If you plan to expand your workforce this year, be ready to navigate a constantly changing and competitive hiring market. 2022 has kicked off with high demand for skilled talent and a limited supply of candidates. And professionals who are active in the job market are taking time to weigh their options and hold out for an offer that has most or all of what they seek.

Robert Half’s recruiters have a great deal of insight into what today’s candidates are looking for, as they’re on the front lines helping professionals find those opportunities. Based on what our recruiting pros are hearing from candidates, we have identified four dynamics that are likely to influence the job market for many months to come. Those dynamics are:

1. High demand for flexibility in location and scheduling

Employers who are hesitant to embrace flexible work arrangements could be at a disadvantage when hiring. Today’s job seekers want more flexibility when it comes to choosing where they work. Our recruiters often find that when they present job seekers with potential opportunities, many candidates will ask whether the position can be remote or hybrid before they inquire about other critical details, like the job title or salary.

Schedule flexibility is also critical: People want more control over when they work, particularly if they find they are more productive outside of traditional office hours or feel strongly about having a flexible schedule to maintain better work-life balance.

2. The need for clarity about critical policies

COVID-19 vaccination requirements, and people’s views about those requirements, continue to evolve, adding another layer of complexity to the hiring process. Firms must remain laser-focused on evaluating the ramifications of any health and safety decisions they make for their workforce related to the public health crisis. These decisions can directly impact the company’s recruiting, hiring and retention efforts.

It’s vital to communicate your company’s health and safety policies clearly, openly and respectfully with all internal and external audiences. A sound communication plan can prevent misunderstandings and assumptions. For firms actively recruiting right now, it’s critical to be upfront about these policies with potential hires so that candidates can decide whether they’re comfortable with those requirements and still interested in working for your firm.

3. The expectation to earn competitive compensation

In this hiring environment, in-demand candidates aren’t likely to give weak or average compensation offers a second glance. Also, competitors are likely to step up quickly to top those offers.

So, be sure to do your research. Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide can be your starting point for learning about compensation trends for hundreds of different roles and the perks and benefits that can help your job offers stand out. Our specialized recruiters can also work with you to create offers that candidates are likely to accept without hesitation — and with enthusiasm.

4. The strong desire to work for a standout employer

Offering a solid compensation package is just one element that can help you attract and retain skilled talent. In today’s job market, potential hires will also closely evaluate your company’s culture and leadership, whether there’s an opportunity for them to grow their skills and advance professionally at your firm, how healthy and stable your business is, and more.

To identify how your organization can stand out as an employer of choice, consider questions such as:

  • What makes us different from others in our industry and market?
  • How do we enable our employees to build meaningful careers and grow with the organization?
  • How do our products and services change lives and businesses?
  • What are we doing to be responsible corporate citizens and provide a diverse and inclusive culture?

The answers to these questions should provide you with the details to create compelling messaging about your company. You can share this information with potential hires in job descriptions, on your website, through social media channels and more.

This messaging can also help catch the eye of passive job seekers — professionals who aren’t actively looking for a new role but would be interested to learn about jobs that fit their skills and experience. Typically, these candidates only want to make a move for a standout opportunity, which is why they will take time to thoroughly research an organization and its reputation.

Robert Half’s recruiters maintain extensive networks of both active and passive job candidates. Learn more about how we can help you connect with skilled talent.

The current job market is very dynamic — and complex. But even in this challenging environment, your business can attract and retain top talent. The secrets to success include being open to change, transparent and timely in your communications, prepared to extend competitive offers, and proactive about sharing with the world why your company is a great place to work.