January 01, 2015

Employment Trends for 2015 and Beyond

Last month, DCR TrendLine concluded the year by providing a recap of the trends in employment over the course of 2014. As we gear up to begin 2015, we highlight our predictions of employment and workplace trends for the upcoming year.

Generation Z

Generation Z, born between 1994 and 2010, is becoming a major target for companies looking for interns. The oldest Gen Z’s will be seniors in college in 2015. Companies such as Deloitte and Microsoft are recruiting high school students for their internship programs.  Social media companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn are paying high school students to be interns. This increased interest and investment in Generation Z is occurring for two major reasons: 1) companies are trying to close the skills gap, and 2) companies are trying to compete for the very best talent by building brand awareness and loyalty early.

Baby Boomers

The current largest demographic group in the United States, Baby Boomers, is heading for retirement. As baby boomers retire, companies will have to worry about succession planning and knowledge transfer along with filling vacant positions in a tightening labor market. Additionally, as they grow older, baby boomers will require more frequent and specialized medical care. This will lead to continued growth in fields related to the care of this population, including healthcare professionals and social workers.


As companies target younger workers, such as Generation Z and millennials, they are focusing on improving their transparency. In a recent study by Millennial Branding, 52 percent of Gen Z’s and Gen Y’s state that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader. Social media is continuing to push companies to be more open and for leaders to share more of their activities on a regular basis.

Skills Gap

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that there were 4.7 million job openings in June 2014, and more than half of employers stated that they couldn’t find qualified candidates. An article by Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding, says that this issue will persist until the college curriculum aligns with the job marketplace. While only 2 percent of companies are recruiting liberal arts majors, schools continue to offer and promote these degrees. According to Schawbel, companies need to work with colleges so that students obtain the necessary skills to bridge the gap.

Mobile Job Search

In 2015, there will be an even greater emphasis on mobile recruiting. Currently, 83 percent of job seekers use a smartphone to search for job openings but only 20 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have a mobile friendly career site. As the use of mobile continues to grow, companies are starting to focus on optimizing their websites and creating mobile applications for the purpose of recruiting

Social Media For Talent

More companies will be active on social media and blogs in 2015. In order to stand out as an employer and promote employer brand, companies will start to post more work culture related posts and encourage their current employees to share them. According to Forbes, 58 percent of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media. With candidates holding the power in the labor market, people are becoming more selective and looking for interesting companies to work for, and social media posts give them a glimpse into the company that is more real than press releases and corporate websites.

Succession Planning

As baby boomers start to retire, succession planning is going to become a major concern for companies. Experts believe that companies will start to hold onto their older workers in order to transfer their knowledge to younger ones. In 2015, millennials become the largest percentage of the workforce for the first time. A study by Elance-oDesk found that 27 percent of millennials are already managers, and in 10 years, 47 percent want to be managers or senior managers.  A separate study by CareerBuilder found that the problem with new younger managers is that they are unprepared for their roles, as they were never trained and were just pushed into these positions out of necessity as companies lost older workers.

Non-Traditional Work

There will be more freelancers and independent workers in 2015, both out of choice and necessity. Employers are looking to hire more temp workers to retain flexibility and avoid paying benefits. A recent study by Elance-oDesk shows that 53 million Americans now work as freelancers, making up 34 percent of the U.S. workforce.

Distributed Work

A growing number of workers, especially specialized consultants and leaders, divide their time among multiple locations at companies or client organizations. Instead of keeping their own desk or cubicle, workers report to different workstations and worksites. Many workers telecommute, allowing them to reinvest time spent commuting into more productive work or time with family. Even on-site workspaces are transforming. A recent study by the University of Sydney found that people sitting for 8 to 11 hours a day increased their risk of dying by 15 percent.  Many companies are now promoting active work environments and are introducing standing stations, shared “hot desking” and even treadmill desks.