Three Talent Attraction Trends to Look Out for in 2024

January 29, 2024
African American woman in black workout gear running over a bridge with skyscrapers in the distance.

As January comes to a close and the nation’s workforce settles into the new year, it has become clear that talent came into 2024 with more than just resolutions. A new year brings new priorities and employers and communities can expect the ever-changing talent attraction landscape to remain just that: changing. 

Last year saw massive tech industry layoffs, preparations for the coming surge of Baby Boomer retirements and conflicting sentiments about the return to office among employers, as detailed in the 2023 Talent Wars report. As these and other factors continue to evolve, some new trends are entering the chat.  

Here are three to look out for in 2024:

The South Is Driving Population Growth in the U.S.

When it comes to where talent is moving in the U.S., the South continues to dominate. According to the U.S. Census, the South accounted for 87% of the nation’s growth in 2023, adding 1.4 million residents to the region. As the only portion of the country to maintain population growth during COVID-19, the South is proving that its allure is more than a pandemic phase.

While the South had a strong lead in population growth, the Midwest and the West also experienced some expansion last year. This growth is influenced by various factors, such as a lower rate of outmigration from the central areas, increased international migration into the West, and a decrease in overall mortality. In contrast, the Northeast continues to see a decline in population, albeit at a significantly slower pace than in 2022.

As communities across the country grapple with how to attract and retain the best talent, consider that, while the pull of the South continues, talent is on average more likely to relocate within the same region of the country, according to Talent Wars. When considering who to target, start by looking at those with skillsets that align with job growth in your area, located within your region of the country. 

The “Rise of the Rest” Is Finally Happening — Tech Jobs Are Spreading Out:

While Denver and Miami may not be the first cities that come to mind when thinking about the tech capitals of the country, new research by Brookings tells us that may soon change. For many years, experts have been convinced that tech ecosystems were spreading out from the Bay Area to the rest of the country – what AOL co-founder Steve Case calls “the rise of the rest.” But, not only was tech not spreading out, but it seemed to be further concentrating within those major employment hubs.   

Between 2020 and 2022, this pattern of concentration began to shift. San Francisco and San Jose vanished from the list of metro areas gaining digital employment and cities like Dallas, Denver, Miami and San Jose have appeared. 

DCI’s Talent Wars report underscores that the tech layoffs of the last year are impacting perceptions of traditional tech hubs and the companies that fuel them. In fact, 65% of tech workers said they are now more likely to relocate out of the state in which they currently live, in light of these developments. Communities with growing tech jobs, take note.

Hybrid Is the New Normal

It’s no surprise that some form of remote work is here to stay, but in what capacity is finally being defined by employers, according to a recent Chmura webinar. References to 100% remote work in new job ads has been steadily declining since 2022 and despite protest from much of the nation’s workforce, hybrid is becoming the new norm.

Ironically, computer and mathematics based jobs are leading the charge in bringing employees back to the office. A substantial 51% of companies have reported having Return to Office (RTO) policies already implemented, and an additional 39% are in the process of planning their reintroduction for 2024. 

Employees who chose to live further away from the office in the age of remote work will now have to relocate in order to make it to the office, which will have implications for all communities. However, demands for downtown amenities, such as coffee shops, restaurants, parking, etc. will not be returning and economic developers will need to build strategies that revitalize downtown. That’s not to mention the impact on commercial real estate, with office prices down 25% for 2023 and $1.5 trillion in CRE debt due for repayment before the end of 2025.

DCI’s Talent Wars report reflects this trend, with talent reporting a significant uptick in relocation spurred by accepting a job opportunity that required relocation. Communities should continue to promote job opportunities, in addition to lifestyle assets, in order to attract and retain talent.

Looking for new talent strategies amid this year’s latest trends? Reach out to DCI’s VP of Talent Attraction Patience Fairbrother at [email protected]

Written by

Patience Fairbrother

Vice President, Talent Attraction