Five Key Points from DCI’s Talent Wars Report 2022

July 27, 2022
Woman in knit turtleneck sweater works on laptop in cozy apartment.

The past three years have been unprecedented, to say the very least.

The world has had to navigate the pandemic, mass resignations and changing workplace models in addition to social injustice, political strife and a struggling economy. Now, as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic and the need for talent only continues to increase, companies and communities are being forced to ask themselves: why and where is talent relocating?

In DCI’s sixth national talent research report, Talent Wars: What People Look for in Jobs and Locations, 1,000 working-age people across the U.S. (age 21-65) who had recently relocated at least 100 miles away from their previous residence were surveyed to provide insight into those questions. What the report shows is that the more things change, the more they actually stay the same. Despite so many drastic events that have changed the world as we know it, people really want what they have always wanted: a better quality of life.

Familiar trends like wanting higher salaries and lower costs of living were evident in this year’s report, as well as the ever-increasing importance of work-life balance. What has changed in these past few years, is that people are finally motivated and able to take the steps to achieve a better quality of life. Talent has realized working hard and living life do not have to be mutually exclusive and they are putting their own happiness first.

Below are five key points from this year’s report:

1. Work-life balance is a top priority

When asked why they relocated, 46% of those surveyed said they were seeking a better quality of life. After the past few years when there was little else to do but focus on work, it is perhaps unsurprising that many people are prioritizing living their life. This means that in their search for a new location, they are paying attention to factors like safety, nightlife, arts and culture, outdoor recreation and more. When talent clocks out of work, they want to have options for entertainment and they want to be able to do all of the things they have been missing out on. Being sure to highlight a community’s lifestyle amenities might just be the key to drawing in talent.

2. Small and mid-size communities are making a comeback

Because talent is prioritizing factors like lower costs of living, outdoor recreation and safety, small and mid-size communities have a better chance than ever at competing with big cities. Talent is craving new experiences and 23% of people revealed in this year’s survey that they wanted access to more space. After being stuck inside for the better part of these past two years, the idea of living in a smaller community where space comes cheaper is a huge appeal for people looking to relocate.

3. Pull up a seat for tourism stakeholders

Travel has come back in full swing and talent is considering making the places they visit their permanent residences. The era of remote work has made it possible for many people to pick up their lives and move anywhere in the world. As talent visits these new locations, a good first impression is crucial and tourism organizations can help make a strong one. By destination marketing and economic development organizations collaborating on marketing initiatives, communities can ensure that talent is exposed to messaging on livability and job-related factors when they visit. This exposure can help them make that final decision to turn their vacation spot into their new home.

4. Let current residents be your friend

While attracting new talent is important, investing in a community and its current residents is a crucial first step. In the digital age we live in, information can spread quickly, so it is important to ensure that existing residents have good things to say about where they live in order to help  attract talent. In this year’s report, 59% of those surveyed said that internet research influenced their perception of a community and 40% said social media played a role in their perception of a place. Making sure a community has a strong online presence and its residents are happy can be hugely beneficial. A current resident’s word can go a long way, whether good or bad.

5. As the world changes, so should workplace models

Remote work is still extremely popular after so many got a taste of working from home during the pandemic. As people have realized that their job can be done efficiently from the comfort of their own homes, many are unwilling to return to the office and work a normal 9-5. In fact, 33% of people stated that they would prefer to work from home full-time and 42% said they would like a hybrid approach with some in-office days. If employers want to recruit talent, they need to rethink their workplace models. Being adaptable could pay off big in the future.

These five key points from Talent Wars: What People Look for in Jobs and Locations are just a small portion of the research you can read about in the full report. Download your free copy here. DCI’s research supports the importance of talent attraction marketing for your economic development organization. Visit our Talent Attraction Marketing services page to see DCI’s proven results and case studies.