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The current job market and the redistribution of work

How about the overall job market?

Tech employment and new job postings remain on a positive trajectory even as employers eased back on hiring in February, according to an analysis of the latest labor market data by CompTIA.   Technology companies added 5,300 new workers in February, the 15th consecutive month of employment growth for the sector. 

And it seems job growth is not isolated to the big cities on the coasts in the US.   In a report from the Economic Innovation Group.   Superstar metros such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and D.C. are still magnets for job growth and talent, but many smaller cities are joining their ranks.  Why?    They were seeing very robust job growth in the two years before the pandemic,” says August Benzow, research lead at EIG.

In data from the Conference Board, it does appear jobs are leaving the West Coast for Texas, Virginia, and Georgia, among others.   More than four in ten listings for higher educated white-collar occupations at technology companies based in California, Oregon, and Washington are outside the region.      Texas is the top state destination, including in Austin, where Tesla Inc. just moved its headquarters. Washington, D.C., comes on top among metro areas, followed by New York City.   While East Coast cities like Boston have long been tech hubs, the findings point to a pandemic-era shift inland. Denver and Nashville, Tennessee, have seen some of the most significant increases in job postings.   The percentage of job postings outside of the West Coast, 43%, has jumped from about 30% at the beginning of 2019.

A Brookings Institution and LinkedIn report tell a related story – several fast-growing cities are winning tech workers.    Miami has seen a 30% increase in the flow of workers in software and IT, and warmth seems to be criteria – seven of the ten fastest-growing cities for tech workers are in the Sun Belt, including San Antonio, San Diego, Orlando, and Jacksonville.     Traditional big tech hubs still hold the bulk of jobs, New York has done particularly well, and San Francisco is still the center of the tech world.  

It also appears that the unretirement trend is unraveling.    2.8% of the workers who said they were retired in January 2021 went back into the labor force in January 2022, according to data Bunker pulled from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

It’s not all sunshine, however – like mental health platform Yerbo found that two in five workers are at high risk of burnout, prompted by longer hours, more demanding workloads, and conflicts in work-life balance.   42% of IT workers who are facing high levels of burnout are considering quitting their company in the next six months, while 62% of IT professionals report being “physically and emotionally drained.”   One in four tech workers wants to leave their workplace in the short term.

A small bit of insights, too – despite the record job growth, it appears voters aren’t feeling it.      In polling from Navigator research, 35% of voters believe the country is experiencing more job losses than usual. 

Why do we care? 

That Sun Belt data point tells the story – people are moving for non-work-related reasons.    I expect to be commenting more on this as we consider a return to work issue, but let’s consider just the hiring angle right now… location is less important than ever for the job itself, mainly if it can be done remotely.   

I’d also offer that it’s likely tax and services related, as the need to be by the office for work has been proven to be a lot less necessary.

So what does this mean for a smaller company?   You can differentiate based on your own culture and opportunity and compete for people beyond your geography.    This should be good news.