U.S. Ranked Most Attractive Market for Employer Investment

Since March 2020, employers around the world have been navigating a changing landscape, shifting from office work to remote work overnight, adjusting IT and cybersecurity measures, and learning what new skills are needed to survive in this new normal.

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Employers are thinking long term when it comes to their entire workforce, so this year, the ManpowerGroup Total Workforce Index also takes a deeper look at talent availability, comparing the percentage of the remote-ready workforce in the United States and exploring the availability of in-demand talent to assist organizations in keeping pace with the next normal.

Top Global Insights

The following key insights are driven by today’s “new normal” and how organizations must rethink their workforce strategies in light of the continued trends around remote working and changing skills requirements:

  1. As more global employers evaluate remote workforce strategies, the readiness of a market encompasses far more than just a cost analysis.
  2. While workforce skills continue to drive the value and direction of a workforce, it’s the definition of requirements associated with jobs that is evolving in response to current market conditions.
  3. Employers can no longer default to just the available mix of labor. Rather, they must proactively determine the optimal mix of permanent and contingent or on-site and remote labor types in their organization based on their business priorities.

In addition to the above global insights, these have been particularly impactful to the United States:

  1. The majority of migratory trends in the United States during 2020 have been professional workers actively working remotely, resulting in emerging hot spots of IT, financial, and engineering talent nationwide. This has increased the need for employers to redefine their strategy for sourcing talent beyond where talent currently resides and look at availability, migration, cost, competition, etc.
  2. Female participation in the U.S. workforce has declined by over 2 million since December 2019, as limitations on child care and education have varied through the pandemic, often requiring adult supervision in the home. This has increased the gap between available jobs and the potential workforce looking for flexible roles to accommodate family planning.

United States

This is the first year the United States has ranked at the top of the index. While consistently among the top 10 countries since 2013, and often among the top 5, its No. 1 ranking this year has a lot to do with the consideration of remote readiness. In particular, the United States has superior strength in the following areas, which were weighted heavily by many employers throughout the pandemic:

  • Diversity of education and skills attainment
  • Diversity and strength of language proficiency across multiple languages
  • Consistent technical infrastructure to support remote workforce enablement
  • Technical readiness and legislation to enable cybersecurity risk mitigation

We are able to use this index to help inform the workforce of 2021. Migration has increased by 4% on average across the United States. The most substantial migration has been out of California, New York, and Washington as individuals relocate from high-cost and highly populated areas across the United States. With this shift in the availability of skilled remote workers, there is an increased opportunity for strategic sourcing and cost-efficiency, as the cost of labor varies from 18% to 41% depending on the city within the U.S. market.

Additionally, while upskilling is a strategic decision that should be evaluated at an organizational level, the tactical execution is at a role and market level, which aligns perfectly to the index insights related to education and experience. If employers want to tap into greater access to talent and cost-efficiency, the candidate availability and demographic data provide guidance on where educational attainment may be lower or the younger workforce may lack relevant experience and require upskilling. It is when the benefits of a market outweigh the correlating cost of upskilling that organizations can identify and validate a business case for upskilling over hiring more experienced talent.

By the Numbers

Availability: We now measure and track the current availability of talent in a given market based on key skills, education, and experience, as well as the remote capability of the workforce skills found in that country. The index provides this insight at a market level and allows for the comparison of each relevant metric across a selected set of countries. While every organization differs, there was consistent and increased focus on remote availability of talent at cost savings, and we did see two dominant trends throughout 2020:

  1. Increased focus on heat mapping and locating skills to be hired remotely in a particular region or at a particular baseline of cost savings
  2. Consistent focus on prioritizing English proficiency to support remote sourcing of skills, as remote sourcing adds to the diversity of markets being supported by teams embracing remote work strategies

Cost-efficiency: Similar to increased focus on English proficiency, as employers have leveraged the index to support more strategic sourcing of remote talent, the consideration of cost-savings potential has been a consistent priority. With the index, the focus is not exclusively on comparative wages but rather on the total cost of employment, the impact of taxes, overtime, and payrolling being top considerations that were weighted more heavily. This was particularly relevant when organizations used the index to measure the true cost of sourcing remotely. The index allows for comparison of national averages, but sourcing strategies generally require a targeted analysis of the local markets, where these costs can vary substantially even within a country.

Regulation: While the index has always tracked and compared the key regulations associated with onboarding, offboarding, and managing workers, the additional focus on remote readiness indicators now allows employers to evaluate markets based on border closures, employment quotas of foreign versus national workers, taxation impact on remote workers, and requirements for foreign entities related to license and operations. This allows employers to determine which markets represent greater sourcing opportunities for the skills they need and account for additional operating considerations.

Productivity: While we didn’t add remote readiness indicators to the regulatory factors, the increased focus on remote work is expanding employers’ ability to tap into longer work hours and extended weeks, which can add a different level of cost and operational efficiency to their planning for 2021 and beyond. As employers evaluate remote sourcing to support a global workforce strategy, productivity indicators related to business hours and work restrictions are critical considerations for global shift coverage.

About the Total Workforce Index

The Total Workforce Index scores each market on more than 200 unique factors. Each of these statistical factors is carefully weighted and grouped under one of the four categories: availability, cost-efficiency, regulation, and productivity.

The markets that rank highest in the Total Workforce Index are those with the highest relative performance across all four categories. Countries that perform well have successfully responded to trends, such as remote workforce readiness, automation, closing skills gaps, shifting regulations, and the rapid pace of technology. They have demonstrated market stability, have upskilled existing workforces, and are adequately skilling emerging workforces to meet changing job requirements.

The full report can be found here: https://talentsolutions.manpowergroup.com/twi.

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