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The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | October 2022

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Here is your October guide to the latest trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF HYBRID WORKING MEAN FOR TALENT ACQUISITION?

Nick Bloom, the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, has studied Work from Home (WFH) over the past 20 years and is one of the authorities on the matter. In October 2022, Bloom published an executive briefing on the future of Work from Home, which garners insight from surveys of working adults in the US and 22 countries around the world, as well as discussions and consultations with hundreds of global organizations. Here are the most notable highlights from the research, as well as some tips for talent acquisition teams to consider.  

  1. Around 56% of employees will work fully on-site, most likely as the job requires it, and will likely include front-line employees, non-graduates and those in lower paid roles.
  2. Around 29% will work in a hybrid capacity, and will include professionals and managers, mostly graduates – those who are higher paid.
  3. 15% will work from home all the time – those in specialized roles, such as IT support, payroll, etc., and often those contracting.

Most employees don’t want to WFH every day.

Bloom’s research highlights the average amount of days that people want to WFH are between two and a half and three days per week, but preferences can vary considerably individual to individual. On average, this tends to be closer to two and half days for those aged 20-29, and closer to three days the more the age of the employee increases. Additionally, the percentage of those who want to WFH full time increases the older the employee gets, from 24% of those aged 20-29 wanting full time WFH, increasing to 41% of those aged 50-64.

Hybrid WFH can lower attrition.

One of Bloom’s randomized controlled tests on engineers and marketing and finance professionals found that hybrid WFH (three days in the office, two days at home) reduced quit rates by 35% when compared to those that worked in the office five days per week.

WFH options improve diversity, equity & inclusion.

Employers are not currently meeting the hybrid preferences of women or men, but there is a much bigger gap between what women prefer and what they get from employers (91% difference), than between what men want and what they get (53% difference).

It was also found that desire for flexibility was strongest amongst underrepresented groups, with the following percentage of survey respondents who prefer a hybrid or fully remote work arrangement:

  • Hispanic / Latinx: 86%
  • Asian / Asian American: 81%
  • Black: 81%
  • White: 75%

The more densely populated the city center, the more people tend to work from home – and it might be causing unintended consequences for larger cities.

Bloom’s research shows that the more densely populated the city, the more concentrated WFH is, as highlighted by the graph. 

The image displays a scatter graph, with the Y axis showing Percentage of days worked from home (where the scale is from 10% - 50%) and the X axis showing population density (persons per square mile), ranging from 0 to 100,000. In the bottom left of the graph you have cities such as Strugis, SD and Cedar City, UT and in the top right you have cities such as Los Angeles CA and Brooklyn, NY.

However, this is causing a ‘donut effect’ in larger, higher density city centers, shifting demand (for goods and services, including housing) away from the center to suburbs and exurbs (beyond the suburbs) areas. 

The image shows three graphs in a row, each showing the Home Value Index (HVI) growth (Y axis) over the past 4 years, 2018 to 2022 (Y axis). The graph on the left shows the HVI for the top 12 MSAs in the US, with city centers HVI increasing approximately 9%, high density area HVI increasing approximately 17%, suburb HVI increasing approximately 36% and exurbs HVI increasing approximately 40%. The second graph in the middle shows MSAs 13 to 50. City Center HVI increasing approximately 22%, high density area HVI increasing approximately 42%, exurb HVI increasing approximately 43% and suburb HVI increasing approximately 45%. The third graph on the right shows the HVI for MSAs 51 to 365. This shows exurb HVI increasing approximately 36%, suburb HVI increasing approximately 41%, high density area HVI increasing approximately 43% and city center HVI increasing approximately 44%.

In the top 12 US metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), the home value index (HVI), which is a measure of property value caused by increased demand, increased by ~29% to ~33% for suburbs and exurbs respectively, vs. only ~9% to ~15% for city centers and higher density areas respectively.

