The Latest Recruiting Trends In 2019 [With May Updates]

May 1, 2019
Updated: May 14, 2019
Written by Bailey Reiners

April showers bring May celebrations! In addition to College Signing Day and Mother’s Day, the month of May is designated National Military Appreciation Month as well as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

This update covers recruiting trends from hiring mothers who have career gaps to seeking skilled military veterans and young professionals without college degrees. We’ll also touch on trends in migrating tech scenes and the importance of a well lit office.

The trends are in reverse monthly order, so if you're all caught up, read on. If you need to catch up, click on the month’s below to get there.


Recruiting Trends - May 2019

Externships for Returning Mothers

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70% of mothers with children younger than 18 were in the workforce in 2015, a significant increase from 47% in 1975. Not only that, but 40% of mothers are primary breadwinners, meaning they contribute the largest portion of income to the family, which also includes the 24% of badass single mothers raising kids on their own.

In addition to the mothers currently working, there is a significant number of mothers who have taken time off to care for their children and are looking to jump back into their career. And with the unemployment rate at an all-time-low, employers are finally getting more serious about tapping into this pool of highly qualified candidates.

Major companies like Apple, Walmart and Goldman Sachs are offering opportunities to help individuals, typically mothers who have been out of the workforce for several years, ease back into their career with a returnship or externship. Another company created a specific Enternship for women over 40 to reenter the workplace with a six-week program in which they’re brought up to speed on social media, tech, public relations and networking.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider partnering with one of the many organizations bridging the gap between highly qualified mothers looking to return to their career and companies looking to hire top talent.

Returnship or Externship organizations for mothers


No Degree, No Problem

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The average cost of a four-year college degree continues to rise, leaving recent grads who took out loans to pursue their dreams with a steep $29,800 of debt as of 2018. Not surprisingly. Many talented young professionals are looking for alternative career paths that don’t require such exorbitant costs. On the flip side, employers are creating opportunities to help such professionals bypass college in exchange for applicable experiences.

Companies like Apple, Google, Netflix and more are no longer requiring candidates to complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to compete for a role at their company. Which should come as no surprise, considering some of the top tech companies, like Apple and Google, were founded by people who didn’t complete undergrad.

Instead, companies are focusing on experiences as well as hard and soft skills to qualify candidates. Additionally, removing education requirements also allows candidates with more diverse, non-traditional backgrounds to apply.

As of 2015, only 37.7% of Developers completed a Bachelor’s degree, 16.7% started but didn’t complete their degree, 18.4% have a Master’s and 2.2% have a PhD. A large number of people in other technical jobs do not have a four-year college degree, including:

  • 17.3% of IT Technicians
  • 13.4% of Technical Support Specialists
  • 10.8% of Customer Service Representatives
  • 10.7% of Network Technological Coordinators
  • 9.7% of IT Coordinators
  • 9.4% of Marketing Representatives

These represent some of the most in-demand roles out there, so it may be time to rethink your educational requirements the next time you write a job description.


Bye, Bye, Bay

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The cost of living in San Francisco is between 2% and 93% more expensive than it is in Austin,

Boston, Chicago, Colorado, LA, NYC and Seattle. To make it worse, it’s not always the best paying city, either.

While San Francisco and Silicon Valley were once the go-to hub for all things tech and innovation, in recent years, tech companies and talent have extended out North, South and East of the Bay area for more affordable, laid-back cities in the US.

And it’s not just the big trendy cities that people are drawn to. Some cities, like Tulsa, Oklahoma, are attracting talented professionals with $10,000+ to move to their quirky little towns. The catch? Professionals have to work full-time remotely for a company outside of the city. Other cities, like St. Clair, Michigan, the state of Maine and more, including some international cities are establishing similar initiatives to keep talented professionals close to home and spending money in the local economy without attracting massive corporations.

On that note, not all cities, *cough New York cough* have been as welcoming to tech giants in recent months and are instead looking for other means of growing their local economy.


