Tag: recruitment trends

Remote work gains momentum in US cities despite corporate push

New data from an international team of economists indicates that remote work is gaining momentum in some of America’s largest cities, despite corporate chiefs pressuring employees to return to the office. The researchers, including Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom, have been tracking the prevalence of job ads offering flexible arrangements since the early days of the pandemic. They found that in major US cities such as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta, there are record levels of job postings for remote-friendly roles, which is a trend that’s on the rise.

Even with mayors pushing for employees to return to the office, remote work may continue to be a feature of city centers as data from security firm Kastle Systems reveals that office occupancy in major US cities is only about half of the pre-Covid level. However, some investors worry that commercial real estate owners who need to roll over their debt may face difficulties due to slumped property values and rising interest rates caused by the empty office towers.

The research team also found that Lansing, Michigan, has the highest share of remote job postings at 39%, with municipal governments and universities having a more unionized labor force, meaning unions may have to sign off on any return-to-office deal. The South is generally the worst part of the US for aspiring remote workers, with Bradenton, near Tampa in Florida, having the lowest percentage of remote or hybrid job ads.

However, not all industries are suitable for remote work, with transportation, food preparation, and health-care support requiring in-person work. Meanwhile, in the finance sector, remote work continues to grow, which could potentially upend the dominance of a particular region by a particular industry.

Many firms are seeking to limit remote work and mandate how often employees need to be in the office, but if the labor market cools down, bosses will have more leverage, and employees will have less. This may already be happening in some sectors such as technology, where large-scale layoffs have occurred. In San Jose, for example, the share of job ads at least partially open to remote work has fallen from a peak of 20% in December to 15% last month

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Singapore sees drop in remote work opportunities and increase in skill-based hiring

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the number of job vacancies offering remote work in Singapore dropped to 21% in 2022 from 31% the previous year. This was due to the normalization of remote work trends as more workplace activities resumed on-site when pandemic-related restrictions eased in 2022. However, vacancies for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) were still more likely to offer remote working options than non-PMET roles. Additionally, certain sectors, such as construction, did not have many remote work options due to the nature of the work.

The report also found that employers in Singapore were less likely to consider academic qualifications when hiring new employees. In 74% of vacancies in 2022, academic qualifications were not the main determinant in hiring, which indicates a shift towards skill-based hiring. For PMET vacancies where qualifications were not the main determinant, skills and work attitude of the job applicant were the key considerations. This trend has been gaining momentum in Singapore since 2017.

The number of job vacancies in Singapore remained elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, with PMET roles forming the majority of these vacancies. Newly created positions made up 39% of all job vacancies, with the Information and Communications sector having the highest proportion (69%) for new positions. Meanwhile, the proportion of replacement vacancies increased to 61% in 2022 from 56% the previous year as employers were actively looking to fill positions left vacant during the pandemic.

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Over-specialization adding to skills shortage
Finding, attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent in technology continues to be a challenge as we enter the new year.  The resultant trends post pandemic that have enabled the necessity of a wide-spread workforce have become a Pandora’s Boz that will likely stay open forever.

Recruiting top professionals in technology is one area that has long been in flux. According to Ryan Kellner, Head of Data Science for Hudson Gate Partners, adjusting to talent needs in the sector should be nothing new.  He believes that, like in each year, there are some very specific trends that have come to light as well as some challenges that continue to be seen.  Mr Keller said, in reading the tea leaves of the technology world, that one thing is certain, and the recruitment industry must pay heed, and that is: many people are never returning to the office full time again.

“Growing up in Indianapolis in the 80s and 90s, all the tech firms were downtown, and everyone lived in the suburbs and made the commute back and forth every day,” said Mr Kellner. “Then some companies got wise and said, ‘We can get better talent by building our headquarters in the suburbs because we will get the talent that doesn’t want the long commute!’ They were right. All the good developers flocked to solid companies that were a five- to 10-minute drive from where they lived. They could get their kids out to the bus, participate in after-school programs, and everyone’s work/life balance got a bit easier.”

This same thinking is where we are at now post-COVID, he said. “The factor that seemingly dictates my response rate to recruiting calls and emails the most these days is not the company, it’s not the salary, it’s not the perks. It is whether the job is fully remote or not,” he said.

What you’re up against 

According to Mr Kellner, the job market is so hot these days for good people in tech that candidates seem to be looking for reasons not to continue with the interview process. “I was recently working with a strong developer with an MS in computer science and five years in financial software development who was interviewing with some of my clients,” he said. “I asked him where else he was actively interviewing and he listed every FANG company, Tesla, Robinhood, etc. If you want to hire some good developers in 2022, this is what you’re up against.”

To hire top talent, employers need a plan on how they are going to make that person pick their company over the current batch of trendy tech companies. “If you aren’t selling why your company is great in the first interview, it’s not happening,” said Mr Kellner.

Once again, this highlights the importance of the employer brand and is a trend to watch in 2022.

Double-edged sword for recruiting

Mr Kellner reported another noticeable trend of the last two years and that is those with traditional software engineering backgrounds increasingly wanting to specialize into fields like data science, machine learning, AI, blockchain etc. Keller believes that this variety of specialization options is a double-edged sword for recruiting because while it’s creating a great number of hyper-specialized individuals, it’s also draining the core demographic of pure software developers.

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