Bridge Insights

The Top Trends of the 2020 Employment Landscape

Jan 6, 2020

A new year means new goals and resolutions. Many businesses are embracing the start of the new decade with open arms and an eye to the future when building out their yearly goals and strategies. As businesses make their 2020 goals and update their hiring and retention tactics, here are some of the more significant trends to take note of as we head into the new year.

The Job Market

The employment landscape is inextricably linked to the economy, and 2019 saw unemployment rates hit 50-year lows. Even though the economy is currently in a stage of growth, there are quite a few indicators the rate of growth is slowing, and a recession is on the horizon.

Although recent reports are predicting the economic downturn will be tepid and/or will not happen within the next 12 months, forecasts are, at their core, (educated) speculation. The only thing any of us can say with any certainty is what goes up must come down. So for businesses, it’s best to be prepared with a plan for the inevitable.

For employers:

Businesses that have experienced the challenges of hiring in a candidate-driven market may be excited for the increased volume of applicants that an economic slow-down can bring, but we at Bridge are big believers in quality over quantity. And parsing through the influx of new talent for top-quality candidates can bring with it its own set of frustrations.

Although some businesses may not see the need to maintain some of the strategies used in 2019 to attract candidates to their businesses, it is important not to compromise corporate branding as hiring strategies shift.

Communication and company branding will be tantamount for the foreseeable future, and it is important not to lose sight of that –even as the employment landscape inches closer to an employee-driven market.

With economic growth slowing and corporate purse strings being a little tighter, hiring strategies will need to adapt in order to maintain the same amount of efficacy. An elegant solution to consider is a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) model, where the frustrations of the hiring process can be inhibited while simultaneously expanding and enhancing a business’ corporate brand.

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New Laws

In 2020, several states will be rolling out various forms of legislation that will impact the employment landscape. These laws are focused on areas of sexual harassment and discrimination, minimum wage increases, recreational marijuana use and pre-employment drug testing, and much more.

Many of these new laws seem to be focused on employee welfare and, depending on their success, we can expect similar laws to make their way into other states –and possibly Federal Rule– in the years to come.

For employers:

Staying educated on the timeline as well as any amendments to new legislation that impacts your business is key in order to stay compliant with both federal and state laws.


It is no surprise that technology has shifted the way we communicate and connect with one another, and the workplace is no exception. Communication methods like text and instant messenger programs are carving their own niche in inter and intra-office communication.

Additionally, more and more millennials are turning to social media to search and apply to open company positions. An active and engaged company presence on these digital channels is becoming vital in order to resonate with the younger members of the workforce.

For employers:

Businesses need to have an active, engaged and responsive brand presence on social media platforms to be relevant in today’s culture. If social media is not something your business sees value in, chances are there is a missed opportunity for  engaging with your customer base and connecting with new talent as well.

[blockquotes color=”accent” quote=”yes”]With economic growth slowing and corporate purse strings being a little tighter, hiring strategies will need to adapt in order to maintain the same amount of efficacy.


On the operations side, the technologies of artificial intelligence and process automation have made tremendous strides forward in recent years, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  In the workplace, the proliferation of technology is reshaping the day-to-day operations of many businesses in terms of roles performed as well as how businesses source and onboard applicants.

For employers:

Despite the belief that increased technology takes jobs away, many studies show that the opposite is true. However as more technology enters the workplace, increasingly, process-based or single-purpose jobs will be delegated to automated resources. This, in turn, will mandate high-value employees have flexible and diversified skill sets; job positions will begin to reflect this need.

Employer Culture

With unemployment rates hanging around their lowest in nearly 50 years, job-seekers and employers alike know this is a candidate-driven market. Because applicants have had such a powerful influence on the 2019 hiring landscape, this dynamic obliged employers to listen to jobseekers, and shift their hiring strategies to adapt to jobseeker requests.

Even as we all brace for a recession, the voices of job seekers will not go by the wayside. The US workforce is in the midst of a demographic shift as Baby Boomers begin to leave the workforce and older Gen-Z candidates move in. More and more we are seeing millennials become the dominant voice in the workforce. And studies have shown younger generations prioritize professional fulfillment over other components of employment.

For employers:

This shift in work-force demographics means that hiring tactics used to appeal to younger talent will continue to shift to focus more heavily on corporate brand and company culture. And, although appreciated, perks like weekly lunches, unlimited time-off, or workstations with treadmills fall a little short of what younger employees are truly looking for.

When looking to fill new positions, businesses should tout corporate brand and the benefits their business brings to the community/industry on the whole. How will the responsibilities of this position contribute toward that end goal? What type of team dynamic does your business present, and what tangible results can a prospective employee expect to see as a result of successful job performance?

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Putting it All Together

The employment landscape of 2020 is poised to be one of change. But despite all these changes, the terrain at the start of the new decade will not be unrecognizable to that of 2019. If employers stay educated on these trends and can maintain a proactive and flexible hiring strategy, they will undoubtedly be prepared for success in the new year.

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