Natural Light It Up

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Revamping your office space doesn’t have to break the bank. Start by opening the shades.

Among the long list of quirky perks and office designs, natural light is by far one of the most important and sought after elements of workplace environments. A study by Cornell University Professor Dr. Alan Hedge found that employees working in naturally lit offices reported reduced eye strain by 51%, headaches by 63% and drowsiness by 56%.

Another study done by Future Workplace found that employees with access to natural light and views experience improved wellbeing (78% and improved work performance (70%). They also found that employees felt tired (47%) and gloomy (43%) when their office lacked natural light and outdoor views.

Apple Park is a prime example of how a company and building utilizes the local environment and optimizes natural light; just check out this video. The Microsoft Redmond Campus is another example of a company working with nature by building treehouses with WiFi for employees to meet and get out of the traditional office.

If you really can’t avoid fluorescent lighting or you just want to go the extra mile, provide Blue Light Glasses for employees to prevent many of the symptoms that come with traditional office lighting and extensive screen time.


Bring in the Troops

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As of April 2019, the unemployment rate for veterans was 2.3%—the lowest month in recorded history— and a stark comparison to the low, yet higher unemployment rate of non-veterans at 4.3%.

Why is that the case, you may ask? Veterans offer a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience that make them exceptional assets to any company and role. If you’re not familiar with military culture, experiences or common military language, you may have trouble connecting their skills to your role. To better understand how military skills are relevant to your role, check out this military skills translator or this skills matcher.

There are several ways that you can build a more inclusive workplace for military veterans. A great place to start is on your careers page and job descriptions. If you have specific educational requirements and years of experience, many veterans will self-exclude themselves from roles they would excel at. Instead, consider using more inclusive language or adding “or relevant military or civilian experience,” and if you have the resources, hire a recruiter who understands military backgrounds.

Additionally, due to their unique career path, many veterans may not have experience writing resumes and cover letters or preparing for an interview. Help bridge the experience gap by offering tips and resources specific to military veterans  

If you’re not sure where to start, learn a few tips for becoming a veteran friendly employer from and SHRM. You may also look into partnering with organizations that help employers create military friendly workplaces, like BRK Strategies, U.S. Department of Labor, Recruit Military and incorporate military job boards into your recruiting strategy, like Hire Heroes USA, Hire A Veteran, Military Hire, Hire Veterans.



Recruiting Trends - April 2019

HR In The Opioid Crisis

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Today, Opioids are dispersed like candy — just about anyone can get them if they reach their hand out far enough and make enough noise. Thanks to low-quality, expensive and volume-driven healthcare, opioids have become a fast and convenient alternative to quality care.

You may be wondering, ‘how is HR remotely related to this national epidemic?’

From 2011 to 2017, workplace overdoses from non-medical use of drugs or alcohol increased by 272%. That figure doesn’t include the number of people who overdosed on opioids outside of the workplace, which accounted for more than 63,000 American deaths and 11.8 million opioid abuse cases in 2016 alone.

The majority of Americans receive healthcare benefits from their employer, which means those of us in the HR space are playing a major (though unintentional) role in the prescription opioid crisis, serving as de facto underwriters of addiction. And aside from the human cost, the opioid epidemic is impacting the nation’s bottomline, as well. Opioid abuse contributes to as much as $42 billion in lost productivity every year.

This is an uncomfortable topic, but it’s crucial that HR take part in the conversation as co-workers are often the first people to notice a problem. If you or anyone you know suffers from addiction, contact the National Drug Helpline at 1-888-633-3239 and learn more about Opioid addiction.


Who Cares About The H1B Visa?

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Every April, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) opens 65,000 spots (plus an additional 20,000 reserved for people with master’s degrees) for an H1B, an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. Due to high demand, USCIS implemented a lottery system, and in 2017, the Buy American and Hire American executive order was implemented to offer only “the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries” the H1B visa.

As we’ve previously mentioned, the competition for qualified employees at all levels is at an all time high, and tighter H1B restrictions mean companies looking for talent will need to pay a high price or limit their search to American citizens. These changes have caused international concern, especially for individuals from India and China who are the top recipients of these visas.

