The last couple of years has been pivotal in the world of work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought major disruption to the workplace with lockdowns and travel restrictions.
A more remotely connected home-based workforce is driving a new acceptance of distributed “hybrid workplaces” where smaller offices support hot-desking and occasional meeting spaces with most employees working remotely and being supported by video conferencing networks like Zoom and Teams.
COP26 has created an increased focus on reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Much of the technological innovations will be driven by engineers in a wide range of disciplines.
The Infrastructure Act is intended to rebuild a huge swath of the nation’s infrastructure with a focus on bridges, roads, environment and transport networks. This will boost demand for all of the construction related engineering disciplines.
Make no mistake, 2022 will be a roller coaster ride.
The pandemic is still calling the shots but there are great opportunities for construction and related engineering businesses. Information technology will continue to disrupt traditional business models.
Much of this will put upward pressure on wages as good talent will be hard to find.
So here are some tips on where the job trends in Engineering, IT and Management are going and how to capitalize on the ups and mitigate the downs.
The Infrastructure Act
The Infrastructure Act is going to create a significant increase in demand for engineers. This will primarily affect civil and environmental engineering, but all the supporting professions and supply chains are going to be buoyed up by this initiative.
Engineering companies will see a boost to the order books but there will also be a need to find the talent to fulfill the workload. Universities and Colleges will be stretched and finding the best candidates will become a challenge.
The dominance of e-commerce over brick-and-mortar businesses is not just moving money online. Retail and online services are also grabbing increasing volumes of data. Cloud services and “always-on connectivity” is driving great opportunities for the IT sector. Data is not just a resource; it is a commodity. There are great opportunities for businesses that can harness the recent advances in artificial intelligence to “connect the dots” in big data.
Blockchain is the technology at the heart of crypto-currencies and is designed to create trust-free trading environments that are fundamentally changing the way data is valued and managed. By creating unalterable records in its publicly available ledgers, it’s able to support access control mechanisms like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and entire enterprise management structures via DAOs (digitally autonomous organizations). There are already many software development and data services companies that are effectively owned and operated by everyone that works there.
Automation and artificial intelligence have already made big inroads on the more manual processes in factory work but it is now moving into the professions.
According to the World Economic Forum this is not as simple as job redundancies but will require reskilling and a new approach to task management and workplace education :
“Forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.”
Businesses that can build resilience into their workforce and provide support for a wider range of soft skills and reskilling will find employee retention easier and be more attractive to the best talent.
Welcome to the “Metaverse”
The general acceptance of remote working via Zoom and the steady progress being made in virtual and augmented reality is starting to get some of the big players interested.
When Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of his company to Meta as a reference to the Metaverse recently, a lot of people suddenly got interested. “The Metaverse” is a term coined by Neal Stevenson in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. It’s being developed as an immersive navigation and social interaction medium for a blockchain-driven Web 3.0.
If you are at the heart of this new technological revolution, then there are great opportunities for you to not only work on the development and programming but also to explain this to other businesses and the public. Finding new talent to carry out the work will involve competing with some very lean and agile startups.
Much Flatter Business Hierarchies
We’re going to see some significant movements towards much “flatter” management structures and a greater emphasis on skills rather than roles. The best managers and HR talent will need to adapt to a radical change in work practices. Again, this is an opportunity for businesses with the right mindset.
Clock watching, central offices, and micro-managing the workforce are not going to cut it.
2022 Is Going to Be All About Resilience
With a substantial increase in demand for most engineering and IT talent, the competition for the best candidates will be fierce. Here is a three-part approach that should help you retain your existing employees, develop talent internally, and be attractive to the best new candidates.
This does not have to involve huge pay raises but doing everything you can to enhance job satisfaction is going to go a long way to persuade your existing employees to stick with you.
Of course, a key element of job satisfaction is the ability to see a clear career progression path. If you do all you can to identify those with valuable skills that are being undervalued and help them to develop within the organization this will be a win/win. You’ll have a motivated workforce and reduced need for recruitment.
High schools, colleges, and universities will have to play their part in supplying an increasing number of candidates equipped with their bachelor’s degrees and a desire to make a difference in the world.
Many educational establishments have outreach programs and are always keen to work with local businesses to provide internships and real-world project work. If you get involved early, you will be in a “pole position” to attract some of the best candidates that may already have experienced your wonderful working conditions and be ready to help your business thrive.
Whatever 2022 and beyond delivers, StepUp Recruiting has got you covered. With a wide range of skills and contacts, we can help you compete and win the best talent for your business.