Career Navigation: Trends on the Horizon for 2023

Unprecedented times often lead to unprecedented changes — especially when it comes to the hiring world.

From remote work to market saturation, 2022 brought its fair share of opportunities and challenges to the career journey. Whether you experienced those challenges firsthand or took a back seat as you focused on your current position, we can all agree that it was a unique year to be a professional.

As career experts, keeping a finger on the pulse of an ever-changing professional landscape is part of the job. To welcome the new year, we held conversations with Career Coaches Irene Tirella, Matthew Rodgers, and Alejandra Hernandez. We discussed what 2023 might have in store for your career and steps you can take to be competitive in the market — regardless of your field. Discover those predictions, and more, below.

Headshot of Irene
Irene T.
Headshot of Alejandra
Alejandra H.
Headshot of Matthew R.
Matthew R.

Looking ahead

As we continue to research career trends for the year ahead, a lot of fascinating themes have emerged.

While last year’s focus was on — what our coaches labeled — tenacity, consistency, and resilience, this year is making way for a new slew of phenomena. The Great Resignation and “quiet quitting” trends of last year have set the stage for a new era: we predict that 2023 will be about hiring from within, keeping employees onboard, and nourishing their mental health. Our coaches describe it best:

  • “We definitely have an interesting year ahead. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be predicting, but I really feel that way. There’s just so much uncertainty. And in so many different things.” – Irene Tirella
  • “There’s a lot of movement. The last three years almost feel like they’ve been mushed together and there’s been a lot of changes and feelings.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “As far as trends go, people are always going to be wanting to upskill just to be better at what they do. It’s like this new term. I had never heard of upskilling a couple of years ago. But it’s rampant, right?” – Irene Tirella
  • “Trying to look into the future and trying to see what’s going to happen… there’s been so many individuals that, because of the tech layoffs, they’re concerned of like, ‘Oh, my gosh! There’s gonna be more tech layoffs, and I’m really concerned about that.’ And, you know, if there is, there’s nothing we can do about that.” -Matthew Rodgers
  • “We definitely have an interesting year ahead. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be predicting, but I really feel that way. There’s just so much uncertainty. And in so many different things.” – Irene Tirella
  • “There’s a lot of movement. The last three years almost feel like they’ve been mushed together and there’s been a lot of changes and feelings.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “As far as trends go, people are always going to be wanting to upskill just to be better at what they do. It’s like this new term. I had never heard of upskilling a couple of years ago. But it’s rampant, right?” – Irene Tirella
  • “Trying to look into the future and trying to see what’s going to happen… there’s been so many individuals that, because of the tech layoffs, they’re concerned of like, ‘Oh, my gosh! There’s gonna be more tech layoffs, and I’m really concerned about that.’ And, you know, if there is, there’s nothing we can do about that.” -Matthew Rodgers
  • “Because of the mental health factor, and because it’s such a culturally accepted subject to talk about, and to advocate [for], and to speak to. It’s ok to say, ‘I’m going to take a step back.’ That has been empowering students so much more – and even as job seekers – than I’ve ever seen before.” -Alejandra Hernandez

We asked our coaches to elaborate on these emerging trends and offer practical advice for you, whether you’re looking for an entirely new career, a greater balance in your existing work, or something in between. Hear each of their perspectives in the sections below.

On keeping your mind and prospects open

After many professionals left their companies by choice during the Great Resignation, and others by layoff at the end of last year, 2023 has the potential to be a more stable time for employees. However, as they say, sometimes it has to get worse in order to get better.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that we’ve made it out of the woods yet, as more companies announced workforce reductions just this week. “I wish I had a crystal ball and I could tell you everything’s going to be fine. And that these companies are going to bring back the 2,000 [or so] employees that they let go. But the reality is, that’s likely not going to happen. And we might see more bad news before we see good news,” Hernandez explains.

According to our coaches, layoffs have been one of the more prominent concerns of job seekers heading into the new year. Tirella has experienced this first-hand with her work, “When I listen to students, that’s a huge concern…” 

While our coaches agree that concerns about layoffs are completely valid, they urge job seekers to think about it holistically. 

“There will always be industries that are hiring and there will be industries that are shrinking. The growth industries aren’t going to be the same every time. The industries that are shrinking are not going to be the same [either],” Rodgers elaborates.

