Workers leaving their jobs in record numbers. Delayed back-to-work plans. New onsite safety regulations. 2021 was a rollercoaster year for employers to say the least — and 2022 is shaping up to be no different.

With The Great Resignation in full swing, attracting and retaining talent won’t be easy, but there are clear steps you and your company can take to increase your chances. To help you know where to start as we embark on a new year, we compiled the top five hiring and retention trends to be aware of for 2022:

  1. Compensation is still king.
  2. Flexibility is a must for attracting talent.
  3. Employers are now competing for talent across industries.
  4. Now more than ever, companies must sell themselves to job seekers.
  5. Skilling can help stave off turnover.

Ready to take a closer look behind each one? Let's get started.

1. compensation is still king

While it’s difficult to predict where we’ll be by the end of 2022, the trend of job opportunities outpacing available candidates is expected to continue through the start of the new year. This means job seekers have a luxury of choice like never before, and more and more of them are passing on job offers in favor of holding out for the perfect role. Perfect, however, means a lot of things. While work-life balance, advancement potential and overall meaning all factor into the equation, pay is still an important piece of the puzzle.

Among professionals, salaries rose faster in late 2021 than they had in almost 20 years. Expect this trend to continue as long as the worker shortage does — and expect employers to continue leveraging increased compensation as a result.

2. flexibility is a talent attraction must

Employees in some areas got a taste of the flexibility afforded by remote work and flex scheduling these past couple years. These have become necessary options to maintain work-life balance that many are not willing to give up. According to one recent survey:

of employees said they wanted flexibility on where they work

wanted flexibility on when they work

are open to job opportunities that provide that flexibility

The exact form that this flexibility takes will differ between workplaces. If you work in an industry where remote work is possible, providing that at least part of the time is practically table stakes when it comes to attracting today's most sought-after candidates. For onsite operations, giving employees flexibility around when they work or experimenting with different shift lengths may fit the bill. Look to your own operations and survey your current workforce to identify areas where you may be able to offer leeway.

3. employers are now competing for talent across industries

Companies are accustomed to competing for talent within their own industries, but today's job seekers are looking outside of their own industries when looking to change jobs. Of the nearly 50 percent of employees who intend to make career changes due to the pandemic, 33 percent said they're interested in changing industries. That means, for example, you may have fewer qualified forklift operators to choose from because some decided to pursue a career in customer service, IT or something else altogether.

That's because the pandemic provided many with important time for self-reflection, during which many employees reevaluated their careers. Whether it was simply having more time to identify their true priorities or actually seeing the positive effects of being away from their old jobs, many workers resolved to make a new start in the new normal.

Given that, employers can no longer rely on the talent pools they once did. Instead, they'll now have to prepare to field competition for candidates across industries.

4. now more than ever, companies must sell themselves to job seekers

Job seekers are no longer the only ones who have to "sell themselves" in an interview. With talent in the driver's seat, the onus now falls on employers to make their case to job seekers, rather than the other way around.

Employer branding was always important, but with talent in short supply, it's no longer just a nice-to-have. Job seekers are becoming more selective, and with their newfound openness to new industries, they're fielding offers from potentially more employers than before. Plus, with so many working models available today, they've also got a lot of choices to make about not only where they choose to work, but how and when a potential new employer will let them do it.

Selling your company goes beyond just providing the flexibility and benefits today's top job seekers want. If you don't effectively broadcast the great new incentives, opportunities and advantages of working with your company, either through social media, press releases or job ads, you risk losing valuable candidates to companies that do.

5. skilling can help stave off turnover

The Great Resignation has been a double-edged sword for employers. While the record number of employees quitting their jobs has provided employers with an influx of new talent on the job market, it also puts them at risk of losing members of their own workforce. Ninety-one percent of Gen Zers, for instance, and 78 percent of millennials are looking to leave their current companies. With so many workers looking to change jobs, especially among the younger generations, employers will have to fight a talent war on two fronts in 2022.

Besides providing competitive compensation and industry-leading benefits, connecting your current employees with training and development opportunities shows you're willing to go above and beyond for them and their careers. Fifty-seven percent of employees, for example, said they were very or extremely interested in training to either upgrade or learn new skills. The number jumps to 71 percent when employers not only provide free training to employees but also pay their workers while they're training. Coincidentally, that's also the same number of employees who reported that upskilling ultimately increased their satisfaction at work.

With such clear upside, employers looking to stabilize turnover can't afford to ignore skilling in 2022.

the bottom line

Given the rollercoaster trajectory of our current economic recovery, it's impossible to predict how 2022 will turn out. Expect some ups, expect some downs, but most of all, expect the unexpected. With so much out of your control, honing in on the key talent attraction and retention levers at your disposal will put your organization in a prime position to hire throughout it all.

For more hiring and retention tips to help you throughout 2022 and beyond, visit our Business Insights blog.