Four Talent Trends to Act on in 2023

Four Talent Trends to Act on in 2023

We are just days away from shutting down what has felt like a rollercoaster of a year and one of the most competitive time periods I’ve ever seen for recruitment.  And now, as the economy shifts, many CEOs we work with are asking if recruiting will get less competitive, if executive salaries will normalize again, and if anyone will ever come back to the office full-time. Yes, people are still asking that.

While I don’t have all of the answers (especially the office one), I do have an insider’s look at the talent market and what candidates and hiring leaders are thinking about that can inform your strategy for 2023.

Here’s what we’re predicting and how you can take action to stay ahead of the curve:

1. Candidates prioritizing people over pay. Top talent had the upper hand this year, demanding high salaries, flexible work schedules, and unlimited everything. Now, even with the economic uncertainty, talent still has the upper hand. And while compensation and work/life balance continue to rank as the top two priorities for today's talent according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends, October 2022 report, what is shifting is their realization that money and flexibility matter but not as much as the people and leadership they are working with.  We are seeing a trend where candidates are prioritizing people first, meaning they’re willing to leave money on the table to work with a CEO and team they deeply believe in.

  • How to activate:  Get transparent.  If you are looking for your next great long-term hire or seeking a position for the next five years of your career, transparency is critical. Hiring managers need to be realistic about where their business is today, the headwinds in front of them, and what they are looking for this candidate to solve.  They need to open the curtain (and the books, when appropriate) to transparently show candidates what they are signing up for and the type of character traits needed to succeed in the company.  In turn, candidates need to be very open about what they are seeking in their career, where their strengths lie, areas for improvement, and the type of culture they thrive in.  Both sides will appreciate the open dialogue and, through transparent conversations, TRUST is being built. Trust is the key to building long-term, successful relationships and establishing it during the recruiting process will help the candidate lean in even more.

2. Competition for diverse talent is getting increasingly steep. CEOs have realized that building diverse leadership teams brings tremendous value to a company in several different ways. With executives finally leaning into diversifying their leadership teams, the competition is steep for top, diverse talent.

  • How to activate: Prioritize networking and start building your bench BEFORE you need to hire.  Anyone who knows me knows that I deeply believe in building your bench and that all leaders should always carveout time weekly to network with top talent and future target hires.  Your company may not need a CMO today but take the time to personally get to know the best CMOs in the world, plus the emerging talent out there, and you have a greater chance of recruiting one of them when the time is right.

3. Layoffs are increasing. There are countless companies right now preparing for layoffs in January and continuing into the foreseeable future.  After these bloated years, cost-cutting needs to happen. This is the third downturn I have been in and there are big silver linings to these times. It’s when you discover who the real warriors are. The best companies not only survive in these times but thrive.  

  • How to activate:  Get better and work harder.  I mean that for everyone and I am not being Elon Musk or Kim Kardashian, I am simply being realistic that hard work will always win. This statement is absolutely not about the time you clock but instead, the outcomes you produce. Leaders need to find ways to quantify and measure productivity vs. hours and team members need to think about how they are measurably contributing to the company and the bottom line. This is a time to be a warrior, not a time to worry. This is a hard message to deliver but it is the truth. If you want to win for your company or win for your career, self-evaluate and become a warrior.

4. Candidates seeking more security vs. the instability of start-ups. With venture funding coming to a screeching halt and warnings from all of the top VCs to pause hiring, top talent is shying away from the high-risk world of start-ups. The reason has less to do with their appetite for risk, or the opportunity within the company, but more to do with their prioritization of family and lifestyle.

  • How to activate:  For hiring leaders, showcase stability, financial security and the work-life balance your company will deliver. Really understand who you are hiring and what makes them tick. I have found that it is a rare executive who can be successful at all types of companies. You must get to know them as deeply as you can during the interview process to find out who has the most potential to be successful at yours. When the hire is not a good fit, it could set you back months and in these times, there is zero space for not getting it right. As a candidate, don’t shy away from a start-up thinking the grass is greener in an established brand. I’ve worked at great start-ups while raising my kids and I have worked at Fortune 500 companies. Both have their pros and cons. The secret is to understand what environment gives you the most joy and then find a company that is exciting to you and has a leadership team you can get behind.