Shaping Our Future: Trends We’re Seeing in Hiring and Developing Internal Talent

Last year saw significant change for our customers, and those changes are reflected in how they used Workday products—specifically in hiring trends globally and by industry. Our findings, based on metrics from the Workday platform, provide insights into momentum around growing internal talent and what it all might mean for companies and job seekers in the year ahead.

We’ve been witnessing seemingly contradictory macroeconomic indicators and tumultuous trends in tech hiring. As the senior vice president of talent acquisition, people insights, and people experience at Workday, I wanted to get a better understanding of what exactly is going on, so I asked some of our machine learning experts to look at the treasure trove of metrics from Workday Recruiting, Workday Peakon Employee Voice, and the core Workday Human Capital Management system. 

Some of the insights they surfaced verified what many of my peers and I have been discussing, and have been very helpful in planning Workday’s two-year talent strategy. After sharing these insights internally, it occurred to me that these findings might help other leaders obtain a better sense of recent trends to get the most value from their talent acquisition strategies. 

2022, after all, was a year of significant change for our customers. Companies went from managing the “Great Resignation” at the start of the year to economic uncertainty and significant slowdowns in hiring by year’s end. For other talent acquisition leaders, this meant navigating ambiguity and embracing agility to support changing business needs. 

Our findings highlight these dynamics and how they affected hiring globally and by industry. The findings also provide insight into what these trends could mean for companies and job seekers going into the coming year and beyond.

When we look at the ratio of applications to requisitions, we can infer which industries attracted more candidates for their open positions in 2022 and which attracted the least candidates per open position.

To better appreciate the breadth of our data, it might help to know that in December 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 11 million job openings in the country. Workday Recruiting managed 2.1 million job requisitions in the U.S. that month, which represents nearly 20% of all U.S. job openings. 

2022 in Review

Last year, Workday Recruiting processed more than:

  • 41 million job requisitions (reqs) (a 17% increase compared to 2021) 
  • 215 million job applications (a 33% increase compared to 2021)
  • 27 million offers and employee agreements (EAs) (a 31% increase compared to 2021)

To put that into perspective, 215 million applications is an average of 589,000 per day—25,000 an hour! This data shows the incredible volume Workday Recruiting supports, the sheer scale at which our customers operate, and in turn, the strain that those companies without a solution like ours must be under in terms of volume. 

The data also reveals that applications are growing faster than requisitions. After studying the charts below, you’ll see that in the first half of 2022, year-on-year requisition growth was 30% and application growth was 32%, meaning that job seeking and job creation were in rough equilibrium. For additional perspective, requisition growth in 2021 was 103% (compared to 2020) while application growth was 66% (compared to 2020).

Bottom line, in 2022 (the full year) application growth was nearly double that of requisitions, showing that we’re in a very different world. With more candidates for a given job, we have to be clear on the skills we need for the future and appropriately assess for those skills—to make sure the candidate can reach their full potential and organizations can meet their current and future business needs. 

Industry Differences

Even with slowdowns, labor shortages persist and economic uncertainty is affecting industries differently. Communications, media, and technology saw major layoffs and reduced hiring in 2022. Other industries, such as retail and professional services, hired aggressively throughout the year to address persistent staffing gaps. 

Nonetheless, for job seekers, the communications, media, and technology industries, as well as financial services, remain attractive and competitive despite layoffs and hiring slowdowns. Healthcare and education, however, while already bruised from the pandemic, continue to struggle in attracting applicants, making it less competitive for job seekers who do apply to those jobs.

Let’s take a closer look at the industries with the most reqs in 2022:

  1. Retail: 8.9 million (34% increase compared to 2021)
  2. Manufacturing: 7.8 million (30% increase compared to 2021)
  3. Financial services: 6.1 million (13% increase compared to 2021)
  4. Professional services: 4.7 million (52% increase compared to 2021)
  5. Healthcare: 4.3 million (28% increase compared to 2021)

And here are the industries that saw the highest applicant volumes in 2022:

  1. Retail: 47.7 million (70% increase compared to 2021)
  2. Financial services: 40 million (43% increase compared to 2021)
  3. Professional services: 35.8 million (63% increase compared to 2021)
  4. Manufacturing: 32.7 million (36% increase compared to 2021)
  5. Comms, media, and tech: 23.5 million (24% increase compared to 2021)

Although the two lists nearly match, you’ll notice that healthcare has many more reqs than applications. In fact, out of all industries, healthcare has the lowest ratio of applications per requisition at 2.56 applications/req (19% increase in apps to reqs ratio compared to 2021). Comms, media, and tech is experiencing the inverse, with 9.40 applications/req (39% increase compared to 2021).

Here’s the full breakdown of the ratios above: 

Highest applications per requisition:

  1. Communication, media, and tech: 9.40 applications/req (39% increase compared to 2021)
  2. Professional services: 7.60 applications/req (8% increase compared to 2021)
  3. Nonprofit: 7.36 applications/req (32% increase compared to 2021)
  4. Financial services: 6.59 applications/req (28% increase compared to 2021)
  5. Retail: 5.31 applications/req (27% increase compared to 2021)

When we look at the ratio of applications to requisitions, we can infer which industries attracted more candidates for their open positions in 2022 and which attracted the least candidates per open position. 