The H1B program has played a major role in closing the talent gap in the technology sector, but the wealth hasn’t been evenly distributed, as giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Intel account for a disproportionate share of these visas. Tighter restrictions will also make it even more difficult for individuals without a master’s degree to earn an H1B. This will certainly have an impact on the tech space, where many employees receive training through non-traditional means (bootcamps, etc.).


Work Less, Pay More

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Cool perks like pet-friendly offices and snacks on demand are great, but when it comes down to it, people value their free time more than free beer with colleagues at work on a Thursday evening.

A recent study indicated that the most important benefit among US workers is unlimited time off. Which is ironic, as employees at companies without a minimum time off policy actually take less time off than they would with a set number of PTO days. What can we say? People are fickle creatures.

There has been a significant shift in corporate perk packages as companies realize that investing in snacks and stylish chairs isn’t the same as investing in their employees. Most of those “soft” perks are in place to keep people at work longer, take fewer breaks and ultimately fuse work life with personal life. What ever happened to the separation of church and state?


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Paycheck Fairness Act Passed

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Equal pay is still a hot topic in the workplace because no matter how many Acts America passes, we still can’t seem to get it right. The whole discrepancy is so ludicrous that major name brands are taking a stance on the issue — just take a look at this quick witted video from Kraft Heinz.

The 2019 Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) (which was first devised in 1997), builds on existing legislation with three key components. First, the PFA prohibits employers from asking job candidates their previous pay. Second, it allows employees to disclose their pay to other employees. Third, it requires employers to disclose their pay information to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The most recent legislation isn’t the first equal pay effort, and if history is any indication, it probably won’t be the last. Back in 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed to prohibit pay discrimination based on gender. Then in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed, which also prohibits gender-based wage discrimination and allows workers to sue for discrimination.

If this bill doesn’t have the intended impact, hopefully we’ll see women and minorities taking more advantage of their unlimited time off to even the paying field.


Mental Health Is Employee Health

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Employee wellness is becoming a major trend in the HR space, but too often mental health is left out of the conversation. In recent years, American culture has begun to slowly chip away at the stigma behind mental health, shedding light on its significant impact on 20% of the US population.

To help combat the stigma, employers are working to improve resources and insurance benefits to cover mental health services as well as build a more inclusive culture around mental health. Work has a significant psychological impact on employee well-being. Without the support and resources to seek and receive the help employees need, companies may see an increase in absenteeism, work-family conflict, increased mental health and behavioral problems and even higher turnover rates.

If you’re still not sold on the seriousness of mental health in the workplace, consider that America is hit with $193 billion in lost earnings per year due to mental health illnesses.

If you or anyone you know struggles with mental health or if you’d like to be more informed, learn more at National Alliance on Mental Health. You can also call the NAMI helpline at 800-950-626 or text NAMI to 741741.



Recruiting Trends - March 2019

Who Run The Workplace?

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There may still be a prevalent gender gap in the boardrooms of America, but women are making headway in some of the most notoriously male-dominated fields and roles out there.

Take the Fortune 500 companies, for example. In 2018, the number of female CEOs doubled over the course of the preceding decade. Granted, by “doubled” we mean there are now 25 (4.8%) female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies compared to the mere 12 (2.4%) in 2008, but it’s a noticeable shift.

Not only that, but in recent months, women have taken a few first time executive-level roles in the automotive industry, NY Stock Exchange and The Home Depot, industries that are primarily run by and are marketed to men. In addition to the big wigs, smaller companies are also following suit, bringing women onto their executive boards and prioritizing diversity initiatives.  

It’s not just women high up in their careers who are making waves. In particular, over the past two years, Millennial women have made a significant change in the employment gap between men and women. Contributing factors likely include some noticeable social, cultural and political shifts that have taken affect in recent history.

In honor of Women’s History month, make sure to celebrate women who have and are taking risks, paving the way for more inclusive opportunities and are supporting other women to reach higher and go farther in their careers.


