Workday Hiring Trends Report: The “Big Stay” Is Poised to Become the “Big Leave”

Metrics from Workday customers indicate the hiring slowdown may be coming to an end. We explore how that impacts organizations’ talent strategies and why that makes “retaining” the new “recruiting.”

Trends in hiring reflect more than the state of the economy. They also reflect attitudes toward work, workforce mobility, and which industries are poised to weather future labor market shifts. Insights from our latest “Workday Hiring and Talent Trends” report indicate that due to a decrease in hiring, lower attrition rates, and stagnant internal mobility, employees feel restless and want to showcase or learn new skills. 

To build a high-performing workforce and ensure employees don’t jump to your competitors, HR leaders should turn up their internal mobility practices, employee listening, and processes and tools. Why?

The hiring environment might be on the cusp of change. Hiring is looking to stabilize in 2024, which might tilt the job market dynamic in favor of workers again. 

Voluntary turnover decreased dramatically in 2023, and time in position increased. So far, employees are staying in place longer, thereby delivering more value to their roles and organizations—but there’s an increasing risk of high performers leaving in droves once conditions change. 

Internal mobility is down. Many employees haven’t been able to grow their careers within their organization the way they’d like to, leading to lower engagement and upping the chance they’ll leave when a good opportunity for growth presents itself elsewhere.

In many ways, this is a perfect storm or prime opportunity for HR leaders, depending on what you do moving forward. There’s a ton of bottled-up employee energy, knowledge, and experience that will be great assets to someone—if not at your organization, then maybe at your competitor’s.

Job requisitions processed in Workday Recruiting declined just 2% from the first half of 2023 to the second half, indicating hiring may stabilize in 2024.

Retaining High Performers

To keep your people engaged and high performing, we recommend three things to make retention the new recruiting:

  • Tune up your internal mobility engine. Cultural acceptance of internal mobility starts at the top.  It’s important to use automation tools that take the friction out of matching your people’s skill sets with opportunities, and provide clarity for workers and their managers.
  • Re-engage by listening. Many organizations did a great job of listening to their employees’ needs during the pandemic, but that’s a muscle that’s recently atrophied at some companies.  Know what employees care about and the concrete actions to address those concerns.
  • Look at your tools and processes in light of opportunities from AI and automation. People are your most important asset, but take a hard look at the processes and tools you use to manage and grow them. If you can take the friction out of how work gets done, how people are recruited, how they’re engaged, and how they can share their concerns, your organization will be that much more desirable.

On average, Workday customers processed about 2,216,000 reqs in the U.S. per month, representing about 24% of all U.S. job openings.

The Opportunity: Develop Your People, or Lose Them

With companies currently sitting on a long-tenured gold mine of talent, and conditions likely on the verge of change, now is the time to build a higher-performing and more engaged workforce. This is why our report includes case studies on how Workday has been developing talent and performance amid the hiring slowdown. 

Our case studies highlight how we drove positive impacts:

  • Improved the speed and agility of our workforce by rethinking talent and performance philosophy: 35% decrease in the number of employees dissatisfied with their professional growth path. Following a thorough process that brought together executive committee members and their teams, we committed to strengthening six talent dimensions: performance, differentiation, transparency, accountability, development, and behaviors. This case study shares our actions and results, which included improved perceptions of individual growth.

  • Aligned career and development opportunities for our workforce with our business strategy: Internal hires were 82% more likely to be rated as a “top performer” in their new role compared to external hires. We implemented a series of changes supported by guardrails that enabled the internal mobility program to scale.

  • Empowered our employees with flex work: Three-quarters of employees are aligning to our expectations around flex work—with more getting on board every day. And, sentiment around flexibility, engagement, and remote work options have improved in Workday Peakon Employee Voice, our employee listening tool. Workday gave all employees access to a self-service dashboard to easily measure their time in office, and see how their office usage changed over time.

The time for action is now, as our indicators suggest a shift may be coming in the job market. To thrive in this environment, companies must move quickly and decisively. This is a great time for companies to learn from one another and adopt new strategies that bring out the best in talent, creating brighter work days for all.

Digging Deeper: Hiring and Promotion Trends from Workday Customer Metrics

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, on average there were 9,351,000 job openings per month in 2023. On average, Workday customers processed about 2,216,000 reqs in the U.S. per month, representing about 24% of all U.S. job openings. The size and quality of our data set allows us to have one of the most accurate and real-time views of global hiring trends playing out in the market today.

Overall Hiring Trends: Hiring remains lower than 2022 volumes. 

In 2023, Workday Recruiting customers processed:

  • 36 million job requisitions, a 13% decrease compared to 2022 
  • 284 million job applications, a 32% increase compared to 2022
  • 25 million offers and employee agreements (EAs), a 9% decrease compared to 2022

Here’s what to know: Job requisitions processed in Workday Recruiting declined just 2% from the first half of 2023 to the second half, indicating hiring may stabilize in 2024.

Hiring trends across industries: While hiring across industries remained down in 2023, the rate of decline is slowing, indicating we are nearing the end of a hiring slowdown.

Retail is recovering, healthcare is hiring.

  • With only a 7% decline in reqs compared to 2022, retail is on the fastest track back to recovery.
  • Healthcare maintained its pattern of running counter to broader hiring trends. It was the only industry among the top five of requisition volume to see an increase in job requisitions compared to 2022. 

For more industry-specific insights, an overview of global hiring trends, and a look at how the stagnant hiring environment impacts workforce diversity, read the full report.

Download the latest report “Workday Hiring and Talent Trends: Retention Is the New Recruiting” for more detail on our case studies and in-depth industry and regional metrics, or visit our thought leadership hub for the office of the CHRO.

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