How will $17+ billion in HR tech investments in 2021—three times what was invested in 2020—impact your career in 2022? Whether you are a job seeker struggling to pivot into a new industry, an engineer seeking a promotion, or a remote worker wondering when you might head back to the office, exploring the tech that won the war for funding will help you plan for the year ahead.
Let’s analyze those investments to uncover actionable advice for your job search or career advancement and give you a sneak peek into the future of work.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
What’s happening: Companies are increasing funding for internal learning programs. They feel pressure to re-skill their workforce as the gap widens between skills they need in a digital-first environment and skills their workforce and job candidates possess.
Why it matters: Your employer might offer training you can use to advance your career. According to Jobvite’s latest Recruiter Nation Report, recruiters care about education and certificates more when evaluating candidates today than they did a few years ago.
What you can do: Take advantage of learning opportunities through your employer. Whether you are employed or not, plan to invest consistently in learning opportunities for yourself.
Before starting a trendy certificate program, research your desired roles and determine what credentials are valued. Demonstrating continuous learning makes you more competitive, and connecting new knowledge to its value for an employer hits the jackpot.
SOURCING AND CONTACT WORK
What’s happening: The labor market has tightened quickly, yet companies’ expectations to achieve diversity goals are higher than ever. Companies need to source more diverse candidates, narrow candidate pools down faster, expand contract hiring and improve candidate experience. Hiring departments are leaning on technology to achieve these goals.
Why it matters: Companies use sourcing technology to find ideal candidates online. They search for specific skills and experiences across any publicly available information.
What you can do: Use technology to your advantage and create a clear digital brand. More than ever before, your digital presence is your first impression. Your LinkedIn profile is essential, and online activities like professional presentations, articles and personal social media use can help or hinder your findability.
The first step to being found by target employers is to focus on the top skills and titles recruiters would use to locate you. When you communicate the same themes across all your online activities, you are more likely to appear in employers’ searches.
JOB BOARDS AND JOB SEARCH AND NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIES
What’s happening: Some of the $3 billion in venture funding went into job boards, surprisingly. Gloat, Handshake, The Mom Project, Jobandtalent and others launched or secured increased financing in 2021. Networking technologies like Slack and Discord also secured investments or were acquired.
Why it matters: Employers are pouring resources into uncovering all strategies to find the best talent. Increased virtual networking and new platforms open doors for you to build community in your desired industry, company, or role without leaving the comfort of your home.
What you can do: Pay attention to job boards and apply when you have around 75% of the qualifications. Women tend not to apply unless they have a higher percentage, but it is likely to secure interviews despite not being 100% qualified with the current talent shortage. Target your résumés and cover letters—it will still help you stand out.
After joining free groups on Facebook and LinkedIn or finding your community on Twitter or industry-specific sites, start conversations to build a robust, targeted network. Are you introverted? Increase comfort and deepen relationships faster by volunteering.
PAYROLL AND ONBOARDING
What’s happening: Companies need to hire and manage remote employees without adding headcount to juggle tax law requirements across geographies. Data shows that employees want remote or hybrid work opportunities, and mid-sized companies know they can access new talent if they address these issues.
Why it matters: Most job seekers mistakenly think remote means they could work for any company from anywhere. However, 95% of remote jobs still had a geographic location requirement in early 2021.
What can you do: If a job listing says “remote,” dig deeper into the specifics. What are the restrictions on working internationally or across state lines? Find “fully remote” or “fully distributed” companies if you want to work entirely remotely.
As a leader, use these new tools to onboard remote employees. Continue to improve your remote communication skills, from improving your presence in virtual meetings to using tools to maintain relationships across the globe.
BENEFITS AND MENTAL HEALTH
What’s happening: Companies are adding benefits to capture top talent in the tight labor market. They are going beyond increased salaries to include parental leave, mental health services and more.
What can you do: Before you have salary conversations for promotions, annual reviews or job interviews, do your research. In addition to salary data, understand the company values and how you add to their value creation.
If you are employed, ask about changes to your benefits package and take advantage of any new options.
HIT THE CAREER JACKPOT THIS YEAR
The 2021 HR tech investments exceed those from previous years, and there’s a message there. As new technologies roll out, job search, advancement, and leadership will continue to evolve. Are you up to date on what these trends mean and how to use new technologies for your career advancement? If you want to hit your career jackpot in 2022, identify organizations and people who can help you stay on top of trends. Read industry publications regularly and attend events that allow you to hear what others in your industry are doing, saying and thinking.
Marie Zimenoff trains coaches, writers, and career services staff globally as CEO of Career Thought Leaders and Resume Writing Academy.