What We’ve Learned about the Job Market in 2018 So Far

At the beginning of the year we talked about the outlook for job seekers in 2018, but now that we’re halfway through the year, let’s consider what the actual market looks like and what you can expect for the remainder of 2018—one thing’s certain: It’s going to continue being a wild ride! Read on for some of the biggest trends happening so far this year.

2018 job market

Unemployment Is Down—Way Down

The unemployment rate continues to decline, hitting 3.8 percent in May—the lowest it’s been since 2000 (and before that, the 1960s). May also marked the 92nd consecutive month of job gains. What does this mean? Well, while the current political climate has created unease in some industries, it means most people looking for jobs are likely to find them.

Hiring Managers Have It Hard, And It Will Get Harder

While decreased unemployment is largely a good thing, it also tends to create stagnation in the jobs people already hold. This means that, with people less likely to change careers or leave jobs, recruiters are becoming increasingly desperate to find qualified candidates who are willing to meet with them. Many businesses are struggling to secure qualified workers and are forced to make do with a much shorter list of applicants, all of which indicates hiring packages will likely have to become much more impressive in order to entice talent. Recruiters should expect more headaches in the months to come as they attempt to convince potential hires they should take a risk and try a new situation.

Wages Will Increase

Let’s talk about this more, since it’s a big one. Thus far, the overall job market hasn't significantly increased wages, despite the lack of unemployment. However, due to the shortage of qualified applicants for the job openings that do exist (see above), Market Watch predicts it’s only a matter of time before workers demand more compensation in order to remain in their current positions. And, in order to remain competitive, either for new hires or to hold on to staff already in place, companies will have to become more enticing. Wage increases are just one way organizations will have to make themselves more attractive—better health benefits, the option of flex hours, and increased vacation time will all combine with more money (either hourly or annually) to make this a job seeker's market.

Workplace Equality Is Front And Center

Gender bias and matters of inequality have become daily news, and many companies are gearing up to establish the changes necessary to make these issues a thing of the past. This means information we’ve long considered private—including salaries, benefits, and other previously taboo topics—will become much more acceptable to discuss openly. Now, more than ever, it’s in an organization’s best interest to show they’re actively cultivating positive culture and an inclusive working environment if they’re to have any hope of recruiting top talent. This push for increased equality and openness will have far-reaching consequences for years to come.

It's no secret 2018 has been a time of change, and as we adjust and readjust to cultural shifts, the job market follows suit. We're halfway through, and 2018 has already proven it's not slowing down.

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