IT Staffing predictions for 2023 – Winter is Coming

December 22, 2022
IT Staffing predictions for 2023 – Winter is Coming

A new recruiting year beckons and with it new budgets, new trends, new expectations, and new realities.

Will the long tech winter continue? Will emerging industries obliterate legacy hiring models? Will the nation take the dire need for a country-wide reskilling effort seriously? All remains to be seen. But its the season of goodwill, so here at Focus we’re all about the hiring positives for 2023 and how some trends will transform tech staffing solutions for the

So what are the big predictions for the staffing industry in 2023?


Irregular churn, flexible work and consistent staff movement

A common question tech recruiters ask themselves is “is the great resignation really over?”. Reports are showing a not insignificant proportion of the US workforce still desires real, material change.

  •  “Quarter of U.S. Workers Want Change by 2023”.

But while the full scale of year-wide churn is yet to be known, what we do know is that workers are more determined than ever to prioritize flexible work, hybridity of career and remote work, alongside skills development and better work/life balance. 

Indeed, a recent McKinsey report showed:

  • “58%…of Americans…say they can work remotely at least part of the time”.
  • “87% of workers offered at least some remote work embrace the opportunity and spend an average of three days a week working from home”.

Bearing in mind trends show that “36.2 million workers or 22% of Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025”, and “97% of employees want their work to be at least partially remote in the future”, it’s fairly certain 2023 will represent a sea-change year for the establishment of remote-work-as-standard across the tech and non-tech world.

Focus GTS Top Tip.

We urge employers to remain as flexible as possible in the coming year. The trend towards remote work and a desire for hybridity isn’t shared equally across all industries, cities, niches or demographics. 

The best way to draw the best talent to you is to work with each candidate individually and commit to offering a competitive package that suits their strengths and matches their expectations.

Retirement – are people taking it earlier, and who’s returning to work?

When social security payments are expected to increase by 8.7% in line with inflation in 2023, older generations could be tempted to retire early, or start winding down from full to part-time hours. The trend toward early retirement that so defined the pandemic is expected to somewhat remain consistent as retirement asset values (IE. homes and savings) remain high and stable.

This. however, would go against the trend of a general rise in retirement age across the USA. Plus, the rise in early retirement isn’t uniform across all industries: there are reports of significant portions of previously retired age groups returning to work – “an estimated 1.5 million retirees have reentered the U.S. labor market over the past year, according to an analysis of Labor Department data”.

The independent work – and optimism – boom.

Here we want to pull apart two interesting points from another McKinsey report, Freelance, side hustles, and gigs: Many more Americans have become independent workers.

  • “36% – equivalent to 58 million Americans – identify as independent workers”.
  • “Independent workers…are far more optimistic, both about their own futures and the outlook for the economy, than the average American worker…a third of them say that in 12 months they expect to have more economic opportunities…(and) more than 40% of independent workers say that they think it’s more likely in five years that there will be continuous economic growth”.

So what’s driving this trend of freelance optimism? 

Well, there are many reasons – the rise of the digital native; the rise of organizations utilizing contingent workforces during COVID-19; the rise of the gig- and digital economy; the rise of the “side hustle”, and the resilience shown by laid-off workforces going it alone during the pandemic.

All of which points to a new culture of work – the self-starter and the entrepreneurial-minded are becoming more established as a workplace norm.

Maybe this points to an expectation of “you get out what you put in”, or perhaps desperate times mean desperate measures? More than likely the forces behind the rise of the extra-hard hustling freelance are a mixture of both. 

The digital economy has opened up doors to new opportunities where old ones were slammed shut.

Ethics and the rise of Gen Z.

The worker and workplace of the future is being built, but our future leaders are joining the workforce at a precarious moment in United States history. 

Despite mass economic overhaul and a return to economic normal, Gen Z school leavers and workers are entering a heavily scarred economic environment, and their morale is low. 

  • “Employed Gen Z respondents are more likely to report that the pay they receive for their work does not allow them a good quality of life…and are less likely than others to report feeling fairly recognized and rewarded for their work”.

However the reaction to this has been profound, and next year we expect to see a skills explosion in our younger working generations. 

Their digital nativism will offer them opportunities older generations can’t and don’t want; workplaces will become more ethically minded and diverse as more Gen Z workers entrench their demographic vision of a fairer society; and, as more Gen Zers start to vote, they will demand change in how they are governed and administered too, with record low levels of trust in politicians recorded in our up and coming generation which could indicate a rise of more community focused ventures.

The big tech winter. 

If there’s been a phrase to best describe 2022 it’s “tech winter” – the great reduction of tech workforces as pre-COVID, hyper-accessible, fast-growth money dried up and belts tightened across the digital ecosphere.

July and November 2022 were the real cold months. 2023, however, will be a year of two halves, and in theory could show signs of an inversion of recession-typical recruitment outcomes, primarily driven by an un-typical increase in demand for tech talent, even as hiring budgets reduce.

For example, tech hiring may stay reduced, but shortages will persist in key tech fields such as Data Science, Cloud Architecture, DevOps, SREs and Machine Learning. Skilled labor supply and niche labor training will remain constricted, but contract hiring will stay high (and it could possibly grow as a result of tech talent realizing financial returns are greater in the contractor market).

So if 2023 is to be defined by anything it’s how technical providers and technical staff thread the needle of reduced access to talent while demand stays high.


Focus GTS Top Tip.

A word to the wise for tech employers – ride with the ride, don’t swim against it. The rise of the contractor market doesn’t mean perm staff aren’t out there – it means great perm staff are, for now, more likely to come to you as a contingent workers. 

So hire them, get them in the door, and leverage your employer branding to convert them into perm placement!