On an almost hourly basis we speak to Tampa Bay based candidates who tell us they are unemployed and will NOT, under any circumstances, come back to work unless the position is 100% fully remote. We are not alone in hearing that, I’m sure. Recent data backs our conversations up. Flexjobs released a report that says 55% of all employees want a 100% fully remote role. However,  in Florida we only rank 48th in the nation in the number for remote opportunities. Again, based on our anecdotal experience, this does not surprise us as overwhelmingly all of our roles we are recruiting for now are in-office opportunities.

Essentially, there is a significant misconception between Tampa Bay employers and employees today. From our end, the only remote roles we see are large corporate businesses. Our small businesses are almost exclusively office based today. As we review national trends it becomes clear that there aren’t enough remote roles to fulfill employee demand. Earlier this spring, The Ladders released a report saying that 24% of roles hiring in the United States and Canada are fully remote. While this is an enormous increase in fully remote roles as opposed to years past, the reality of this situation is that roughly 70% of the jobs available are back in the office to some degree. So here is the million-dollar question: Will the remote trend continue at this pace, especially here in the Tampa Bay market?

What does the future hold?

The future is going to get complicated. There is no question that the United States is going through a transitionary phase where we are going to be short of employees for the foreseeable future. If you follow EMSI, they have been calling this period a “sansdemic”, meaning without people. The economy doesn’t really matter, there are simply more roles than people and that won’t change.

However, if you are a candidate, don’t get too comfortable. While the advantage will still be in your favor, if our economy experiences a slowdown, there will be more balance. We will see fewer roles and more competition for them.  In the meantime, I do not see the government moving with any kind of stimulus payments. In other words, the risk for long term unemployment will be on you if you do not become more flexible. Keep this in mind, the Florida Realtors released a statistic that for every 100 people the state of Florida loses, they gain 210 new residents.  In other words, even in a sansdemic, Florida will be a competitive state to find work in. Businesses may have more options for employees than in other states.

What Is Happening Now?

We are seeing a slight decrease in the both the frequency and urgency in hiring, especially for remote work. Many businesses are concerned about our economy. They wonder what it will look like in the next 3-6 months. If we learned anything during the pandemic, its that businesses like certainty. And right now, certainty doesn’t exist. Between the overwhelming increase of inflation, and expected 75 basis point Fed rate increase, and the lingering effects of Covid, we are not seeing the same level of aggressive growth we saw last year at this time. Today, we are seeing more measured hiring. In a nutshell, this quote by the Uber CEO falls in line with what we are seeing today, especially in our small business community:  …the company “will treat hiring as a privilege and be deliberate about when and where we add headcount.” (CNBC)

My Outlook

I believe the remote working trend will slow over the rest of the year in Tampa Bay. We have been seeing fewer and fewer remote options as we move through 2022. Today we are overwhelmingly seeing business prioritizing hires for people who are willing to be in the office. Remote work will not go away, but rather I believe there will be fewer opportunities in Tampa Bay. With the threat of a recession or stagflation facing the United States, my recommendation is be flexible today. You want to find a role today. I  believe we will continue to see hiring slow in the 2nd half of the year.

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