Increasing remote work brings big-city labor competition to small-town America, according to a study by Emsi & Visier

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America’s large corporations are hiring remote workers in small communities, creating wage pressure and talent competition. Local businesses are feeling the impact.

Small-town America will start to feel the pressure as the Amazons of the world turn over every rock to find the talent they need.

According to a new study by Emsi and Visier, the already tight labor market is about to get a lot tighter. As America’s large firms increasingly opt for remote work, they’re expanding their search for talent outside of their traditional headquarter cities and beginning to scour smaller markets and rural communities to fill millions of open positions.

Current labor statistics already show a significant uptick in employees resigning from their current positions to take new jobs, many of which are remote. As this trend continues, America’s smaller cities will experience a Silicon Valley-like pressure for talent as they lose their people to big head-hunting firms.

“Small-town America will start to feel the pressure as the Amazons of the world turn over every rock to find the talent they need,” said Rob Sentz, chief innovation officer at Emsi. “This is already putting wage pressure on smaller businesses across the nation---no matter their location. And as the talent pool continues to tighten, we expect this dynamic to increase, with many businesses losing their people to massive firms miles away.”

According to the Emsi and Visier study, remote job postings are becoming more competitive, both in the amount of opportunities and advertised salary, than in-person postings. Advertised salaries increased 85% in the last three years for remote job postings.

The study also found that resignation rates are increasing for mid-career professionals (ages 25-45) as well as for managers, with many of these pursuing the more appealing remote positions outside of traditional geographic job centers.

“Employers at all levels will need to adjust and adapt,” concluded Sentz. “Now, more than ever, employers will need to be thorough and comprehensive in how they approach their labor-force growth and retention. Small-town businesses in particular will need to focus on retaining employers more than ever.”

The complete study can be found at Emsi’s website.

About Emsi

Emsi is an industry-leading economic data and analytics firm, specializing in labor market data, analyses, and consulting services for employers, higher education institutions, and economic/workforce development professionals. Emsi data and analytics are used by leading businesses and institutions world-wide to understand shifting talent markets and labor trends, and to promote economic prosperity in their regions.

About Visier

Visier is a market leader in workforce analytics, advising companies on identifying opportunities and risks within their organization, and helping shape resulting business strategy.


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Rob Sentz
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