In order to keep your career moving, even when your targeted industry is stalled, our coaches suggest that it comes down to keeping your mind and your search open. Hear their thoughts below:

  • “Sure, listen to what’s going on and what people are saying about the economy or specific industries. But keep your mind open and recognize that there are so many different industries that learners of our programs can jump into.” -Matthew Rodgers
  • “Any company that has 50 or more employees has a tech team and 50 employees is not a lot. Right so now, I mean, you can open up a whole new world just by looking at smaller companies.” -Irene Tirella
  • “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, the tech industry is down and so the programs that I went through, they’re not going to have as many jobs available.’ If there is a web developer who’s saying that they are concerned about the tech environment. Well, there are so many other industries that need a web presence as well.” – Matthew Rodgers
  • “There’s healthcare, there’s education. There’s just a plethora of where your tools can be utilized. And sometimes it just comes down to, again, sitting, listening, processing…” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “The situation will always be ever present. There is going to be someone that’s going to be looking for skills that you have, or they’re looking for someone that has skills somewhat like you have, but skills that you could also obtain in the future. Look for everything. Talk with a lot of the individuals around you to see what those hot sectors of the industry may be.” -Matthew Rodgers
  • “Let’s think about what industry you’re in. Are you only going to work for twitter? Are you only going to work for salesforce? No, there’s tons of companies out there. So let’s focus on our strengths.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “Look at a smaller company. You have a better chance of getting in. You’ll have your resume looked at. I’m going to go two ways here, because I’m going to say you can’t pigeonhole yourself, but at the same time, I’ll pigeonhole my students. Not me personally, but I’ll say, ‘What’s your passion industry?’ Most of the time I’ll get, ‘I don’t know.’ But if they do know, then that’s where they need to be looking, because that’s their biggest selling point.” -Irene Tirella

On employee movement, upskilling, and retention

With so much in limbo, our coaches personally and professionally understand the struggle to stay positive about the future of work — after all, they are people too!

“I’m just looking ahead. It’s a little scary. I mean, will there be more layoffs? Is there really a recession coming? Are we in one? It’s just so many things. A lot of unknowns.” Tirella reflects. 

Despite those unknowns, Rodgers, Hernandez, and Tirella all agree as people, professionals, and coaches that there is plenty to get excited about in 2023. 

As the status of the economy remains uncertain and the possibility of a recession looms, more employers are recognizing the value of internal candidates and are promoting from within.

Although the larger concept of internal hiring is nothing new, one recently coined trend, “quiet hiring,” suggests a shift in strategy and rise in popularity. “I was wondering if I was reading that right… Hiring from within is something companies have been doing for as long as I’ve been around…” Tirella explains.  

As companies make these “quiet hires,” they are looking to introduce employees to new skill sets and promote them to different positions within their organizations. And there are a lot of reasons for them to do so. 

As Tirella explains, internal hiring saves the employer money and lessens the risk of hiring candidates who don’t fit company culture or standards. “The last thing they [employers] will want to do is advertise on a job board to hire someone they don’t know,” she adds. 

Like many other aspects of your career, opportunities to move up the ladder or gain a new skill set might exist without you even knowing. Hernandez has a few tips for those interested in discovering opportunities within their current employer. Listen below:

  • “I think as coaches, we can really start actually putting that forward to our students and identifying, ‘Hey, this is what we’re seeing in the job market. Why not build that skill of advocating for yourself and creating just a positive present in the workspace? So that you’re that person that’s considered for those roles.’”
  • “I always recommend, the earlier the better, right? Let them know of your interests. Building that mindset of, ‘Hey, we have these weekly or monthly meetings. Why not start explaining what my interests are?’ So it can start as a very casual conversation, ‘Hey, I’m doing this, but this is a catalyst. I’m now interested in learning more about data analytics. I’m interested in web design, and this is what I’m doing to build that skill set.’”
  • “So, it’s up to the employee, the alumni, the student to advocate for why they’re interested in these areas and actually start the conversation sooner than later.”
  • “Now, in cases where someone’s graduated, they’ve kept it a secret. They’re real scared to talk about it. Hey, we bring it up the same way. ‘This is an accomplishment that I made. I’m going to post it on LinkedIn. I’m so excited because of, you know, x, y, z. This is the technology that I fell in love with and this is what I would love to do with it.’ If you’re a great leader and if you’re around a great manager, they’re going to want to advocate for that, especially if you worked hard for them. So it really comes down to exposure and feeling confident and advocating for, not only the upskill that you’ve learned, but also, hey, just yourself as an employee, you feeling valued.”

With projections pointing to a potential shift towards internal hiring, up-skilling, and retention in 2023, the already daunting job search might feel scarier for new candidates and job seekers. Our coaches recommend — you guessed it — networking to stay competitive. Listen as they explain below: 

  • “The only way for them to get in is to have to prove themselves.” -Irene Tirella
  • “You need to build relationships and network.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “I wish there were other answers. I really do, because if there were, then I would give them. But it’s really them showing the initiative and that hunger. I felt like when I was interviewing for the job for Trilogy, I was so hungry for that job, you know? And I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it that first time. But what I did was: when I applied later on, I made it seem like they already knew me. And they did because they interviewed me. So, I use that as a strategy for my students. That’s your hottest lead right there: you had an interview, they said no, that means no, not today. Now you have a lead.” -Irene Tirella
  • “The thing is, again, it comes back to the networking. And it’s not just that, what else are you doing? Are you building any projects around this company you want to work for? Around whatever it is that they do? How can you impress them? How can you get yourself in front of them?” -Irene Tirella

On health, wellness, and boundary setting

Every January, professionals in various industries and career stages tend to refocus energy and efforts on mental health, boundary setting, and how they exist in the workplace. This year is no different. 

