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  • Writer's pictureRobert A. Dougan, M.A.


Is remote work creating a talent war? Companies that currently work with RAD Potential Advisory Inc. a consulting firm that guides companies to improve their hiring practices, have all indicated it is very hard to get candidate's to apply let alone find quality one's in this unusual job market. Given the current hiring landscape, organizations are having to break all the rules from the way they used to find talent, and unfortunately there are many companies who are having a hard time getting away from the old school way of thinking also.


PWC's 2021 survey indicated that as it relates to Canadian office workers that "58% of respondents aged 18 to 34 who prefer remote work cite more flexibility for where they live as a key motivator".

Furthermore, the survey also indicated "81% of employers and 78% of employees agree their organization has the necessary tools and technology for them to be successful in their jobs when working remotely".

What these trends are suggesting, is that the preference for remote work is growing year over year and the concept of hiring anyone from anywhere is also on the rise.

However, "46% of Canadian employee respondents claim mental health issues have been one of their biggest work challenges since the start of the pandemic".

The demand for remote work, coupled with how people were treated as it relates to their mental health are two major factors why their is a mass exodus of people in the workforce looking for new career opportunities. Furthermore, people are willing wait to find the best opportunity that will integrate their lifestyle into their careers and find a employer who will have their mental health as top priority as well.


Remote work has opened up a whole new way of hiring as well as how you market, attract and recruit has forever changed. Before, perks like open office space with fun and games was enough to entice others to move to another company, but not in today's marketplace. As noted in the PWC survey, people want flexibility and a place that cares for their well being. If these two core strategies are not in your tool kit for marketing and attracting candidate's then forget about it in terms of seeing lots of resumes come into your inbox.

People are seeking careers that have the central focal point of their lifestyle needs met along side with a company who cares about them and their wellness. That might mean providing more accommodation for their workers to live in the location that suits their personality, lifestyle and potentially permanently working away from the office. People want the flexibility to live and work for a company that suits their needs, while at the same time providing their expertise to a company that also treats them well without a physical office location. Sure, flexibility could mean hybrid as an option, but I would say don't make hybrid the only option requiring that people be on-site so many days a week. For some people this option might work, but for others it may not where they feel forced into a situation that doesn't suit them.

For example, some employers thought at first they would meet half way with employees because they did want people back in the office. We can understand that dilemma because much of their brick and mortar otherwise would sit empty. Furthermore, some companies felt that we want people back in the office because it was more productive and thus many companies opted for a hybrid model of work. PWC's statistics indicated that roughly 15% of the workforce preferred working remotely permanently. However, in recent example, a large financial services company decided to force people back to the office 3 days a week. What happened in this situation actually mirrored the current statistics, which was when they implemented this model that 15% of the workforce resigned putting the company in a difficult position of a workforce shortage. Unfortunately, what employers are slowing learning is remote work is important to many people and not necessarily hybrid model in the sense that people must comply to the rules of going back to the office.

What we are finding now is there are a good number of employers are listening to employees and candidates where they are modifying the workplace and workspaces from a place of work to something more similar to a social club. These working/social clubs environments have workspaces available to allow for in person collaboration and also a place where people simply need a change of venue from working from home. It's almost like going to the coffee shop with all the tech set up and resources when people want them. The key statement here is "when people want them"! This is more what I call hybrid! There is no mandate and employees have choice.


We are also finding that employers who have higher levels of retention are much more focused in their hiring strategies making remote work the central focal point in 2022. Eventbrite, for example, a company that host events showcase in their employee value proposition in promoting their jobs on how important work flexibility is at their company to market and attract candidates:

“Online and in-person, for a few friends or a global fanbase, Eventbrite is where people come together to build community and share their passion. We are defining what’s next for events and having a great time doing it. And we’re looking for talented people to dive in and get their hands dirty with us.”

The statistics are showing those who are advertising remote work are actually getting more applicants. For example, ZipRecruiter reported that growth in remote jobs are receiving 4X the number of applications as jobs that don’t have any remote options. These statistics very are telling that more than ever people are searching for remote opportunities.

Candidates for example, feel that workplaces who offer the remote work option are looked upon as more likely to be a place of work that trusts and cares their employees. It also suggests that the employers care about you and your lifestyle which are also key attraction factors. Remote work does send a clear message to candidates that you are more contemporary in your way of thinking as an employer and are more with the times as a modern place to work. Unfortunately, for the old guard who worked the traditional hours and drove to work for 30+ years is a hard habit to change, but guess what if you don't embrace remote work you will lose royally in the hunt for top talent.


Remote work has broadened the talent pool to gain access of the best talent on the street, but it has also made the landscape more competitive. It might be one of the reasons why many organizations are not seeing as many applications because the talent landscape is more fierce. You are not just competing for talent locally and regionally but rather nationally and globally. Being able to compete for the top talent with the option that they can work from anywhere is great for candidates, but the competition to attract talent and win them over needs to be at the forefront of the organizations mind.

The companies who evolve and learn to market their job opportunities as flexible or remote, a place that cares about you and your lifestyle will be winning in the long run to hire top talent. It's time to break all the rules when it comes to hiring in this market and the war on talent has just begun.

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