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Last year at this time, we were in the depths of the pandemic, phase one. The vaccine had just started to become available, but widespread rollout was totally unclear. There was so much we didn’t know. Fear and apprehension clouded every decision, muting the employment market to a near whisper. There was a sense of holding back, hunkering down.

Now we are approaching two years of living with COVID-19. And while there are still so many challenges, in the areas of work and professional meaning, at least, we have a clearer path ahead.

Going into 2022, the employment space is clearly in a period of massive change. We’re seeing the country’s workforce embrace a lot of things that The Muse pioneered—like values-based job search and employee-generated video content—which is so exciting for us. Most of all, I love that there’s been near-universal acceptance of the fact that great talent is in the driver’s seat. Companies have been saying for years that “our people are our biggest asset,” but market conditions are finally forcing them to act like it. Every day, employers are approaching The Muse asking: How do we build a company that the best people on the market will want to work for? And how can we communicate that externally in a way that resonates?

From Day 0 at The Muse, I wanted to build a company that not only helped people find a job, but helped them find the right job. I wanted job seekers to be able to use The Muse not just to get a list of open opportunities—frankly, you can find those a lot of places!—but to be able to research those opportunities and those companies in a way that will help you assess whether it’s the right fit for you. I also wanted to surround all of our users with the advice, resources, and content I wish I’d had when I was job searching myself.

And for employers, it was important to me that we help them understand and communicate their company culture, values, and work environment, so they’re finding the right hires who will stay and be successful. It’s about the success of the match over time (retention), not just that initial connection (the hire). For too long, products in the job search industry focused on fill over fit—getting a person into a job without worrying in the slightest whether it was the right job. I started The Muse to change that—and with these priorities in place, it’s no wonder our jobs marketplace outperforms competitors in making matches that work out.

Today, The Muse continues to lead the industry in company research and employee-generated content. You can also search for jobs by perks and benefits like remote/flexible positions, health insurance, 401(k) with company matching, maternity/paternity leave, and more—or by leadership attributes, to filter for companies that are female-founded/led, Black-founded/led, veteran-founded/led, or other criteria.

Looking ahead into 2022, we want to make your job search on The Muse even more personalized by doubling down on employee-sourced content, video, and user experience. We also want to make our career resources and job search, plus our trusted advice, in-depth company profiles, and personalized career coaching, even more accessible.

Looking more broadly, we’re also excited by the progress we’re seeing society-wide on issues of diversity, equity, and belonging—though we know there’s still a long way to go when it comes to building truly inclusive workplaces. As I’ve said before, we want to celebrate not just companies that can attract a broad array of people, but companies that can retain and engage them—companies that invest in understanding how to build and maintain truly equitable, enjoyable, and respectful environments for their people. So what’s on my radar here for 2022? Building more diverse workplaces will continue to be very important in the year ahead; same with the broader conversation around family leave—parental leave, elder care, and more. As we leave behind more remnants of the industrial revolution’s factory-based work norms, how do we make the workplace actually work for everyone? Our collective understanding of flexible work is also in its infancy: We typically categorize people as either full-time or part-time, but in 2022, expect to see the rise of many more forms of work—four-day work weeks, part-time work weeks, specific arrangements that work for specific situations. Return-to-office will also, of course, remain an ongoing conversation, as will figuring out how to be hybrid—which is easier said than done.

If I could sum up my vision for the year ahead in one word, it’s renaissance. I love the idea that even as the pandemic continues to cast its shadow over every aspect of our lives, people are creating a new spring for their careers and reimagining what work can look like. That’s very resonant for me personally, and for The Muse.

And we’ve all got a lot of work to do.

So, what’s your word for 2022? What are your professional goals for the year ahead, and how can The Muse help? Share with us on social by tagging @themuse. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Onward and upward!