Shifting Priorities: How Companies Are Navigating the Post-2020 Hiring Landscape

Shifting Priorities: How Companies Are Navigating the Post-2020 Hiring Landscape Main Photo

12 Jan 2023

Workforce, Human Resources


The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the overall talent landscape, with the competitive market now driving companies to look at smaller less established markets to satisfy their workforce needs.

Read Area Development story by Chris Volney, Senior Director, Labor Analytics, CBRE

The ability to attract and retain quality talent is typically the key determinant behind a company’s current and future success. While the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed this, it has shifted the overall talent landscape, forcing employers to evaluate new talent geographies in different ways. This piece explores the various talent-related factors employers are using to determine where to hire and how their prioritization of these factors continues to change.

New hiring locations are typically assessed based on three broad categories: talent supply (including quality), talent cost, and talent demand. These factors still drive most talent-based location selections, but the priority placed on each has changed as a result of the constricted talent environment, accelerated by the pandemic, that has employees decidedly in the driver’s seat across most occupations and industry sectors.

Pre- and Post-Pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, companies focused mostly on the supply and cost of talent with demand (AKA the competitive environment) considered less, if at all, as part of a talent-based location strategy. Included is a representative sample of a typical company’s weighting around these three categories both before and since the pandemic.

This reshuffling of priorities is largely a reaction to the current hiring environment, which is characterized by slower supply growth in the face of a rapid escalation in demand. Identifying locations with deep pools of cost-effective talent is no longer enough to guarantee a company can enter a new market as a preferred employer with a strong potential to attract and retain top talent over the longer term.

Ignoring a candidate market’s demand environment will significantly increase an employer’s near- and long-term risk. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the geographic distribution of hiring demand across the United States. Demand share decreased in larger, more established costal markets and shifted to a wider variety of locations dispersed throughout the country.  Read more