Northwestern University professor, employment expert give 2022 job outlook

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The U.S. had a near-record 11 million job openings in October. And that same month, 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs. Some say they feel confident about their prospects with so many open jobs out there.

So, whether you're looking to start your career, you're reentering the labor market or maybe you're looking to leave your current job, you may be wondering, what do employment prospects look like in 2022?

According to Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, "Employers expect that the labor shortages are going to persist, that they're going to have trouble hiring new people. They're going to see excessive turnover, and there are just going to be waves of COVID, maybe different variants that come through and create short-term work stoppages."

WATCH: Our Chicago Part 1

COVID has greatly affected the job market, both in the Chicago area and across the country.

So how do employers survive if they can't hire the people they need?

SEE MORE: Quitting your job: Record numbers expected to quit amid 'great resignation' following pandemic

"It really depends on the type of employers here," said Sara Moreira, an assistant professor of strategy in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "I think there are employers in industries looking for workers for certain occupations. Think about administrative occupations, in the tech sector. Those employers can offer job contracts that will allow for flexibility in terms of working from home, in terms of part-time arrangements. And so they will perhaps be able to retain and attract workers by offering that flexibility even without raising wages or other benefits. But there's also employers that they cannot offer those options by the nature of the work. In that case, I think they will likely have to raise wages to attract workers, offer conditions that we haven't seen in the past."

Moreira went on to say, "In the long-term, we've started to see some of that, this acceleration of basically adoption of technologies associated with robotization, you know that are basically trying to substitute for labor. You know, this will allow employers to use less workers to produce their products and services. "

WATCH: Our Chicago Part 2

COVID has greatly affected the job market, both in the Chicago area and across the country.

Challenger said some employers are changing the qualifications for the positions they're trying to fill.

"I just talked to one person that is in charge of a very large company that decided to go back and look at every single job in their organization and reassess whether they really needed a four-year college degree for an applicant. There are so many jobs that they know they could fill with people without a degree that might be perfectly fine. So companies are trying to be creative and start to attract workers from populations they might not have accessed before," he said.