Is the Great Talent Reshuffle Upon Us?

When we talk to candidates, one of the very first questions that they ask is, “Can I work from home?” Yet, when we talk to our clients, such as those on the east coast, they often want people who will be working in New York or Florida (a large number of mid-sized financial firms are establishing their presence in Miami). These firms are not giving up their office space in New York or Connecticut entirely, but some of them may maintain a smaller space.

In early May, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Diamond said he wanted people back at work because working from home “doesn’t work for young people.” In the same breath, however, he also spoke of some employees working under a hybrid model and even a tiny percentage of employees with specific roles working from home full-time.

This doesn’t fully align with what we continue to hear from the candidate’s point of view, which is that some of them – not all – want to work from home. They see a balance there and like what that represents. One of them we know quite well just moved his family to Vermont. Is he going to want to return to Manhattan anytime soon? Unlikely. That’s a values-based move for lifestyle and family. He wants to live life on his terms and has the experience to offer his superb talent to an employer who can be flexible on where their workers are located.

Meanwhile, Diamond is probably correct in saying working from home doesn’t align with younger people, which may create more opportunities to apply for positions based in an office five days a week.

Welcome to the verge of what some might call The Great Reshuffle.

Cody Nottingham for Unsplash

How did we get here?

Thus far, we hear clients say, “Right now, we’re not planning on bringing anybody into the office.” The only thing that appears to be certain in a pandemic is more uncertainty. So, while some leaders may have a strong desire for their teams to return to work on a large scale, how do they plan on reconciling a situation where a talented candidate in a niche specialty prefers to work 100% remotely? Do they make exceptions to bring in the best of the best?

It’s also fair to suggest that while executives can state they want a full return to the office five days a week, perhaps 30-40% of their current staff, if not more, may resist that kind of move. This becomes all the more relevant as we grapple with COVID-19 variants, but even post-pandemic, many people have discovered something new about themselves that came from working from home. Perhaps that “something new” was a new job opportunity or the new revelation that they could get just as much done working from home as they could at the office.


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No going back to the past – or to the office?

The picture of the workplace during COVID-19 has been more or less frozen in time with minimal movement toward a return to the office. Throughout this period, employers and their workers have gotten a sense of what works with working from home and, with a few exceptions, it’s surprisingly more productive than what they thought.

Now, with more employers in the financial and tech space addressing working from home vs. returning to the office, the picture is rapidly changing. Hardcore demands of an office return by one firm could be highlighted by a competing firm that touts flexibility. Workers who have received a taste of the work from home life may resist a full return and lead an exodus from their employer.

At the same time, workers who could hardly wait to return to the office and being around others will welcome what they see as a return to normalcy. They may also see new opportunities in that office environment from those who left in search of a better work-from-home situation. And, in the middle of it all, with talent coming and going, employers may wonder what kind of corporate culture they have now.
We see a very fluid situation and a changing dynamic with people moving from job to job, so calling it The Great Reshuffle may prove accurate. If firms can’t be moved from their positions of a full return to work and workers can’t be moved from their positions of working from home, at least on a hybrid basis, we won’t see one or the other back down but rather both sides look for alternatives in terms of talent and employer.

Viva Luna Studios for Unsplash

When the deck changes due to The Great Reshuffle, we’ll be ready at Roy Talman & Associates. Are you? By turning to the 30+ years of experience we bring as a technical recruiter, you’ll be well-positioned to roll with the changes that may seem new to some. But in fact, we’ve been placing the “best of the best” talent based on culture, management fit and the nature of the work for decades. So don’t get thrown off course of your hiring plan by the winds of change swirling around you. Talk To Talman First.