Given all the recent changes in the workforce, in our beliefs about work, and in our beliefs about life outside of work, it should come as no surprise that mental health is an important theme for careers in 2023. 

“Mental health has been such a forefront in not just work culture or corporate culture, but our culture in general. So it is something that’s [more] openly talked about now,” Hernandez adds.

Whether you are looking to stay at your current company, start a new position elsewhere, or start your job search entirely, it’s never too late to prioritize your mental health and establish boundaries. Listen to commentary and tips on prioritizing mental health during a job search, below:

  • “They feel that anxiety. That anxiety just overwhelms everything, that all you see is black. Let’s step away, you know, see some color for a second and things will work themselves out.”
  • “My biggest takeaway is going to be: take care of yourself first. Create a plan that you set aside some time for you. And really do that. It’s not, you know, ‘Oh, I’m just going to set aside some time to watch TV or whatever that looks like.’ Set aside some time for you and reevaluate. ‘OK, I did what I could today,’ and then start again.”
  • “What is that time boundary or expectation boundaries-wise that you are setting for yourself? Once a student has self-identified. That’s when we can build our question around that when it comes to the interview. That is an appropriate time to ask, ‘Hey, how do employees in this department juggle work/life balance? It sounds like we have a lot of collaborative projects together. How does your team manage that?’ That is an appropriate way of asking versus say, ‘So what does work/life balance look like here?’ You know? Saying, ‘Hey, we did a little bit of research. We’ve asked some follow up questions to that.’ Now let’s get a better feel for that, because that company could say, ‘You know what? We want you to be available until 8:00 PM every day.’ And for my student, that might not be realistic. So, at that point, again, as coaches, we have to build that advocacy to say, ‘Hey, is this the right space for me?’” -Alejandra Hernandez

Even if you’re settled into an established role with a long-term employer, there is no time like the present to set new boundaries and strike a better balance between work and life. Hernandez agrees. 

“Now, when you’re actively in a role, I think most of us can relate. We’ve been in education or in several industries prior and maybe it wasn’t as healthy [as we wanted]. I think that more than anything, it’s learning from those experiences and learning to speak for yourself sooner.” 

Hernandez says it best, when you’re looking to improve the conditions in your role and find optimal work-life balance, the sooner the better. Hear more advice on this from our coaches, below:

  • “You know, we have this thing: January 1st. I’m going to go to the gym and I’m going to eat better and all that. But, that kind of took a shift, in that, work/life balance and mental health – those are the two things that we’re kind of looking for. I think it’s only going to get stronger, at least the work/life balance thing.” -Irene Tirella
  • “I actually had this happen with a couple of students: that their department, it’s just not working for them. It’s overreaching with their time. And they would just like to be in another department. They like the company. Just that particular space that isn’t working for them. You know what your workload is. What is what is preventing you from finishing it within that time? Is that something that’s out of your control? Let’s talk to management about that. How to have strategic conversations versus emotional conversations.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “Work/life balance for me could look very different, right? For me, it could be at 6:00. That’s my timeline. I’m in. I’m out. I close my laptop, I clean my desk for the day and I close the door. And that part of my life is done, right? For someone else, it can be, ‘I’m open to answering emails until 8:00 as long as I’m home with the pets or my kids, and I can make it to a soccer game.’ So everyone’s definition of that is very different.” -Alejandra Hernandez
  • “You always have to come in with some sort of a solution or at least be able to paint the pathway for them, so they can see where maybe there’s a disconnect. Either that can be fixed and you can have a conversation, have a meeting, strategize how things can work in the future and set your boundaries there. Or, in the cases of a couple of my students, they were very open about not necessarily feeling like there was a lot of growth in their department, and, again, introducing and exposing that they were upskilling and they’ve gotten support. Because they were able to advocate for themselves, because, again, we have to come in with those conversations with strategy to be better advocates for our own time and boundaries.” -Alejandra Hernandez

As Hernandez mentioned earlier, career experts and coaches are not psychics. Upon observing the career trends of 2022, it is clear that sometimes things happen that you can’t predict. 

With that said, we hope that our predictions and research on the year ahead help you to be proactive in your career journey, whether it be through setting a new boundary, getting promoted within your company, or discovering a position in a new field that aligns with your passions. 

Continue to visit the Career Engagement Network for industry specific content, tips for increasing your professional visibility, and more.

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