The trends shaping jobs in 2022

“By and large, they say they don’t want to go back to the office, and they’re enjoying the flexibility,” Zhao said. “Even the more neutral or mixed reviews talk about how rocky RTO was.”

Silent cessation

Quiet quitting is a new term for an old idea, that of employee demotivation.

It’s a bit misleading because silent quitters don’t leave their jobs. Instead, they’re eschewing the rush culture and “abandoning the idea of ​​doing anything at work,” as TikTok user zaidleppelin said in a July post that helped popularize the phrase. The trend has resonated strongly with Gen Z and Millennials fighting to rewrite the rules of the workplace.

Some workers define it as doing the bare minimum. Others put it in terms of setting reasonable boundaries and saying no to staying too long or being endlessly reachable via email or Slack.

According to Benjamin Granger, senior occupational psychologist at Qualtrics, a provider of survey software, one of the most critical factors in quitting quietly is whether employees feel they have a good work-life balance. Employees who say they feel overwhelmed are more likely to set boundaries and say, “I’m going to take my foot off the gas,” Granger said.


Regardless of the definition, the goal is the same: detaching employees’ identity from their work, giving them more time and energy to invest elsewhere.

productivity paranoia

As hybrid work became the norm and bosses came under increasing pressure to increase output as a possible recession threatened the economy, there was a steady stream of executives like Google’s Sundar Pichai and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg who vowed to boost productivity increase, and underperforming companies challenged and encouraged their employees to do more.

They had reason to worry: In the first half of 2022, productivity plummeted by the sharpest drop since 1947, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The slump was confusing for some because productivity soared to levels not seen in decades as the coronavirus forced an overnight forced shift to remote work, leading some economists to believe the pandemic is triggering longer-term growth could. The opposite happened.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said his company coined the term “productivity paranoia” to describe employers’ fears about whether their employees are working hard enough, especially when they’re away from the office.

“When we talk to execs, they miss the old cues, the ability to walk down the hall and check on people and see and understand what they’re working on,” said Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365 and the Company efforts on the future of work.

Productivity paranoia can create bad behavior among bosses, Stallbaumer said, whether it’s introducing monitoring tools into the workplace or enforcing strict back-to-office policies that leave employees feeling alienated.

Boomerang staff

As the pandemic prompted workers to reconsider how work fits into their lives, the strength of the job market gave workers a chance to pursue new options. In the US, around 48 million workers left their jobs in 2021 in what became known as the “Great Resignation”.

But some workers left their positions, only to find that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In the past, some employers have been reluctant to rehire workers who left for other opportunities, but this time the tight labor market has prompted companies to reconsider.

Boomerang employees, as they are known, have been a key resource for companies in the battle for talent: they require minimal training and are quick to catch up.

From January 2019 to April 2022, Boomerang employees accounted for nearly a third of new hires from outside of an organization, according to data from Visor, a workforce analytics company. The average returnee was rehired within about 13 months. And Boomerang employees earn an average of 25 percent more when they return than they did when they left.

career dampening

As recession fears began to mount towards the end of the year, layoff announcements rippled across the tech industry and beyond, with companies like Facebook’s parent company Meta, Snap and Goldman Sachs shedding thousands of jobs. Employment experts say this could be a sign that the pendulum of power is swinging back towards employers heading towards 2023.


In view of the storm clouds gathering on the job market, employees are keeping their options open. Enter “career cushioning,” which borrows terminology from the dating sphere, where “cushioning” describes someone who devises a plan B if their relationship doesn’t work out.

Career cushioning can mean preparing for a potential move by improving skills or networking, or it can mean actively pursuing other opportunities. The phrase has gained popularity on social media and among HR professionals as a wave of employees and potential job seekers brace for more disruption.

As the job market has cooled slightly, LinkedIn has seen evidence that workers are “preparing for the next economic headwind,” according to Blair Heitmann, a careers expert for the jobs platform. Some people work longer hours, are considering taking on a second job, or are looking for more stable options.

“Our data shows us that more people are looking for jobs, that people are preparing,” said Heitmann. “If you compare that to the last couple of years, it’s a bit of a mindset shift. The power paradigm is shifting a bit.”

The Washington Post The trends shaping jobs in 2022

Brian Lowry

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