Office Madness

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Last year, 97 million people watched March Madness games across 180 countries.

There’s so much hype around the annual college Basketball tournament that OfficeTeam decided to run a study to see how much the Madness dribbles into the office.

On average, employees spend 25.5 minutes watching sports-related activities each day in the office during the March Madness tournament. Over the course of 15 work days, that’s about six hours spent per employee, amounting to nearly $2.1 billion in lost wages.

While some companies are wary of how the games will affect productivity, last year Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, famously encouraged his employees to take part in the Madness by offering $1M every year for the rest of their life to anyone who accurately predicts all Sweet 16 teams.


Casual Everyday For Everyone

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While casual Friday may still be the norm for corporate America, in the startup tech scene, or really anywhere that Millennials dominate the workplace, everyday is a casual day. Whether they’re working from home or in the office, workplace attire and etiquette has drastically changed from the suits and ties of yesteryear.

Now more than ever, candidates care about the culture of the companies they apply to work for, including how people dress and what’s considered appropriate for work. In fact, company culture is the number one factor contributing to a candidates decision to accept an offer.

Not only that, but culture and casual attire are contributing factors to employee morale, happiness and productivity, not to mention the financial burden that comes with updating an additional (and expensive) ‘work appropriate’ wardrobe.

On a more serious note, casual workplace attire has made an impact on the emotional and psychological welfare of employees, especially for those coming from poor, working-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds. Casual dress creates a more inclusive and comfortable work environment for people with diverse backgrounds because employees are less concerned with abiding by the the strict yet ambiguous social and dress codes established by... well...The Man.

Even hyper-formal environments like the White House and Goldman Sachs are adopting company-wide casual offices to evolve with workplace trends and attract younger, diverse talent.


Work Work Work Work Work

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We’ve all been to those meetings. You know, the ones that always start with “Hi my name is ___, and I’m a workaholic.” No? Well it may be a rising trend in the not too distant future.

And by that, I mean there already is a Workaholics Anonymous organization that supports people recovering from workaholism across the globe. An organization that should be in high demand considering 50% of Americans are self-proclaimed workaholics.

While companies may be looking to recruit professionals devoted to their work and seeking purpose in their next job, they may want to consider the serious negative effects long working hours have on employees’ health and the consequential rise in burnout rate among young go-getters.

Before you throw the overachievers out with the bathwater, there is an argument for healthy workaholism, depending on the type of workaholic. A study distinguished two types of workaholics — engaged workaholics, who take pleasure in their work, remained healthy after working long hours over an extended period of time. Compulsive workaholics, who are not engaged in their work, showed unhealthy physiological symptoms that may lead to long-term effects. Such risks include diabetes, abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and psychiatric disorders.

The main difference between the two is that engaged workaholics are able to tune out work once they leave the office or shut their laptop. Compulsive workaholics, however, are unable to turn off work — it’s always on their mind. This can significantly impede on their personal life, negatively affecting relationships, family dynamics and daily functioning.

Not sure if you’re a workaholic? Read up on these 5 indicators.

Need help balancing your work and life? Check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic.


HR Unicorns Taking Flight

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Unicorns are the rarest breed of startups, only earning the moniker after reaching $1B in valuation. As of right now, there are only four tech startup Unicorns in the HR field:

  • Huike Group, headquartered in Beijing, China, is an HR tech platform that trains software development professionals in Mobile, Cloud and Marketing.
  • Zip Recruiter, headquartered in Los Angeles, USA, is a hiring platform that connects businesses with job seekers.
  • Gusto, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a payroll and benefits platform.
  • Zenefits, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a payroll and benefits platform.

I know what you’re thinking, really only four? Yup. Of the 327 global startup Unicorns to date, there are only two HR Tech companies and two HR Fintech companies with a valuation of over $1B in the world.

However, the increasing need for better HR solutions with advanced technologies may soon send the HR world for a ride in the cloud(s). When CB Insights partnered with the New York Times in 2015, they created an algorithm that predicted startup Unicorns with 48% accuracy.

