This is not a doomsday prophecy, but the reality is right in our faces: 2023 could potentially be a challenging one for the labor market. The extent and consequences of the disruptions caused by global economic downturns, shrinking investment in businesses and ongoing market adaptation to the impact of COVID-19 and the Ukraine-Russia war in 2022 will be evident on the global market this year.
The International Monetary Fund predicts economic growth decelerating to 2.7 per cent in 2023 compared to 3.2 per cent in 2022 and 6.0 in 2021 — the first pandemic-struck year in five decades. The forecast for Nigeria is not much better, with the growth tempo declining from 3.2 per cent in 2022 to 3.0 per cent in 2023.
This pessimistic outlook will require the Nigerian labour market to realign its 2023 priorities. As economic capacity shrinks, the Great Resignation and “Japa” trends will probably go downwards. Employers will likely reduce the concentration of employee centricity in corporate culture, and prospective employees will turn from job hoppers into job seekers again. HR heads will attempt to spend less on people management and optimise human resources for the employer’s benefit. Experienced staff will be treated with more consideration, while entry-level employees may find themselves successively redundant. This order of things outlines a set of 2023 labour market trends for employers and employees to look out for in the quest to remain competitive amidst the market shockwaves.
- Employee Value Proposition. To shield themselves from the avoidable costs of hiring unsuitable candidates and attract talents that will contribute to business sustainability, employers will expectedly pay more attention to their employee value proposition. Regardless of some downward trends and gloomy predictions, the labour market will remain buoyant for the resourceful candidate. Organizations need to be transparent about their intrinsic benefits and hold themselves accountable for growth prospects. An articulated employee value proposition will be seen more often – from recruitment to retention stages.
- Demand for upskilling. A tightening labour market spurs junior employees to advance their competencies while employers are more willing to train their mid-level and senior staff to give them a stimulus to stay. With professionally designed and implemented upskilling programs, employers will avoid increased spend on recruitment and losing high-performing talents to competitors.
- Data-driven HR management. As employers will be more careful about budget planning, people management is expected to be more data-driven, from hiring decisions to the endpoint of employee performance measurement. This approach will probably lead to an increased demand for HR software adoption in the workplace. HR managers may resort to external labour market analysts to stay the course of developing trends in the long term to plan employee reskilling accordingly.
- Workforce rationalisation. Zooming out strategic organisational development, HR managers may reconsider employee benefits, costs,, and retention. It will require employers and employees to remain alert and have backup plans in stock in case of being left or laid off.
- Digital & hybrid recruitment. To tap into a larger pool of talents and further retain them, employers will resort to online and hybrid recruitment services that provide complementary HR consulting. While social media platforms have decentralised opportunities for vacancy announcements, the pool of talents such placements bring typically needs to be streamlined to meet the prevalent standards. Digital and hybrid recruitment services will do half of the work, giving HR personnel more room to concentrate on strategic tasks and focus on talent management instead of sourcing and screening. Expectedly, employers` expectations from modern recruitment services will increase from simple job listings to bespoke HR consulting to reduce the pressure on in-house HR managers.
About the author
Oreoluwa Boboye is the CEO of Jobberman, the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa that provides training and placement for job seekers and the best selection of candidates for companies hiring. He has deep expertise in business and data analysis which he applies to HR management advisory to help organisations stay afloat in turbulent times.