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June 07, 2021

Attracting Talent Post-Pandemic

For the employers in our membership, one of the most pressing concerns in recent months has been preparing for post-pandemic life, and more specifically, hiring. At Veris Insights, learning how to attract talent in the post-pandemic market has been a top priority.

This spring, we surveyed 2000+ experienced professionals and 100+ employers to gauge candidates’ preferences and employers’ plans for the transition to in-person work, focusing on DEI strategies and diverse talent. These are our largest findings.

(1) Candidates are demanding remote flexibility.

A significant majority (84%) of candidates want at least some remote work options post-pandemic — in fact, 69% of candidates say they would likely look for a new job if their employer eliminated remote work.

“Having some options for remote work is huge for maintaining your mental well being,” one candidate said. “Honestly, I don’t think I would consider a job that would require me to go five days a week in office.” 

Luckily, nearly all (97%) of employers we surveyed are planning for some form of in-person work. However, only a quarter of employers are highlighting remote work options in their outreach to talent.

To remain competitive and boost their value propositions, employers should emphasize remote work options in job postings and candidate outreach. Even minimal remote work opportunities can meaningfully increase the pool of candidates willing to accept an offer.

(2) Return to work decisions are DEI decisions.

Our research finds that the preference for remote work post-pandemic is even stronger among candidates of color. 

65% of White/Caucasian candidates would consider seeking a new job if their employer eliminates remote work. However, this percentage increases for diverse groups — 74% of Hispanic/Latinx, 76% of Asian, and 83% of Black candidates are likely to search for a new job.

Discrepancies appear across gender, as well. For instance, employers requiring a summer return to office are 14% less appealing to women than men. Women also tend to find traditional 9-5 schedules less appealing, strongly preferring self-structured schedules and compressed work weeks. 

Ultimately, the decision to offer remote work has a significant impact on effective recruitment and retention of diverse candidates. 

(3) Attracting talent without remote work requires nuanced solutions.

Across the board, most candidates prefer unlimited remote work above a salary increase. However, this metric varies across diverse groups; 40% of Black candidates would prefer the slightly higher salary with no remote work option. Still, a decisive majority (75%) of candidates overall would forego a salary bump to work remotely even one day per week.

“I am not willing to trade off [remote work] because it says a lot about the employer,” another candidate commented. “If they are telling me that I must go to the office every day nine to five no matter what, that’s just not an environment or culture that I want to be a part of.”

That said, other benefits can offset a lack of remote work options. For 3 out of 4 candidates, competitive PTO and flexible schedules are highly important for accepting a job offer without remote work options. 

All things considered, remote work remains the clear preference for most candidates. Still, employers can compensate for the lack of remote options with other benefits, but they must be cognizant of how this affects diverse talent.

Navigating the return to work is a complex challenge calling for a forward-thinking strategy. Candidates today are demanding flexible work, and employers must meet their needs — or create other incentives — to stay competitive. In order to successfully recruit and retain diverse candidates, employers must factor in their preferences and build DEI-oriented strategies.

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