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Job Market Revelations and Surprises in the 2023 Time Capsule

In early 2023, we had a discussion with our very own Simon Evans-Jones, Country Manager Finland & Director of Recruitment at Intelligent Employment, to get his take on the topic of the future of work. With his extensive background as a seasoned expert in recruiting for future, sustainable technology segments, we got some truly valuable insights into emerging trends in the market. Find the article here. 

This time it’s the beginning of 2024 and we meet again, to take a glance in the rear mirror… As we revisit the trends predicted, our retrospective analysis reveals a blend of accurate foresights and surprising developments. This look back at 2023 not only confirms some of our expectations but also unveils unexpected shifts in the job market, offering a unique perspective on the dynamic nature of employment trends in the technology sector.

Let’s go back to 2023!

Talent Availability vs. Critical Skill Scarcity

One accurately predicted trend was the influx of talent in the job market. However, despite the increase in available candidates due to increased layoffs, the challenge wasn’t in the quantity but the quality of talent. Specifically, businesses struggled to find candidates with unique, critical skills. This scarcity became a pivotal issue, compounded by the high expectations of candidates and the often misaligned expectations between businesses and these sought-after professionals. Simon encapsulates this as a major trend of the year, emphasizing the tough negotiations and challenges in aligning business needs with candidate aspirations.

The Rising Importance of Soft Skills

Another accurate prediction was the growing emphasis on soft skills in hiring processes. Employers increasingly sought candidates with strong capabilities in critical thinking, complex decision-making, and emotional intelligence, recognizing these as key drivers of adaptability and resilience in a rapidly evolving sector.

Surprising Developments

Stability as a Key Factor

Simon observed a noticeable trend where candidates, instead of seeking opportunities in high-growth startups or roles offering rapid career progression, showed a preference for stable positions. This shift was largely influenced by the economic climate, with rising inflation and financial insecurity leading candidates to prioritize job security and stability. This trend was particularly evident in regions like Sweden, where candidates were negotiating away probationary periods for immediate full-term contracts, indicating a significant shift from previous years where the excitement of startups and fast-paced environments was more appealing.

Quiet Quitting Not as Prominent

The anticipated trend of ‘quiet quitting,’ where employees do the bare minimum required, did not materialize as expected in 2023. Contrary to predictions, the job market experienced a workforce that was engaged and motivated. Simon suggests that the economic and job market pressures may have played a role in this, as job security became more important. Employees were less likely to risk their positions by underperforming. This contradicts the earlier predictions of a disengaged workforce adopting a minimalist approach to their job responsibilities.

Three Key Takeaways from 2023

As we wrap up the twists and turns of the 2023 job market, we’ve identified three key takeaways that truly capture the essence of the year. 

  1. Evolving Candidate Motivations

There’s been a noticeable shift in what candidates value in their careers. Employers and recruiters need to stay attuned to these changing preferences, which now often prioritize job security and alignment with personal values over traditional incentives.

  1. Scarcity of Critical Skills 

Despite a larger pool of available talent due to market layoffs, there remains a significant gap in finding candidates with specialized skills and experience. This scarcity highlights the challenge in matching specific job requirements with suitable talent.

  1. Trend Towards In-House Recruitment 

More employers are opting to manage recruitment internally (‘DIY recruitment’) to control costs. However, this approach can lead to unforeseen expenses, highlighting the importance and cost-effectiveness of specialized recruitment services, especially for roles requiring niche skills.

Today’s market is shaped by economic shifts, technological developments, and social changes, making the difficult task of predicting job market trends even harder. 

Despite these challenges, Intelligent Employment is dedicated to its mission. 

We’re committed to adapting and innovating in the face of change, ensuring we offer the best recruitment services in sustainable technologies.  Our goal is to be a reliable growth partner and are well equipped to support employers to navigate through market changes and ensure their hiring success.