Juxtapose that with the smaller MSAs (51-365), where the total HVI is high for all types of areas, and where city centers and high-density areas have marginally increased at a higher rate.

The image shows two heat maps showing net inflows of population for New York, NY on the left and San Francisco Bay Area, CA on the right. The heat maps show net outflows of population in the city centers (indicated by red and orange colors) and net inflows of population towards the outskirts (suburbs and exurbs) indicated by light and darker greens, showing higher numbers migrating further away from city centers.

What this essentially means is that people in larger, more densely populated cities are moving out of the centers into the more suburban and rural areas or they are moving to smaller cities altogether, and when doing so are opting to stay more central if moving to those smaller cities. People are making very important lifestyle choices (where they live) based on being able to work remotely for some or all of the time, and their expectation is that employers will be flexible. Choosing where to live probably now takes a higher priority over where their employer’s office is – a very important factor for talent acquisition teams to consider when it comes to evaluating talent pools.

People come to the office for the people, not the perks.

When asked, “What are the top three benefits of working on your employer’s business premises?”, survey respondents stated that face-to-face collaboration (55%) and socializing (54%) were the highest, with work/personal life boundaries (44%) ranking third.

A recent Microsoft Trends Index Pulse Report (September 2022) reaffirms this. When asked what would motivate employees to come into the office, the responses were primarily around social aspects:

  • 85% of employees would be motivated to go into the office to rebuild team bonds.
  • 84% of employees would be motivated to go into the office if they could socialize with co-workers.
  • 74% of employees would go to the office more frequently if they knew their “work friends” were there.
  • 73% of employees would go to the office more frequently if they knew their direct team members would be there.

Bloom states that to make hybrid approaches work, offices need to be appealing and convenient – city center office locations might not be as favorable as business parks which are more commutable and convenient for driving and parking facilities. Team leaders need to coordinate which days their teams will come in, and when they’re in the office, they should promote more social types of work and team bonding, such as in-person meetings, events, training, lunches, etc., with tasks such as focused ‘deep work’ and Zoom meetings saved for remote working/WFH.

CONSIDERATIONS & TIPS FOR TALENT ACQUISITION TEAMS

  1. Depending on the type of roles you’re recruiting for, and who you’re targeting, you may need to consider how much emphasis and priority you put on the WFH flexibility on the job advertisement to clearly communicate your hybrid/remote policy and options. On the career site, be sure to dedicate a page to stating how your hybrid/remote policy applies to different roles and how and why that might vary.
  2. Flexibility is most important to underrepresented groups, whether that is by gender, age or race and ethnicity. If you’re looking to appeal to these audiences, focus on this message in your content. For example, if you can offer full-time WFH, you may be more appealing to some older workers who prefer that option, which could help attract some of the over 50s who left the labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic who may now be looking to return.
  3. Considering the geographical impact WFH is having, it is critical that talent acquisition teams pay close attention to the ‘location(s)’ of the job being advertised and look to gain maximum exposure by intelligently expanding locations of advertised jobs to reach the maximum percentage of the talent pool.
  4. Make it easy for job seekers to explore remote jobs on your career site. This might mean highlighting a ‘quick search’ call to action, such as ‘View remote jobs’ on the homepage and/or near your job search bar, ensuring there is a filter available on the search results pages to display only remote jobs and/or integrating latest remote jobs on any content you have about hybrid/remote working.

Radancy case study: Conversion rate optimization for remote jobs

Radancy recently worked with one customer to make viewing remote jobs easier by adding a quick search link (‘See remote jobs’) next to the job search bar on their career site, and the results speak for themselves:

More candidates are viewing remote jobs:

  • 110% increase in remote search results pages
  • 398% increase in remote job descriptions page views

A clearer candidate journey:

  • 52% decrease in bounce rates
  • 34% decrease in time spent on search results

Increased applications:

  • 355% increase in apply click rate
  • 947% increase in applications!

Sources and further reading:

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