Podcast: HR trends & challenges in the labor market – Sébastien Delfosse

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In the very first podcast of ‘Right Career Talks,’in partnership with Lesley Arens from ZigZag HR –   Sébastien Delfosse delves into HR trends and challenges within the job market. As the Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Belgium & Luxembourg, he’s not just an expert but also deeply passionate about the world of work.

Throughout the podcast, he shines a light on the current labor market scenario, the trends we’ve identified, and the challenges that lie ahead in both the short and long term.

These insights stem from the  Employment Outlook Survey that ManpowerGroup shares every quarter and from the  2023 Workforce Trends Report ‘The New Human Age’ presented by ManpowerGroup at the World Economic Forum in Davos ‘.

In this article, we’ll take a moment to ponder over some of the key points Sebastien Delfosse raises.


Impact of economic situation on the job market

We have recently noticed a weakening in the hiring intentions of companies compared to the same period in 2022. This is due to the economic situation we find ourselves in, including factors like inflation, wage indexation, skyrocketing energy prices, and so on.

The impact of such economic influences on companies should not be underestimated. Hence, it’s not illogical that hiring expectations have declined, but it’s important to note that they are still positive.

Sebastien Delfosse has this to say: “We observed a cautious increase in companies’ hiring intentions in the third quarter. And we expect this trend to continue in the fourth quarter. However, with a lot of caution, as the uncertainty on many economic indicators persists.

HR trends in the labor market

Before delving into the trends that are shaping the trajectory of the job market, offering valuable insights and guidance for employers seeking to attract talent in the present and future, it’s prudent to briefly delineate the four driving factors that underpin these trends. It’s important to keep in mind that tech may be the engine, but it’s the human touch that steers the ship.

4 trend drivers in the labor market

Before we dig deeper into these ‘mega trends,’ it’s worth noting that these trends, or should we say ‘megatrends,’ stem from a survey by ManpowerGroup that kicked off in 2011, coinciding with the World Economic Forum in Davos. Over the years, ManpowerGroup has kept a watchful eye on how these trends would unfold.

Sebastien continues: “More than 10 years later, we can confirm that these structural trends identified in the first edition are being affirmed. Moreover, they are accelerating.”

Therefore, we want to take a look at those mega trends that Sebastien is referring to.

HR Trend 1: Demographic shifts

The current job market is being pressured by the aging population. This is manifested in the fact that baby boomers are starting to exit the job market and fewer young workers are entering it.

According to an OECD forecast, by 2030, a substantial 32.7% of the working-age group will fall in the age bracket of 45 to 59. Adding to this, another 10.6% will be aged 60 or above. Furthermore, a separate study suggests that Gen Z and Millennial workers will make up a whopping 58% of the job market by 2030.

Generations are shaped by the time they grow up in

The prospect of more than half of the labor market being comprised of Gen Z and Millennials by 2030 paints an encouraging picture. However, it’s incumbent upon employers to recognize that these younger generations approach work differently compared to, for instance, the Baby Boomers.

Hence, it becomes imperative for companies to exhibit a degree of flexibility and provide extensive career development programs. This is an area that Gen Z and Millennials tend to place in high esteem.

HR Trend 2: Impact of technology

Initially, we were mostly talking about how technology was changing things in terms of automation. But, since Covid-19 came along, we’ve really seen a speed-up in the use of new technologies, like artificial intelligence.

Impact of AI in technology

According to the ManpowerGroup latest Trends Survey, Belgian employers believe that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on their HR management without posing a threat to employment.

The survey shows that already 31% of the Belgian companies uses AI and machine learning tools within their recruitment process. And an additional 10% is planning to do so in the near future.

HR Trend 3: Different way of organizing of employers and companies

There has been a noticeable shift in the way employers and organizations structure their recruitment processes. Historically, there was a prominent emphasis on outsourcing certain aspects of recruitment. However, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a discernible pivot towards insourcing recruitment functions.

HR Trend 4: Shift in individual approach

There’s a notable shift in the way individuals perceive the job market. It’s no longer solely regarded as a means to earn income; rather, the satisfaction derived from one’s work has gained significant importance.


Thanks to Sebastien Delfosse, we’re back up to date with the trends and challenges in the job market. And trust me, it’s not something to brush off because it’s intricately tied to our economic future. In the upcoming ‘Right Career Talks,’ we’ll be delving deeper into how companies can best steer their employees towards effective career management and discovery.


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