This year, the hiring challenge for UX professionals has been unlike anything we’ve seen before. The reality is that the industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation, and no one really knows how much this change will impact our industry’s talent supply chain in the coming year. Here’s our summary of where the industry currently stands—and where it might be headed.

So, What Happened? 

Simply put, the pandemic happened. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we work, and there’s no going back. 

In 2020, we talked about hiring during the pandemic and how UX demand would boom, and statistics have supported that. According to Gartner, by the end of 2021, 51 percent of all knowledge workers worldwide will be working remotely, up from 27 percent pre-pandemic. 

The demand for UX and product design professionals has increased even more. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that UX employment will grow at an annual rate of 8%, much faster than the national average. 

As our world becomes increasingly automated, there will be a greater need for UX designers to ensure that the systems that we interface with on a daily basis are effective and efficient.

In addition to high demand, there are other trends that make hiring complicated. Every UX-focused company now has a remote workforce, which means they are hiring across the country, not just locally. With larger markets, more options, and more possibilities, candidates have more career choices than ever before. As a result, the battle for top talent is fierce. 

At the same time, fewer candidates are available as experienced professionals have retired or decided to stay at home with their children. The people who employers are able to interview are making their demands known. As a result, we are seeing a trend away from employees being satisfied with “just a paycheck.” They want companies to care about them as individuals—and that means better pay, more remote work, more flexibility, diversity and inclusion policies, and a mission that they can get behind.

What Employers Can Do Next

The UX hiring landscape is constantly evolving, but the market is cyclical, and design talent will return. Many factors are at play, but ultimately this shift in hiring priorities is a sign that UX as a discipline has arrived. The talent is out there. That means employers have to be willing to go after it and find new ways to attract the best employees.

There’s no need to panic. We’re going back to the advice we’ve given in past years on hiring the right UX talent: continue to network and advertise to personality. This includes telling your company’s story and providing potential employees context about the job and culture. 

In 2022, flexibility is pretty much a non-negotiable. You’ll see more leads if you provide the option for employees to have a complete remote or hybrid schedule. The less time candidates have to be in office, the better. 

Advertising to personality also means broadening your vision on what required qualifications look like. Consider the whole candidate, even if they don’t meet every bullet point on your checklist. Keep the interview process short, eliminate homework exercises, and act fast when finding a candidate. Make your best offer and tell them what they can expect to learn, grow, and accomplish while working for you. 

If you’re having trouble finding UX talent, consider partnering with a recruiting firm like Clear Point Consultants. And remember, this, too, shall pass.