2019 has ush­ered in many new trends such as retro car­toon char­ac­ter time­pieces, meat­less ham­burg­ers, and 5G net­works to name a few. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, trend-watch­ing doesn’t stop with pop cul­ture, fash­ion, and tech­nol­o­gy. Your company’s human resources depart­ment should also take notice of the top changes in the mar­ket­place, so they are poised to attract and retain the best tal­ent. These top trends include a greater empha­sis on soft skills, increased work­force flex­i­bil­i­ty, and salary transparency.


Gone are the days of hir­ing a can­di­date sole­ly based on their hard skills—their edu­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal back­ground. While the prop­er edu­ca­tion and train­ing are impor­tant fac­tors in get­ting the job com­plet­ed, a well-round­ed employ­ee must have the soft skills need­ed to work with a team, prob­lem solve, and com­mu­ni­cate ideas and process­es. Accord­ing to Tim Sack­ett, SHRM-SCP and pres­i­dent of HRU Tech­ni­cal Resources in Michi­gan, “Employ­ers should be look­ing for soft skills more and train­ing for hard skills, but we strug­gle with that.” While hard skills can be mea­sured, soft skills are hard­er to quan­ti­fy. How­ev­er, soft skills facil­i­tate human con­nec­tions and are the one thing that machines can­not replace.  They are invalu­able to the suc­cess of a company.


As mil­len­ni­als begin to flood the work­place, the tra­di­tion­al view of the work­week has changed. Job seek­ers report they place a high impor­tance on hav­ing the flex­i­bil­i­ty of when and where to work. The typ­i­cal work day has evolved from a 9am – 5pm day to a flex­i­ble 24-hour work cycle that adjusts to the needs of the employ­ee. Employ­ers are able to offer greater flex­i­bil­i­ty about when the work is com­plet­ed and where it takes place. This flex­i­bil­i­ty has so much impor­tance that job seek­ers say remote work options and the free­dom of an adapt­able sched­ule have an high­er pri­or­i­ty to them over pay.


In the wake of the very pub­lic out­ing of the gen­der and race pay gaps, com­pa­nies are open­ing up con­ver­sa­tions about wages in the work­place. Once a hushed sub­ject pun­ish­able by ter­mi­na­tion, salary infor­ma­tion is now often being shared in the office. Employ­ers have found that the more trans­par­ent and open that they are about the com­pen­sa­tion lev­els in their orga­ni­za­tion, the more trust­wor­thy they appear to their work­force. One way to stay edu­cat­ed on the wel­come trend of pay equal­i­ty is to vis­it the US Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics’ web­site to review wage ranges across the nation. Anoth­er great resource is the Depart­ment of Labor’s free pub­li­ca­tion called “Employer’s Guide on Equal Pay.”

By watch­ing the trends in the mar­ket­place, employ­ers can focus on what is impor­tant to their staff. Hon­est dis­cus­sions about salary and com­pen­sa­tion, when and where to work, and devel­op­ing the employ­ee as a whole, includ­ing soft skills, sets your com­pa­ny up for suc­cess. When you lis­ten to what the mar­ket is say­ing, you show you are sen­si­tive to what their pri­or­i­ties are—and this is always on trend.