Now in 2019, the’ve done it again, and three (more) HR Tech companies are predicted to reach Unicorn status. Here are the HR & Workforce Management companies to keep an eye on.

  • Beisen, headquartered in Beijing, China, is a cloud-based SaaS HR platform for talent and performance management.
  • Checkr, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a background checking service.
  • Deputy, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is a digital scheduling service that coordinates managers and shift workers.



Recruiting Trends - February 2019

Unemployment Crisis or Fake News?

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Employment numbers took a hit in January with only 172,000 new jobs created, a considerable drop compared with the 312,000 jobs added in December.

While that’s a significant difference month over month, let’s not forget the 35 day partial government shutdown that ran from December 22 through January 25, which certainly contributed to the conversation.

You may have also heard of an alarming spike in initial unemployment claims in January, but you have to remember that the 350,000 government employees furloughed during that time were considered unemployed. 

Before we make any major claims about job creation and unemployment, let's see how the dust settles in February to determine what was shutdown related and what we can expect moving forward.


Soft Skills — A Top Priority

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Technology is the future, there’s no doubt about that. But as long as humans are being hired, there will always be a need for the human touch.

With The Rise of Robo-Recruiting, soft skills — like creativity, verbal and visual communication, storytelling, adaptability and listening — are more important than ever. In fact, soft skills are rated the number one workforce trend in 2019.

Unlike hard or technical skills, which can be clearly tested through skills assessments and algorithms, soft skills are difficult to identify on a resume or even in the interview. Yet these are the skills that make a person and team successful.

Think about it, even the most technical companies out there —Netflix, Airbnb and Google — are also known for their creativity, adaptability and storytelling skills.


Relocation Vocation

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While remote work is just work,  not all jobs offer the same flexibility, making relocation a vital part of the recruitment effort when pursuing top talent. With so many flexible opportunities available, tech in particular is difficult to hire for, and that's before you account for the fact that only 34% of techies even consider relocating when given the opportunity.

To attract candidates and create an opportunity worth relocating for, companies have put a lot of time and money into offering top benefits for employees and families as well as elaborate perks to set them apart from competing offers.

Companies are also investing in bringing their offices to talent, like Salesforce and Apple to make it more convenient and cheaper for talent to relocate. This is especially appealing for tech talent looking for the opportunities that tech giants have to offer who don’t want to take on the burden of living in exorbitant locations, like Silicon Valley or New York City.


A $4B Hangover

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Perhaps in response to the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history, Americans felt their game day regrets the following Monday when 17.2 million people called in ‘sick,’ amounting to more than $4 billion in lost productivity.

Ironically, that’s about how much politicians stammered over for more than a month during the government shutdown and aforementioned decrease in January jobs created. They're not the only ones in need of a timeout during the first quarter.

The real question is, at what point do we throw in the towel and make Super Bowl Monday a national holiday for the hungover?



Recruiting Trends - January 2019 

New Year, Same Competition

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To say that things are a little uncertain at the moment would be an understatement.

At the time of publication, the U.S. government remains in a partial shutdown, the United Kingdom may or may not be leaving the EU (it’s complicated), markets are in a state of flux and geopolitical tensions are high.

As people start to whisper the dreaded “recession” word, you may be thinking that recruiters will soon be back in the driver’s seat, but you’d be wrong. 

As the markets were busy freaking out in December, the U.S. economy added more than 300,000 new jobs, marking the second best month of the year. In total, nearly 3 million jobs were created in 2018 (pending review of November and December data), bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.9%.

2019 looks to hold much of the same.

Some forecasts predict the unemployment rate will fall as low as 3.4% by year’s end, with hiring demand set to outpace new entrants to the labor force by a fairly wide margin. What’s more, salaries could increase by as much as 3.5% over the next 12 months. 

While predicting the future is a fruitless endeavor, current signs point to another competitive year for recruiters in 2019.

