In 2021 and the beginning of 2022, we were in a good economy with the U.S. reaching the lowest unemployment rate in the last 50 years. With an abundance of job openings and not enough workers to fill them, we saw the Great Resignation where people got new jobs that were more in line with their values, strengths, and interests.
Since then, the world has shifted with threats of recession and the rise of mass layoffs. So what does this mean for careers in 2023? We asked our network of career experts for their thoughts on what’s ahead. Here are the top trends they’re predicting.
Trend 1: Job crafting instead of resigning
With threats of a recession and more layoffs predicted in high-growth industries, people are more likely to hold onto their jobs rather than switch to something completely new. However, workers still want work that is fulfilling, stimulating, and interesting. That’s where job crafting comes into play.
Job crafting is about redesigning your current role to a job that better matches your work preferences, career goals, strengths and passions. Job crafting allows you to create your own role without going through a job search.
“If 2022 was the year of the Great Resignation where workers took the nuclear option to their careers by completely switching jobs, then 2023 will be a more thoughtful approach to job fulfillment with job crafting.” - Cori Caldwell, Founder and Coach at CC Career Strategy.
“A trend that has started to emerge is more personalized and tailored career conversations and support for individuals within the workplace.” - Rob Baker, Chief Positive Deviant & Founder of Tailored Thinking, author of Personalization at Work - a field guide to job crafting.
To support employees in job crafting, people managers and workers alike will need to get more comfortable having conversations about individual goals and how to achieve them within an organization.
Trend 2: Agency in career development
In the last couple of years, things were happening to people – such as the pandemic, return to office campaigns, and layoffs. In 2023, workers will take more ownership of their career development in several ways.
First, workers are proactively shaping and asking for how they’d like at work.
“Our best people want to and are going to choose to have more autonomy around the way they work and the way they shape their careers in the long term.” - Helen Kupp, Co-founder of Future Forum and Bestselling author of How the Future Works.
Second is pay transparency. With more clarity around pay ranges on job postings, people can take more control over their job search process.
“Laws were passed in states like Colorado, New York, and California that require job postings to include salaries. This means that job seekers and pivoters will have greater clarity on the pay they can expect even before they submit their applications.” - Julia Starr, Coach and Founder at Julia Starr Coaching.
Third, people will invest in themselves through conferences, projects, or other experiences that match with their interests.
“Paid or not, spending time on projects, tasks, devotions that excite you is invaluable.” - Cori Caldwell, Founder and Coach at CC Career Strategy.
Trend 3: Separation of career and personal identity
In 2022, workers who had dedicated their careers to their employer were suddenly getting laid off, and now many of them feel less secure in their current job. This means that a job or career can no longer be a stable part of a person’s identity. Now, workers are contemplating the role that work plays in their lives and identities.
The underlying cause of this trend has two parts. First, people see that even if they love their job, it’s still a job and a way for their employer to make money.
Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back, told getAbstract, “I think that we are being pressured into loving what we do to make a living, in order to be more loyal and better exploited.”
On the other hand, if people can separate who they are from their work, they will be more satisfied.
“When we actively invest in our non-work selves, we create an identity no boss, company, or labor market has the power to affect.” - Simone Stolzoff, journalist and author of the book The Good Enough Job.
“Holding our self-worth separate from our work will help us have a healthier relationship with our jobs and push us to interrogate the value exchange of what we’re giving and getting in return.” - Becky Lee, Learning Portfolio Director at IDEO.
The best might be if career and personal aspirations can work together to have a fulfilling life.
“As a mom of two kids under 3 years old, I am most excited (optimistic really) about the way the pandemic has called to question the central role that work can play in our lives to find the right balance between career and personal aspirations.” - Helen Kupp, Co-founder of Future Forum and Bestselling author of How the Future Works.
Trend 4: Careers expand beyond one day job
Gone are the days that people would stay in one job at one company for their entire careers. But another thing that’s gone is seamlessly switching from job to job.
These days, people are pursuing side hustles and freelancing opportunities to augment their careers outside of their jobs. This is especially true given that “stable” jobs are not as secure as people thought.
“We’ll become more comfortable flexing between day jobs and side hustles. Confidently moving between full-time and freelance work will take back some of the power companies have over our sense of stability and reduce the unwarranted stigma of being ‘in-between’.” - Becky Lee, Learning Portfolio Director at IDEO.
In addition to pursuing more work, people are also taking career breaks to experience life outside of work and recover their mental health.
“The old adage of needing a job to leave a job seems to be abandoned. Many job seekers seem to have financially planned to do that if they need.” - Diane Sass, Owner of Centered HR.
Trend 5: Debate between remote, in-person, and hybrid continues
Since the world has opened up from the pandemic, the discussion around flexible work is more present than ever before. The result will be a larger gap in employee experience because of all the newly accepted work arrangements.
“I see 2023 as the year where leaders and organizations alike are going to either truly lean into everything we've learned about flexible work or attempt to revert to the old way of doing things — and we'll start to see a widening gap in employee experience and how that impacts long term business advantage.” - Helen Kupp, Co-founder of Future Forum and Bestselling author of How the Future Works.
Interesting innovations will come for both remote and in-person work arrangements.
For remote work, “2023 will be the year that remote work fulfills its dormant potential to catalyze not just productivity, but creativity as well.” - Jeremy Utley, Stanford Adjunct Professor and Co-Author of Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters.
For in-person work, Cloey Callahan at WorkLife wrote, “If 2022 was the year for rethinking the purpose of the office, 2023 will be when those ideas take shape. Workplace design experts are expecting to see a faster shift toward hospitality-centric design for offices.”
Best advice for 2023
With all these trends pointing towards workers and employees having more power, the question becomes how can you prepare for a great career in 2023. Here’s what our experts say:
- Job crafting instead of resigning. To successfully craft your job in 2023, Rob Baker recommends to “have“a ‘hit list’ of how you want to grow yourself and grow your job in the next 12 months. Then pick one or two a quarter to focus on and get creative to build the experiences you want.”
- Agency in career development. “Document a plan to consult when a new opportunity or crossroads presents itself. In other words, you’ll be less likely to make decisions from a reactive standpoint when you’ve made conscious decisions about what you want!” - Cori Caldwell, Founder and Coach at CC Career Strategy.
- Separation of career and personal identity. “What individuals can do to support wellbeing is to make sure boundaries around work are clear and upheld.” - Julia Starr, Coach and Founder at Julia Starr Coaching
- Careers expand beyond one day job. “The more complex and less linear our careers become, the more we’ll need to become sophisticated storytellers to make those journeys make sense, to ourselves and to others.” - Becky Lee, Learning Portfolio Director at IDEO.
- Debate between remote, in-person, and hybrid continues. When thinking about remote, hybrid, or in-person work environments, “it's important for career seekers to know which working arrangements suit them best.” - Diane Sass, Owner of Centered HR.
Conclusion: How to have a great career in 2023
To summarize, it’s imperative to know what’s most important to you in your career. That way, you can decide how to best move forward with your career, no matter if you decide to stay in your current role, look for a new one, or augment your career with side projects.
But figuring out what’s important can be a messy process of consulting people you trust, learning as much as possible online, and a lot of thinking.
The good news is that we can put structure to that process. We have tools and programs that make it structured (and fun!) to figure out what’s important to you.
Learn more about our tools and programs here.