Let’s Make Sense Of The 2022 Talent Market Shakeup

Chess board with dark and light chess peices

Let’s Make Sense Of The 2022 Talent Market Shakeup

Every year, in the middle of the holiday rush, I steal away for a half day to reflect on everything that’s happened in the past twelve months. I grab the year’s planner and go to my favorite coffee shop. I sit down, spread out, and begin flipping through my calendar, mining for things I learned and insights I gained.

It’s fitting to mark the passage of time with proper reflection.

Every year, I’m reminded what a life-giving and value-rich exercise it is to look back on the previous year before charging forward to the next. 

This year, I did that same exercise to clarify what we’ve seen in the 2022 Talent Market before I predict and forecast for 2023. 

From my desk–in partnering with many of you to solve the toughest talent challenges–2022 was a year of talent market chaos.

Here are the clear patterns I’ve found in the 2022 Talent Shakeup.

Historic Talent Shortage Led To Poor Decision Making

Employee turnover was off the charts through the first few quarters. Talent saw a huge financial upside to change roles and even companies.

I witnessed companies (and their hiring leaders) landing in 2 main camps when the stared down record vacancies.

For some, a scarcity mindset kicked in. Some rushed the process and sacrificed culture and the best fit to hire someone quickly and fill the seat. Many settled for immediate relief, hiring at first glance without holding the line to find the right talent. 

What will 2023 look like when the dust settles, budgets tighten, and there is a misalignment in values and culture? 

For others, the shortage of talent caused them to freeze in uncertainty and fear of making the wrong decision. They over-analyzed and underestimated their leverage in a market skewed to the individual talent’s favor.

These leaders created unrealistic expectations, long hiring processes, and nit-picked in attempts to create “a sure thing”. They’d deprioritize and delay, sometimes even subconsciously, which left them behind on the work and left to go it alone.

Key openings were vacant for too long, leaving managers under-resourced and overburdened. Will companies be poised to meet the new challenges of 2023?

Record High Demand Created Frenetic Hiring Practices

The continued high demand added to the already difficult talent shortage. To meet market demand, companies needed to run with a full roster or risk being unable to meet forecasts. 

In some ways, this reality lead to abnormal hiring and retention behaviors. Companies offered colossal signing bonuses to woo new hires while that same talent received eye-popping retention lures from their current company. Potential hires were fielding up to four offers at once, sometimes ghosting interviews or backing out after signing. 

Only those with a steady hand could navigate well. The best leaders–partnered with the best talent agencies–didn’t let the moment’s chaos deter them from their bigger plans and goals. 

The Fever Pitch Now Tipping Towards A Pull Back 

In all things, history shows us pendulums always swing back. We’re now seeing overcorrection in some cases in the talent market. Some executives begin each day like Chicken Little, wondering if today will be the day the sky falls. The New York Times reported that while the tech and media industries have suffered, other industries (like life sciences, consumer goods, financial services, and healthcare) still show outlooks requiring additional talent.

Diversity Still Leads the Hiring Conversation, But You Must Ensure A Diverse Hire’s Success

The emphasis on hiring diversely is not going away. It is the way forward. The benefits of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership only became more apparent during a chaotic 2022. The momentum continued to build toward hiring diversely, focused on finding greater diversity at the highest levels. Companies made progress…with many still having a long way to go.

While companies showed good intentions by hiring more diverse teams, too often, they didn’t have a strong enough emphasis on ensuring diverse leaders’ success.

Instead, businesses brought in fresh voices to bring diverse perspectives with unsaid expectations that the new employees should “fit in” with their legacy teammates. 

Even if companies hire well for diversity, an excellent outcome requires the diverse hire’s success in the long term. Organizations only move forward when distinct talent succeeds, stays, and elevates. 

It’s become clear that post-hire support is woefully underdeveloped for most companies. There remains a high risk of receding with diverse representation in leadership if businesses ignore post-hire assimilation. 

Burnout is A Growing Challenge For Leaders

On a human level, our minds despise uncertainty. Where there is uncertainty, our brains initially see risk. The chaotic and rapid pace of hiring in 2022 made it tempting to operate in constant crisis mode. You’ll burn out when you operate in that space for too long.

Managers were overworked, overwhelmed, over-pressured, and under-resourced. As typical, the middle was pressed from all sides. 

At senior levels, many have led through a pandemic era of constant crisis management while trying to deliver to historic demand. As the temperature of this particular crisis comes down, they’re wondering if this frenetic pace is now the default expectation. 

Now they’re faced with the choice of re-upping into a climate where they’ll be required to operate more leanly and efficiently or move to a different opportunity in hopes of getting some relief. Some face fatigue and isolation and wonder if a career move with less complexity and pressure might be more life-giving. 

Will this cause executive turnover in 2023? 

In Times of Chaos, Partners Provide the Steady

A good partner is like a steady hand on your shoulder. They’ll keep fear in check to prevent you from making hasty, poor decisions. A good partner stabilizes and cuts through the fog, helping you make the best choices with the best information.

Even when times are chaotic and uncertainty is significant, the important work of business goes on.

Critical hires still need to be made, the best work still needs to be done, and innovation never waits.

The best talent partner is a steady hand from strategy to search to post-hire development. 

Medallion Partners enables companies to navigate uncertainty while transforming their organizations, industries, and employees’ careers.

We start by coming alongside you, fully understanding your talent strategy. Then, we deploy our proven Medallion Matrix framework to find the best talent for your critical hires. Having the right talent provides a strategic advantage that delivers bottom-line results.

We craft our process to ensure talented individuals become a resource that will drive the future success of your company.

We guarantee your talent’s success with a full year of transition assistance, team assimilation, and leadership coaching.

As you look at the uncertainty coming in 2023, you need a partner, and we’re ready to be a steady hand on your shoulder. 

MEDALLION PARTNERS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Our searches spanned five continents in 2022 with clients from $50M to $5B across Life Sciences, Consumer Goods, Agriculture, Healthcare, and more.
  • 62% of all our placements were diverse…well over 2x the national average.
  • We increased our speed to fill your critical roles by double digits over 2021. While others measure in weeks and months, we measure in days.
  • 25% of the roles we placed were C-Suite or VP-level across public, private, and private equity-backed companies
  • Over 1/3 of our projects assisted mid-senior level management in hiring for their teams…ensuring they have a best-in-class process for winning top talent amidst their broad-ranging priorities. 
  • Nearly 30% of our placements came from clients needing to find highly specialized, niche specialists with small pools of talent requiring global search and a custom recruiting process. From Microbiome Formulation to IT Data Architecture, to Asset Based Lending Risk Assessment. Not to mention the confidential specialists brought in to prepare companies for significant transformation. We could tell you what they’re working on but… 
  • Every new hire received one year of transition care, ensuring a 90%+ retention rate post-hire. 
  • Led countless team assimilation programs for newly developed teams spanning many functions, from manufacturing site leadership to global IT teams to executive leadership teams presiding over massive portfolio companies.