Aiming to kickstart the next stage in your career in 2024? Careers directors at top global business schools predict 10 employment trends that will affect recruitment and the workplace this year
Economic difficulties have defined much of life post-Covid, even forcing waves of cross-industry layoffs in 2023. However the world today looks significantly different to a year ago, when ChatGPT was just beginning to emerge.
The technological revolution that the generative artificial intelligence tool sparked continues today, and looks set to shape the future of business and the workplace.
The climate crisis is similarly influential, with companies increasingly forced—by a mixture of regulation, competition, and consumer demand—to change their practices and contribute to a shift towards a greener economy.
So, how will all of this impact employment in 2024? BusinessBecause spoke with 10 directors of career services at global business schools to find out their employment trends predictions for the year ahead.
10 Employment Trends For 2024
1. Artificial Intelligence and automation will be key during recruitment
AI and automation processes have already been integrated into the talent acquisition process in recent years, and this process will continue and accelerate in 2024. The screening of CVs, candidate searches, and applicant interviews will continue to be supported by technology, leading to further cost savings.
Application processes can be further improved through chatbots and virtual contact people. Data analysis, big data, and analytics will play a significant role in further optimizing the recruiting process and supporting personnel decisions through talent identification and personal and cultural suitability.
Maren Kaus, director of career services, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
2. Integration of AI in the workplace will mean more focus on soft skills
As it becomes increasingly feasible to automate technical aspects of work—coding, research, or data management, for example—the ability to leverage soft skills for tasks that still require a human touch becomes critical. For this reason, in 2024, we will see organizations increasing their investment in developing and nurturing skills and attributes such as creativity, curiosity, emotional intelligence, communication, interpersonal problem-solving and thought leadership.
Cerise Walters, head of employability, Sheffield Business School
3. …and skills will be more important than ever for recruiters
With an increased rate of job seekers applying for positions and companies having a growing focus on employee development and retention, it’s more important than ever for students to be highlighting the skills they have developed that employers are increasingly seeking.
These include analytical and creative thinking, which continue to top the list of skills priorities in several reports (including The Future of Jobs 2023 WEF, and Indeed’s Future Skills for the Workplace).
Lisa Umenyiora, executive director of careers and student life, Imperial College Business School
4. Employers will hire students closer to graduation dates
For full-time roles outside of the typical summer internship conversions, companies will continue to recruit more of their MBA hiring volume in ‘real time’ closer to graduation (as opposed to the more traditional timelines of hiring and making offers in the fall, well in advance of spring graduation).
The ‘real-time’ hiring affords companies more flexibility to hire for specific skills into roles that are immediately available and gives MBA graduates, especially in more non-traditional areas, added options.
Brian Ruggiero, associate dean of careers, NYU Stern
READ: 10 New Year’s Resolutions For MBA Candidates
5. Developments in tech and sustainability will fuel job growth
Sectors such as technology, particularly in areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity, are expected to continue growing. The fact is artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity, are booming due to increasing reliance on digital infrastructure, the need for data analysis, and rising cybersecurity threats.
Additionally, renewable energy, biotechnology, healthcare, and digital commerce are also likely to be prominent, given the ongoing digital transformation and the world’s focus on sustainability and health.
Patrícia Teixeira Lopes, vice dean and director of career services, Porto Business School
6. …but geopolitical and economic issues will affect certain industries
Shipping, logistics and e-commerce are likely to slow a tad given factors such as geo-political conflicts and within the context of an economic slowdown taking place globally, as well as in China. Case in point, we are witnessing issues with shipping traffic within global routes in the Suez and Panama canals.
Additionally, the areas of private equity and venture capital will be impacted by interest rates that may remain elevated for an uncertain period of time.
Henry Yeo, head of postgraduate career services, Singapore Management University
7. Hiring plans in key industries are likely to change
Due to the growth in hiring over the last few years, some sectors such as tech have adjusted their current hiring plans. The consulting sector is another one of them, as per the high recruitment after Covid to tackle companies’ transformation plans.
That being said, we are in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world and students should be aware of the quickly changing jobs market. Soft skills are so important to face these fluctuations and are a major recruitment criterion for employers. Younger generations are generally not aware of it—but soft skills development should become a major focus for students and business schools over the next few years.
Caroline Serry, director of the career center, ESSCA School of Management
8. … and technological innovation will drive a focus on reskilling and upskilling
Reskilling and upskilling will be essential in 2024 as automation, AI, and machine learning continue to replace many jobs. These needs will drive the education sector towards more lifelong learning offerings, short, non-degree courses, and more hybrid learning opportunities for working professionals.
Dibyendu Bose, deputy director of strategy, innovation, and impact, Sasin School of Management
9. Hybrid work will enable greater geographic flexibility for employees
In 2023, we observed a broader dispersion of graduate jobs across cities and regions compared to previous years. For our international students in the U.S., there was a shift in employment from traditionally strong markets (Boston, New York City, and San Francisco) to smaller cities such as Austin, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, and Chicago.
With remote work options and e-recruiting, students find it easier to conduct a nationwide job search and then transition into jobs via remote work options.
Katharine Boshkoff, global vice president of careers and employment, Hult International Business School
10. … and we will work less!
The trend we are heading towards is that we will work for less and less time, and with more flexibility. We’ll have less physical presence in the workplace, but more feedback, working in a more relevant way.
The ultimate goal is the hybrid model and the four-day working week, which are already being implemented in more and more places. This is symptomatic of a major shift in the corporate mindset with employee wellbeing and productivity being the priority.
Brigitte Pérez Morey, head of career services, UPF Barcelona School of Management