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What will be the Key Workforce themes of 2023?

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Workforce Trends 2023

​It’s notoriously difficult to predict the future, but here is my attempt to offer a crystal ball on the key workforce trends of 2023. Whilst there will be some regional variation, the themes of this year are already taking shape.


Will the Great Resignation continue in 2023?

Last year was dominated by the Great Resignation, a trend that will continue into 2023, but with perhaps different drivers and responses. So, the short answer is that the Great Resignation will continue. Despite many markets experiencing slowdowns or already being in recession, labour markets remain quite tight. This means employees can still move for better salaries and generally find themselves in high demand. There are however two additional factors driving the Great Resignation in 2023.


The first trend is Climate Quitting. This phenomena ranges from people leaving their existing role to directly tackle climate change through to people changing employers to work for firms that have better climate values and action plans. As advocates for the Green Economy, this trend may represent one of the signs that going green has gone mainstream – large numbers of people are considering their next role on environmental criteria as well as package.


The other trend is the ongoing cost of living crisis. This trend will sustain the Great Resignation, many early movers now find that the large salary gains they made have been negated by inflation, whilst those that didn’t move have had significant real term pay cuts. Whilst inflationary pressures will reduce in 2023, they will still contribute to staffing churn this year.


2023 will be a “quiet” year…

The back end of 2022 saw much discussion of the phenomena of quiet quitting. Quiet quitting has been defined as employees that are just at a job for the pay and aren't emotionally or intellectually engaged. It's about doing the bare minimum, and not going “above and beyond”. Its hard to know if this is a real thing or a cottage industry for blog writers, but what matters is the perception of workforce productivity it creates for management.


The antidote to quiet quitting is quiet hiring. Firms are starting to recognise the value of workers who go above and beyond both in terms of rewards but also in expanding their accountabilities in their role. After the scares of the Great Resignation, many firms are realising again that rather than people being their biggest asset, it is having the right people that is their biggest asset. An important distinction.


Closing Thoughts

2023 will be a year of balancing competing demands for companies. On the one hand the battle for talent will be as fierce as in 2022 and preceding years. On the flip side companies will have the ability to pursue a more nuanced approach. Salary still matters to employees, but values are reasserting their place in personal motivations. Finally firms are starting to recognise the need to value their existing star performers far more, avoiding the need for those resignation and counter offer discussions.