The Rise of Robo-Recruiting

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Recruiters, welcome to the fourth industrial revolution.

Recruiting has traditionally been a high-touch process with limited options for automation, but the rapid advancement of technology is opening new frontiers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm, and the recruiting industry is getting in on the action. While most of the technology occupies relatively niche spaces (e.g., recruiting chatbots and personal assistants), the rise of algorithmic candidate matching can’t be ignored. 

Candidate matching tools utilize AI and machine learning to identify ideal candidates for specific roles, eliminating much of the upfront work associated with the recruitment process. These tools are able to crawl the web 24 hours a day, sourcing millions of top candidates from around the world.

And if that weren’t enough, recruiters may have to get comfortable with the idea of spending a large portion of their time wearing an Oculus Rift, as virtual reality (VR) is also making inroads into the recruiting space.

Jaguar Land Rover recently made headlines for making its first hire through a mixed-reality app, and if the numbers are any indication, it won’t be the last. The auto manufacturer created a code-breaking puzzle that has attracted more than 40,000 participants to date, making excellent use of both VR and gamification.

VR is also being used to onboard and train employees, creating opportunities to gain efficiency and improve safety. Companies like Boeing and Walmart have embraced the technology as a core component of the training process, and both claim positive results.

As cutting edge as VR may seem, it’s actually been utilized by recruiters for quite some time. Lloyd’s Banking Group has utilized VR in its application process for several years, calling it a way to gauge applicants in a manner "that would otherwise be unfeasible in the conventional assessment process."

The verdict is still out on VR’s long-term future in the recruiting space, but it’s clear that companies are more than willing to embrace technology in the pursuit of a sustainable recruiting advantage. If recruiting technology isn’t part of your 2019 budget, you may want to go back to the drawing board.


Tech Turnover Still Going Strong

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If you’re a recruiter, you likely spent much of 2018 seeking out qualified tech talent and pitching them on open roles at your company. Well, get ready to repeat the process in 2019, but not because of growth but because of turnover.

The technology sector boasted the highest turnover rate in 2018, and due to the driving factors behind it, we expect much of the same in 2019. Let’s start with the numbers.

In 2018, the technology industry experienced an average turnover rate of 13.2%, led by UX designers, data analyst and embedded software engineers. In fact, the average tenure of employees at many of the world’s biggest technology companies is 24 months or less.

So what gives? Why are some of the world’s most valuable companies struggling to hang on to their people? Well, it’s the same reason that every recruiter is struggling to hire tech candidates in the first place: competition.

There are more technology jobs than there are qualified candidates, leading to intense recruiting and poaching efforts. The best software engineers are able to job hop to their heart’s content knowing full well that they’ll still be just as in demand.

A rash of negative publicity within the technology sector over the past 12 months hasn’t helped either. PR nightmares at companies like Uber, Facebook and Google (to name a few) also had plenty of people looking for new opportunities, and with demand so high, they likely weren’t looking for long.

Retention isn’t typically the responsibility of talent acquisition professionals, but given the amount of work it takes to hire software engineers in the first place, it may behoove them to do whatever it takes to hang on to top talent, as finding a replacement won’t be fun.


Remote Work Is Just Work

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Looking for a solution to that aforementioned retention issue? Try implementing a remote work policy.

The rise of remote work has been one of the most pervasive and successful recruiting experiments of the past decade, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The number of full-time, non-freelance remote workers has increased by 140% since 2005. due in large part to the fact that it just makes sense.

Don’t believe us? Let’s look at the facts.

To start with, remote work policies open a literal world of possibilities when it comes to recruiting. If employees can work from anywhere, companies can recruit from anywhere, making geographical limitations and relocation packages a thing of the past.

Additionally, remote work policies can offer significant savings opportunities as well. Dell reports having saved more than $12 million a year in reduced office space costs.

But it isn’t all about the bottom line. Remote work policies are playing a significant role in closing the gender gap in tech as well. 51% of women say being a working mother makes it difficult to advance in their careers. Flexible work options could eliminate that issue all together.

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