The coronavirus pandemic has led many to reassess what matters most to them. We spend nearly a third of our lives working, so it’s no surprise that many have reconsidered their current work situation and have joined the movement that many are calling the Great Resignation. The health crisis has fundamentally changed the definition of what a good job entails. As a result, employees are more in control of their job prospects than ever and are more likely to wait until they find the right fit for them, whether the position offers better compensation, more schedule flexibility or the ability to work from home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate—the share of Americans that are either working or looking for work—has been slow to recover, remaining mostly stagnant since June 2020. Indeed economist Nick Bunker says concerns about the pandemic itself have held back many job seekers, as well as child care responsibilities in the face of fluctuating COVID-19 disruptions at schools.
In this article, we used Indeed data to evaluate work trends and share six predictions of what job seekers should expect in 2022.
1. Job seekers will raise their employment standards
The pandemic offered new opportunities for many people to reflect on what’s most important to them. In a recent Indeed survey¹ of people who had switched jobs at least twice since the onset of the pandemic, 92% said the pandemic made them realize life is too short to stay in a job they weren’t passionate about.
Indeed’s survey results indicate that workers are less likely to settle for jobs that don’t meet their standards and are willing to move onto another job that better suits their needs. Nearly three-quarters of those survey respondents made their first job switch knowing it would be temporary, while they continued to seek the right permanent fit.
Three-quarters of employees surveyed noted that the labor shortage presented them with new career opportunities they would not have had otherwise, encouraging them to switch jobs. Many surveyed workers (82%) attribute this to the rise of remote work, which they felt opened doors to jobs they might otherwise have not been able to pursue.
It’s clear the pandemic has shifted priorities for many, and employees are less likely to stay in jobs they aren’t satisfied with. The labor shortage and remote work has opened up new opportunities for workers, and 85% of job seekers are looking for a big change and are checking out opportunities outside of their current field.
2. Job seekers and employees will have the upper hand when it comes to salary negotiation—for now
Early 2022 data shows a continuing trend of the 2021 inclination to seek higher-wage, remote work rather than in-person industry sectors that tend to pay less like child care or food preparation and service.
Because shifting to remote work is rarely possible, Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel says, “These employers have only one major lever: raising wages.”
Our survey results show that even in the throes of an economic shutdown, 87% of workers were compensated the same or more at their first new job. In fact, half of job switchers Indeed surveyed received an increase, and those that did received an average salary increase of 52%. Median advertised hourly wages strongly correlate with rising job seeker interest.
While only 24% of job switchers reported wanting a job with better pay as a reason they left their pre-pandemic job, wanting more money became the top reason they decided to leave the first job they took after quitting their pre-pandemic job. On average, job switchers left their first job after five months, and nearly half (48%) found a new job that paid an average of 38% more.
These survey results suggest that while flexibility and remote work drove initial pandemic job switches, the opportunity to make more money quickly became the top motivator to continue the job search. In fact, 60% of our respondents said they are still actively looking for a new job even after cycling through at least two new jobs in the last 19 months. Their top motivator? Nearly half (49%) noted they were looking for higher compensation.¹
Higher turnover rates beget higher wages
The federal Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report released Feb. 1 indicates that layoffs hit a new all-time low in December (1.2 million workers, or 0.8% of all workers), and the voluntary quits rate ended the year at 2.9% (4.3 million workers)—near its all-time high of 3% reached in November. This job-switching boom has resulted in wages growing at a rate the U.S. labor market hasn’t seen in over 10 years.
“Anyone who wants to understand where wage growth is headed should keep an eye on the quits rate,” says Bunker.
You can use Indeed’s salary calculator to determine your current take-home pay and get a personalized report about the average pay range for your job. Use this information to compare your earnings with others’ or negotiate a raise or job offer.