Talent Wars 2020

What talent looks for in jobs and locations in the age of COVID-19


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In an era of uncertainty, communities are left wondering now more than ever: what does talent really want? DCI asked 1,600+ people just that.

This time last year, employers and economic developers were facing a talent crisis due to the lowest national unemployment rate in 50 years. Today, America is in a different type of workforce crisis—one inflicted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). In an era of uncertainty, communities are left wondering now more than ever: what does talent really want?

As the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) helps communities market themselves to attract investment, visitors and talent. Since 2017, DCI has surveyed thousands of people across the country on how they choose jobs and locations.

For the third edition of the “Talent Wars” research report, DCI conducted a survey in the summer of 2020 of 1,600+ people (ages 21-65) across the U.S. representative of different industries and educational levels—ranging from a high school degree to master’s degree or higher—to answer the following questions:

  • What are the top factors talent takes into consideration when presented with a new job opportunity?
  • How frequently does talent search for new job opportunities?
  • What resources do people use when interested in learning about a new location?
  • How has COVID-19 affected talent’s job and relocation priorities?

Understanding how people decide where to live and work—and how exactly COVID-19 will impact talent’s decision-making process—will enable communities to position themselves to retain current residents and win over prospective talent.

Our 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.

Have a question about this study or other custom research? Reach out to Robyn Domber at [email protected]

If you are a current DCI client, please reach out to your account lead for your complimentary download of the report or to inquire about virtual presentation or customized speaking services (tier two or tier three).

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