Capitol Correspondence - 06.22.21

What We’re Reading: National Workforce Trends

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We are flaging a series of Axios articles below on the national labor market to help our members place their long-standing recruitment and retention challenges in a broader context, as well as identify some changes that could help with their organizational planning.

  • There is a wave of industry-switching among workers: “Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: More than a quarter of their employees may leave. […] There’s not much firms can do to hold onto employees who want to switch fields. But human resources may be able to retain some workers by offering as much flexibility as possible.” This wave also reflects a general sense of worker burnout from recent social strife and juggling multiple responsibilities during the pandemic, which takes recruitment challenges beyond recent increases in unemployment benefits.


  • Workers have new-found leverage: “The number of unfilled jobs continues to grow, the size of the workforce is stagnating and workers are flexing their muscles whether or not they have formal union representation,” Axios reports.


  • Office hybrid setups require compromise: “The biggest conflict is in where work will happen — in the office, at home or both. […] 64% [of workers] would pick permanent work from home over a $30,000 raise, according to a survey that the professional network Blind took of employees at 45 of the largest U.S. companies. […] Workers despise commuting — it’s ranked as the least favorite daily activity — and they’ve come to value the control that remote work gives them over their lives.”


  • Ideas for strengthening the workplace:
    • “Nudges” might help transition to a return to offices or adjust organizational culture to permanent remote work.
    • Use clear, concise and consistent communications. “Over 70% of employees admit they don’t read or engage with the content their employers give them, even if it is information they need, because they just don’t have the time,” Axios HQ reports. Here are some tips on streamlining communications.
    • Leverage company retreats: “A briefer period of concentrated interaction can be just as effective at building ties as spending day after day together in an office.”