Lowest applications per requisition:

  1. Healthcare: 2.56 applications/req (19% increase compared to 2021)
  2. Education: 4.11 applications/req (20% increase compared to 2021)
  3. Public sector: 4.16 applications/req (4% increase compared to 2021)
  4. Manufacturing: 4.19 applications/req (5% increase compared to 2021)
  5. Hospitality: 4.93 applications/req (20% increase compared to 2021)

What does all this mean for talent acquisition leaders? For one, I am actively promoting Workday Candidate Engagement to our customers in industries with low ratios—as a solution to help them attract and engage top candidates to expand their pipelines. And again, when you are clear on the skills the company has, and the skills it needs to grow, it’s easier to see which candidates are the best fit. Workforce planning is also key here to chart a course around talent and skills shortages and plan for the best ways, at the best times, to either source talent externally or build it internally.

Furthermore, onboarding is more important than ever to keep new hires engaged during their first 90 days—especially vital in industries with notoriously high turnover. Internally, we use our Workday Journeys functionality at the transition points of the employee experience—onboarding, return to office, becoming a people leader, and so on—to guide people to the content and make the connections they need to be successful. Onboarding, as the first big transition, is the most important because we are laying the foundation of a Workmate’s experience here.

Global Highlights

All told, outside of the U.S. our customers generated more than 10 million job requisitions (22% increase compared to 2021); 52 million job applications (31% increase); and 5 million offers/EAs (32% increase).

The countries outside the U.S. that generated the most requisitions, applications, and EAs in 2022 were: 

  1. United Kingdom: 2 million reqs (20% increase), 13 million applications (45% increase), 1 million offers/EAs (22% increase)
  2. Canada: 1.8 million reqs (28% increase), 11.3 million applications (43% increase), 1.5 million offers/EAs (38% increase)
  3. France: 946,000 reqs (7% increase), 5.3 million applications (23% increase), 410,000 offers/EAs (57% increase)
  4. Netherlands: 745,000 reqs (9% increase), 3.9 million applications (28% increase), 294,000 offers/EAs (14% increase)
  5. Germany: 842,000 reqs (53% increase), 3.6 million applications (54% increase), 389,000 offers/EAs (122% increase)

Note that Germany may be at the bottom of the top 5 in terms of sheer volume, but that country saw the largest percentage increase in reqs and applications, as well as job offers and EAs—an eye-popping 122% increase. Even accounting for a degree of customer growth, the data shows that Germany, compared to other countries, saw aggressive hiring demand throughout the year.

Internal Mobility Is Key to the Future

I was happy to see that internal mobility was top of mind for our customers during the peak of the pandemic and beyond as they looked to address employee and skills gaps. Looking at Workday Talent Marketplace activity, in 2022 our customers created 14,000 gigs. This was an 83% increase compared to 2021.

Internal mobility is a vital tool for driving cultural cohesion, high performance, productivity, and employee engagement and retention.

With the rise of “quiet hiring”—moving the talent you already have to more rewarding and strategic roles, the opposite of the disengagement of “quiet quitting”—and focused efforts to reduce turnover of top talent, I believe our customers are looking to support more agile approaches to upskilling and developing talent. We also see companies creating centers of excellence where talent acquisition and talent management teams are partnering to create joint programs to execute on internal mobility goals.

Here at Workday, we strongly encourage our employees to grow their skills, and their careers, through gigs. Looking at some of our data from 2022, we found that gigs promoted internal movement by helping employees gain new skills, build connections, and discover opportunities within Workday. In fiscal year 2022, internal movement for gig participants at Workday was 19% versus 13% for Workday overall. 

Using sentiment analysis in our Workday Peakon Employee Voice tool, we found that gig participants who successfully transferred after taking a gig have a much more positive view about their career growth at Workday. What’s more, 32% of internal movements from gig participants were promotions into a higher job level, with many of these promotions consisting of individual contributors toward the top of their pay grades moving into managerial positions.

We found that gig participants who successfully transferred after taking a gig have a much more positive view about their career growth at Workday.

We should note another discovery, though: We found that sometimes the employees who seek gigs have lower positive sentiment toward their career and professional growth to begin with. So while gigs can be a tremendous opportunity for career growth, we also see that they could be “one last opportunity” in some situations. 

We found that a very small percentage of employees who participated in a gig left within a year, and that their average sentiment on career growth dropped when comparing sentiment before and after the gig. We think by making sure gig hosts clarify whether a successful gig could lead to a new opportunity, we can avoid situations that could lead to disappointment. In other words, we’re trying to make sure gigs are a positive experience for all involved.

This is just one way we’re going to continue to encourage and refine gigs here at Workday, because it’s an important tool in our internal mobility strategy. To that end, we’re working on ensuring the additional responsibilities and skills gained from gigs are better integrated into our quarterly career and progress check-ins between people leaders and their team. We are also working to create better alignment between the gig “host” (the person who creates and oversees the gig) and an employee’s manager—so that all involved understand workload implications and feedback responsibilities.

We’re doing all of this because we believe internal mobility is a vital tool for driving cultural cohesion, high performance, productivity, and employee engagement and retention. In fact, looking at Workday’s internal mobility metrics for fiscal year 2022, I’m happy to share that:

  • At least 30% of our hires were from internal candidates, which means we hit the internal goal we set for ourselves.
  • Workmates who made an internal move had lower attrition rates compared to Workday overall.
  • Internal hires show improved sentiment around growth opportunities at Workday, especially (as one could guess), after their lateral transfer. 

Along with our customers, we are all navigating an uncertain macroeconomic environment and doing the best we can to attract, and keep, the talent we need. When it comes to the road ahead, I know that with one eye on the data and the other on our values—with employees first and foremost—we’ll continue to move toward a brighter Workday for all.

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