Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in seven years, at 5 percent, and for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher the rate is actually half that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the economy has been adding well over 200,000 jobs a month. And healthcare, professional and technical services, retail, manufacturing, finance and government are all adding jobs.
Current U.S. employees—especially those looking to switch jobs—can expect a raise in 2016. A WorldatWork study found U.S. workers can expect an average base salary raise of 3.1 percent next year, but top performers can expect higher-than-average merit-based salary increases. New research from The Conference Board found that labor markets have tightened faster than expected, and that could mean employers will have to start raising wages faster than they have been. And research from SHRM and Rutgers University shows that the newly hired are seeing increased pay—which reflects the need for businesses to raise wages in order to attract new talent.
For those doing the hiring, employee retention will be a top priority in the new year. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report found that nearly 60 percent of companies are investing more in their brand in an effort to keep current employees happy and recruit new, well-qualified talent.
Hiring isn’t limited to technology and healthcare.
Sure, those sectors are growing, but there are plenty of opportunities for new jobs and long-term, thriving careers in areas like marketing, sales, finance and transportation. Recent studies have found that among the top ten fastest growing occupations are nurses, software developers and network and computer system administrators, marketing managers, sales managers, industrial engineers, construction professionals and financial managers.
However, if you are a software developer, it’s going to be a great year.
There’s no question software developers are still in high demand. Nearly one in every 20 open job postings in the U.S. is related to software development and/or engineering. Also in demand, is expertise with data analytics –now one of the most in-demand skills in the U.S.
Marketing manager becomes a tech job.
Some of the highest growth tech companies, like Amazon and Facebook, have a great need for marketing managers. In fact, it’s the highest volume job opening after software developer/engineer. But the requirements are changing, because of the rapid growth of digital consumer advertising. The job increasingly requires the use of analytics to navigate new marketing channels and ways of acquiring customers.
Millennials take the reins.
We’ll see a lot more Millennials in management positions in 2016. A new study from Upwork reports that nearly 30 percent of managers today are Millennials, with five percent seniors managers and two percent in executive positions. The study found that within ten years nearly half of Millennials are aiming to be senior managers; seven percent want to be executives and 15 percent want to be business owners. The global consultancy EY (Ernst & Young) is a good example of this leadership transition underway–about 60 percent of its managers are Millennials, as well as 18 percent of its senior managers.
Video will become an even more important recruiting tool.
The use of video to attract and recruit talent is increasing because of its high impact—it’s an engaging way to show the culture of a company, as well as the excitement and passion around the the company’s mission, products and services. Expect to see more employee videos shot on cell phones, to give a more authentic peek inside a company, as well as personalized recruiting videos, video job descriptions and, yes, even video job offers.
Recruiting will be more data-driven.
The technology available to recruiters today is better than it’s ever been, allowing them to optimize the entire recruiting and hiring process, from job descriptions to the process of nurturing and interviewing candidates, to developing and setting compensation. Letting data guide the hand of recruiters will most likely make the experience better for job candidates, allowing companies to better establish and nurture relationships with both current and potential candidates.
The Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. will see the most hiring.
According to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, states in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southcentral, as well as the Central Midwest will see the greatest uptick in hiring, as much as a 40 percent increase from last year. In fact, regional employers will be increasing their hiring by the greatest percentage next year, nearly 20 percent over 2015. U.S. employers, the Institute’s new trend report says, “are entering the recruiting season with very high expectations for hiring.”
About the Author
Eilene Zimmerman is a journalist who writes about entrepreneurship, technology, small businesses and the workplace. She was a career columnist for the New York Times and is a regular contributor to the paper’s small business section.