If you started your career after 2012, you’ve enjoyed one of the best employment markets in history. With few exceptions (for example, hospitality industries during the pandemic) it’s been a great ride.
But clouds are on the horizon. Sooner or later, we are going to have a recession. When that happens, young office workers will be in for a very rude awakening indeed. They’ve never experienced a recession and have no idea what a poor employment market looks like.
Hint: It’s nothing like the overheated market of the last 18-24 months. Workers have become accustomed to an endless supply of jobs and unprecedented freedom to work when and where they please. When the music stops, everything will change.
In fact, change has already started. While the overall employment market remains strong, there’s been a meaningful slowdown in hiring in some sectors of the economy. The worst excesses of the recent employment bubble have begun to dissipate.
When a recession comes, I believe we’ll see a return to something more like pre-pandemic norms. Companies will have more leverage to define how work gets done. Hybrid work is probably here to stay, but remote work will decline dramatically. Having more workers in the office will enable companies to develop younger employees, build stronger teams, and strengthen company culture.
Employees will be driving the changes, too. In a weakened labor market, employees will want to be back in the office where they can build deeper relationships, learn faster, benefit from mentors, and get noticed by higher-ups.
I’m a recruiter, so my business has benefited from the recent bubble. However, it’s been clear for quite some time that the market was overheated and unhealthy. A return to a more balanced labor market will be a good thing for companies, employees, and the overall economy.