Remote vs On-site: Is There a Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers?

During the pandemic, businesses of all shapes and sizes scrambled to respond to the health crisis and lockdowns with remote work options for employees. Tech behemoths, often seen as trendsetters, seemed to embrace the remote-first workstyle. For example, in March 2022, Meta spokesperson Tracy Clayton explained its attitude about alternative work options to The Wall Street Journal: “We believe that how people work is far more important than where they work from.” 

Similarly, in October 2021, Amazon indicated it would permanently allow more employees to continue working from home. In a letter to employees, CEO Andy Jassy said that teams would decide what work environment is best for them. “We expect that there will be teams that continue working mostly remotely, others that will work some combination of remotely and in the office, and still others that will decide customers are best served having the team work mostly in the office,” Jassy wrote

These were just a few high-profile companies that announced bold remote work policies, which many thought signified a profound change in how companies perceived and approached traditional office work. Many employees enjoyed remote and hybrid work options because they offered more flexibility, cost savings, and work-life balance.

However, with the pandemic in the rearview mirror, companies, including Meta and Amazon, reversed their positions and required employees to return to the office, much to the dismay of those employees who had thought remote and hybrid work status was a permanent change. As a result, disconnects emerged between what companies want and what their workforce desires. 

But what of the Midwest employment market? Are these trends impacting local hiring managers and job seekers? Our recent Vernovis staffing survey data indicated similar divides impact the Midwest job market today.

The On-site Imperative for Area Hiring Companies

In our Vernovis Staffing Insights, the majority of hiring managers state that having their staff on-site remains a key criterion, with 61% of job opportunities, particularly for IT professionals, necessitating an on-site presence. Hiring managers indicated this preference for traditional, in-person 9-5 office hours stemmed from various reasons, including security and confidential data, collaboration, and technical issues. 

However, this on-site preference clashes head-on with the aspirations of the local workforce.

Rejection of Traditional 9-to-5 

Local job seekers are increasingly scrutinizing the traditional 9-to-5 job model, and the gig economy is soaring in popularity. In fact, a whopping 78% of those surveyed by Vernovis indicated a willingness to accept contract and consulting positions because these roles presented more flexibility, autonomy, and control. 

The theme of flexibility repeatedly appeared in the Vernovis survey. Job seekers said they would favor positions that offer hybrid or remote work arrangements over roles that necessitate full-time on-site presence. A significant number of respondents (73%) identified this flexibility as a primary consideration when exploring new job opportunities. Conversely, only 28% expressed a preference for a full-time on-site role. 

Bridging the Gap

The evidence is clear: a chasm exists between hiring managers’ preferences and job seekers’ expectations. As the world of work continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether companies will need to reassess their policies and adapt.

The challenge will be to find a balance between operational necessities and the evolving desires of the modern workforce. Those who can effectively bridge this gap will likely emerge as talent acquisition and retention leaders in the post-pandemic era.

Vernovis: Uniquely Positioned to Bridge the Chasm

Are you looking for a staffing solution that can help you navigate a challenging job market by helping you understand better what job candidates want and the needs of hiring managers? Vernovis can help! With our pulse on the Midwest job market, particularly in Finance and Technology, we can quickly identify and fill the requirements of hiring managers by sourcing candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also fit the company culture. 

Let us help you do more than fill your staffing shortfalls. Contact us to learn how we can assist you in promoting lasting professional relationships, increasing job satisfaction, and improving your business performance.

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