
Businesses were feeling the pinch, too, said Glaser. She cited data from the Federal Bank of Atlanta that showed wages had soared 120% in 13 months, peaking at almost 7% last July.
“There is a limit to how high salaries can rise without impacting the bottom line,” argued Glaser. “So, we’re now seeing an uptick in flexibility.” As such, she advised companies to reconsider their stance on supplementary incomes for salaried workers.
“There was a time when having a second job may have been against company policy, or employers may not have been willing to cooperate with other job’s hours,” Glaser said. “But now, employers are willing to accommodate those who need or want to take on a second job.”
Indeed’s Kennedy agreed that businesses should “evolve recruitment” and rethink contracts to reflect “changing candidate needs.” He said: “If possible, businesses should consider accommodating employees who can’t commit to a conventional work schedule. Otherwise, they risk perpetuating staff shortages and missing out on valuable talent who require different arrangements.”
Glaser said another trend related to this point was a greater focus on upskilling and reskilling workers. “This helps employees take higher salary positions, and employers find skilled talent that they were otherwise struggling to find.”
Different ways of working
Kennedy built on the theme of upskilling and urged organizations to reduce the barrier of entry for some jobs. “The rising popularity of positions requiring no experience shows that businesses unable to fill workforce gaps should consider lowering or changing their job requirements to attract the talent they may not have previously considered, and then offering more on-the-job training,” he said.
New York resident Paul Wolfe, author of Human Beings First – and a former HR executive at Indeed, Condé Nast, and match.com – pondered to what extent the labor trends were being shaped by economic strain or whether something more seismic was happening – that employees have decided they simply want to work differently. “I think the labor market, in general, is shifting, and employees are exploring ways to live their best lives,” he added.
Dr. Roger Gewolb, CEO of U.K. loan comparison site FairMoney, developed this theory. “A social, cultural, and economical workplace shift, on a tectonic scale, is already underway,” he said. “Many employees today are changing from a working culture to a living culture with work as its supplement.”
Stressing the need for organizations to move with the times, Gewolb added: “Employers need to adjust to this megatrend – and fast.”