Five employment trends in tech and digital for 2020

The digital and tech space continues to evolve at break-neck speed. As we dive into a new decade it feels like there’s a little more change in the air. Some hiring trends are here to stay. Here’s five of the latest tech and digital employment trends likely to be a force into 2020 and beyond.

1. The future is freelance

Are traditional full-time employees facing extinction? US research suggests that 50% of the workforce will be employed on a freelance basis by 2027. Stats show that growth in freelancing is three times that of the traditional workforce. Based on ABS data, around 3.15 million Australians are in contract or freelance style employment arrangements. That’s a sizeable 28% of the workforce.

There are pros and cons to this growing employment trend. The rise of the contractor workforce will have big implications on businesses, individuals and wider society.  Research reveals that freelance employees could suffer from feelings of isolation, and both want and need a greater sense of connection and inclusion. Also, freelancers and contractors seemingly miss out on receiving recognition of the important role they play and lack access to benefits and opportunities. 

Businesses are increasingly learning better ways to look after their contractor workforce and make them feel valued. It’s something we’ve been focusing on here at Talent too. Have a read about how we’re redefining the contractor experience.  

2. Work from home? Work from anywhere!

Virtual, remote, offsite – whatever you want to call it, the trend of ‘work from anywhere’ is on the rise. In our recent global work/life guide, flexibility was ranked the top non-monetary benefit candidates want. Indeed research stated that over two-thirds (68%) of Australian employers say they allow employees to work remotely. 

While some companies may give the public impression that they're supporting employee flexibility, the action doesn't match up. Some bosses still seem to measure performance by the number of hours spent tied to a desk. It’s a candidate-driven market. With 1 in 4 people saying they have already quit jobs due to a lack of flexible work arrangements, companies must heed the call. 

This year we’ll continue to see flexible work evolving with ‘working from home’ shifting to ‘working from anywhere’. Leaders will need to measure output on contribution, engagement and effort. Not how late past 5:30 pm their people stay in the office. 

3. Placing more importance on soft skills

The demand for technical professionals continues to be sky high. Across all specialisations and industries, tech remains hot. However, just because demand is exceeding supply doesn't mean technically skilled candidates are guaranteed to get the job. We are continuing to see top candidates separate themselves from their peers by having strong soft skills. 
Employers are looking for people with great communication skills, adaptability, EQ and strategic mindsets to see beyond the data and tell a story. It’s about marrying the technical side of the work with the ability to simply and clearly explain concepts to stakeholders. As repetitive technical tasks are increasingly replaced by automation, soft skills are what will set the best apart from the rest.   

4. Enriching the candidate experience  

In our world, we all want to receive exceptional, hassle-free experiences wherever we go. And, the same applies to the recruitment process. Candidates are looking for an online application process which is visual and easy-to-navigate. Candidates want to find everything they need to know about a company. They want more transparency and communication. Candidates should be kept up to speed through every stage of their application process. The way companies treat candidates will separate the top organisations from the followers.

5. Promoting purpose beyond the perks

Purpose has overtaken profits as a measurement of a company’s success. More organisations are including a compelling purpose into their culture and workplaces. This type of approach and thinking is so important when it comes to attracting and retaining great people. Sure, perks and bonuses are great, but it doesn’t stick. The title of our global report “More than Money” says it all. We found that candidates are focusing on whether the work will be engaging and if the leaders will be supportive. Candidates want to know their value and how they can be empowered to do their best work.