Employers requiring job applicants to have a Covid-19 vaccine is declining, study finds

Personal Finance

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The share of job ads that require candidates to have a Covid-19 vaccine seems to be on the decline.

About 6.7% of U.S. job listings cited vaccination as a necessity for applicants as of April 29, according to a new analysis by AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, a job site.

The share has slowly fallen since March 12, when it touched a pandemic-era peak of 7.1%. (The data looks at the seven-day moving average of Indeed listings.)

The job listings don’t cite vaccination against Covid-19 specifically. However, that’s the implication since there were essentially no job ads requiring vaccination before the coronavirus pandemic, Konkel said.

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About 76% of Americans age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Roughly 66% of the entire U.S. population is fully vaccinated.)

Employers started including vaccination requirements in job listings around August, when the delta variant was fueling a new wave of virus cases. The trend accelerated through the fall and winter of last year and remains “substantial” despite the decline in recent weeks, Konkel said.

“I believe the downward trend is indicative of whether employers think advertising required vaccination will help them attract the workers they want,” she said.

“Advertising required vaccination is a way to appeal to certain groups of workers, but at the same time, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are now lower than during the fall and winter,” Konkel said. “Employers may be hypothesizing that if the pandemic isn’t at the forefront of workers’ minds, advertising required vaccination isn’t going to appeal in the same way it did a few months ago.”

New daily virus cases have fallen dramatically from mid-January, when daily cases spiked to record levels due to the highly transmissible omicron variant. Average nationwide cases have more than doubled since March, although they aren’t near the levels seen over the winter, according to CDC data.

Businesses also have reported having a tough time filling open positions amid the current market that favors job seekers. Openings touched a high in March, and workers have been leaving their jobs at record levels, attracted by better pay and opportunities elsewhere.

There’s wide variation in the vaccine requirement when compared state by state. For example, 12.4% of job ads in Oregon note vaccination as a prerequisite, the largest share of any state, according to the Indeed analysis. That’s true of only 2.4% of ads in Montana, the lowest share.

It’s unclear how employers’ sentiment will evolve, given the relative newness of these requirements. For example, what would happen if there’s another surge in virus cases?

“As hot summers and cold winters push workers indoors, will employers react and increase advertisement of required vaccination?” Konkel said. “Given that widespread Covid-19 vaccination only became available approximately a year ago, there are still plenty of questions of what the future of this trend will be.”

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