Anyone itching for a change in the new year and considering leaving their job or taking their career in a new direction should be in luck. It’s a job seeker’s market out there, after all.

Or so we keep hearing… With worrying trends creeping in just at the finish line of 2022, however — including some shocking departures of big firms from Ireland and severe job cuts in others – is that still entirely true?

It can be hard to muster up the courage to leave your job and venture into the new world of job seeking at the best of times. To do so in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis requires a whole new level of guts, and a good deal more thought — especially while reading the recent onslaught of headlines about widespread, devastating job loss. If you are feeling brave, however, there are many reasons why now may be the perfect time to explore your career options.

In early November, Facebook owner Meta announced plans to cut 13% of its global workforce, affecting over 11,000 workers nationwide and at least 350 here in Ireland. It was the beginning of what, already, industry experts are now calling a “tech bloodbath”.

Elon Musk’s controversial takeover of Twitter, and his ruthless cutbacks since, have left nobody within the 500-strong team at its Dublin office safe from the firing line.

Meanwhile, payments giant Stripe, founded by Irish billionaire brothers John and Patrick Collison, is set to cut 14% of its global workforce, again putting hundreds of Irish jobs at risk.

It’s not just big tech that’s taking a hit, either. Argos recently announced the closure of 420 stores across its network — a move that’s already seen its Kilkenny and Dublin city branches close their doors, with more likely to follow. H&M, meanwhile, has just revealed that they’ll soon be axing 1,500 staff from their workforce across Europe.

In short, 2022 has delivered a series of blows that have left the job seeker’s market — and the hopers and dreamers within it — quite shaken up indeed.

Why, then, are so many of us still eager to dive into it? This year’s CIPD Good Work Index found that one in five workers (20%) say it’s likely they will quit their current role in the next 12 months, compared with 16% in 2021.

Perhaps seeing these huge layoffs happening so frequently, and often in callous ways (like having years of your hard work come to a rather abrupt end with one swift email from Twitter) has made people ready to ditch their own toxic workplace culture where they feel similarly expendable.

There have also been, of course, more positive aspects of 2022 that may provide a further swaying factor. A variety of new, post-pandemic work trends have also made the headlines this year, enough so to make many of us wonder whether there really could be something better out there?

One of the most enticing aspects of those headlines is the notion of the four-day working week coming into fashion. A trial of this reduced work pattern was recently carried out amongst twelve Irish companies, with a subsequent report labeling it a resounding success.

Backed by trade union Fórsa, University College Dublin and Boston College, the trial found that a number of the participating firms had an increase in revenue and reduced energy usage as a result of their new four-day week. The trial was so successful, in fact, that nine of the twelve companies who took part are now committed to continuing with the four-day-week schedule.

With the trial’s participants also reporting an increase in sleep time and a significant decline in burnout and stress, it seems the benefits of moving away from the ‘Monday to Friday’ model are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Watch this space, as 2023 could be the year where we see more businesses strive for similar results by converting to a four-day working week themselves.

As well as being sleep deprived, however, something that we Irish are far too deprived of is a vitamin D fix! In the coming months, prepare to see more and more of the Irish workforce flocking abroad to work remotely from sunnier locations, where accommodation will often be easier to find and cheaper than in Ireland’s main cities.

The ongoing housing crisis will be a huge factor, but the introduction of ‘digital nomad visas’ will also go a long way in sealing the deal. Already signed through in places like Bali and Spain, these visas allow Irish workers to travel and live overseas for extended periods of time, all while still working for companies in their home country. This practice is likely to take off, as it allows Irish companies to retain their talent from miles away and prevent the ‘brain drain’ that many industries are experiencing.

The brain drain phenomenon won’t be solved overnight, however. To compensate for it, we can expect to see Irish companies getting more flexible and inventive in terms of their recruitment procedures. This shift is already evident from the number of retirees who have been urged back to work in 2022. By targeting older people, employers can recruit workers for shorter shifts or odd days that are not popular among younger workers, who often opt for the most lucrative hours.

Research also shows a multigenerational workforce is more creative, with older people often having invaluable institutional knowledge and passing on life experiences to younger colleagues. Meanwhile, retirees themselves are also more likely to seek out these opportunities in 2023. Experts claim that the cost-of-living crisis, opportunities for more flexible work and a yearning for more social interaction during the lockdowns have all coincided, pushing many to look for work again.

It’s not just retirees who will be motivated by the cost-of-living crisis in 2023 however. Soaring energy costs and rising rents will likely prompt many business owners to allow or even encourage more employees to work from home where possible.

Hybrid and flexible work models already dominated 2022, but are likely to be fully solidified as the norm in 2023. For many, the pressures of keeping an office space up and running will simply become untenable. Watch out for the likes of hotel conference rooms or coworking rental spaces (such as Iconic Offices or Connected Hubs) being sought out much more regularly. These options will allow employers to adopt a ‘pay per day’ model for the workspace and only bring their team together in-person on an intermittent basis as needed.

With all these radical changes set to shake up the Irish workforce over the next twelve months, it’s a time of optimism and uncertainty for many — none more so than active job seekers. While it may not be the most predictable time to get yourself on the job seeker’s market, it’s certainly the most fresh and exciting.