PRO Unlimited Study: Remote, Hybrid Options Critical to Recruiting Job Candidates

PRO Unlimited, an integrated workforce management (IWM) platform provider, released results of its November 2021 Labor Market Report. The analysis, based on data from more than 30,000 workers, reveals that 89 percent of employees would prefer a role with remote options. The resulting impact on hiring is substantial: Employers that offer remote work options will capture 96 percent of the labor market, while those that don’t will lose out on 58 percent of candidates.

“This is the clearest indication yet that offering remote and hybrid flexibility is critical to attracting and retaining talent,” said Dustin Burgess, senior vice president of NorthStar HCM at PRO Unlimited. “Today’s tight labor market is drastically different than those of the past, and there has been a fundamental shift in how the workforce looks at opportunities. Candidates have new expectations for how and where they work. Employers must shift how they operate or risk losing more talent. Savvy organizations can use this to their advantage to find, attract and retain talent while achieving cost and diversity initiatives.”

PRO Unlimited’s analysis is based on a Q3 2021 survey of U.S. workers and explores employee attitudes related to remote work, relocating and benefits. Key findings include:

  • Talent is migrating to lower-cost areas. One in five workers have or plan to relocate during the pandemic. Data shows cost of living is a primary relocation factor over population density. Three in five individuals have moved to a less expensive location, such as Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas; and Sacramento, California. Workers making more than $65 per hour accounted for more than a third (36 percent) of relocations.
  • Employees don’t want to commute. Eighty-eight percent of workers view not having to commute as the top benefit of remote work, followed closely by money saved (71 percent) and greater control over schedule (67 percent).
  • Workers aren’t leaving California in droves. Two-thirds of those moving from a city in California moved to another city in California. Only one-third moved out of state, with Arizona, Oregon and Texas common destinations.
  • Employees favor wellness and development benefits. After ‘big ticket’ items such as health care and retirement plans, benefits such as parental leave, holidays and tuition reimbursement topped workers’ rankings of most valuable employment benefits. Soft perks such as gym memberships, phone plan discounts and pet insurance were low on the list.

“Local talent pool fluctuations are complicating an already volatile labor market. As workers move to lower-cost geographies, workforce leaders must embrace a data-based talent acquisition strategy that offers deep visibility into talent availability, competitive market rates, and more across the country. Employers that strategically expand their sourcing efforts to previously untapped locations will gain a critical edge in the race for talent,” Burgess said.

Technology workers have a stronger inclination for remote work compared to other industries. Sixty-six percent said they prefer working remotely full time, and 34 percent said they would only accept a full-time remote role. Nearly two-thirds of network engineers (61 percent) and 47 percent of software engineers said they would only accept a full-time remote role.

PRO Unlimited’s report leverages actionable intelligence and insights culled from its aggregation, cleansing and anonymization of data across a variety of internal and external data sources. This includes hundreds of client programs globally. PRO Unlimited manages data on hundreds of thousands of workers annually across 51,000-plus unique roles globally, providing insights on rates, skills premiums, efficiencies, candidate supply and demand, hiring competition, and more.

Download the full report to learn more about worker preferences and the state of the U.S. labor market.