When COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, many viewed this moment as the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Businesses, restaurants and even some offices began reopening, and the economy seemed to be bouncing back.
However, the new, highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 has undermined that confidence. And not least because, as Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel points out, “The delta variant and school reopenings are colliding at the same time.”
In an effort to curb another hit to the economy, some employers are beginning to request vaccinations among employees. In late July, the president announced that federal workers will be required to prove they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else comply with rules on weekly testing, mandatory masking and more. And a few tech giants announced they were mandating vaccines for employees before they return to the office.
There’s no wonder then, according to the Indeed Hiring Lab research, that there has been a rise in job postings requiring vaccinations.
To learn more, we spoke with Konkel about her research.
What are the key findings?
As of August 7, the share of job postings per million that require being vaccinated against COVID-19 was up 34% compared to the previous month. Job postings that require vaccinations but don’t specifically specify COVID-19 follow the same trend, with these jobs up 90% compared to the previous month.
Job postings that require vaccinations are also increasing across a wide range of sectors, including software development, marketing, education, and sales — many of which had not previously made vaccines mandatory. Interestingly, the share of software development postings requiring vaccinations increased by more than 10,000% in July from February 2021.
According to Konkel, the increase in job postings that require vaccinations across these sectors may be due to employers’ trying to hedge against the risk of having a sick workforce.
”Even if you are a 100% remote software engineer, at some point you're probably going to go to a conference or an offsite retreat or meet your manager for coffee,” says Konkel.
What does this mean for job seekers?
The rise in job postings requiring vaccines may also make job seekers who are anxious about COVID-19 more willing to consider certain employment opportunities.
After all, many unemployed workers are not rushing to find a job right now, citing COVID-19 as their biggest concern. Knowing that an employer is requiring their employees to be vaccinated can incentivize job seekers to look for jobs at that company.
“For job seekers that are concerned about COVID-19, this alleviates a bit of that concern, especially if you’re going into a workplace where everyone is vaccinated,” says Konkel.
What does this mean for employers?
As Indeed’s SVP of HR Paul Wolfe wrote in March, “Employers can require employees to take safety precautions, such as receiving vaccinations, to protect their fellow workers. And last December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided detailed guidance that says requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination isn’t a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) per se.”
However, as Wolfe points out “There are exceptions. It’s important to note that some employees may object to vaccinations for medical reasons, and requiring these employees to be vaccinated anyway would be a violation of the ADA.
“Also, some employees may resist vaccinations due to religious beliefs; requiring them to receive a vaccine anyway would be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment discrimination based on religious beliefs (among other things).”
In the end, each employer must decide the best course of action. However, just last week, the Pfizer vaccine was officially approved by the FDA, after previously meeting the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization. This could make employers feel more comfortable requiring vaccinations. And for those who do, it is possible that they may see a faster return to the physical workplace compared to employers who are not requiring vaccinations.
As vaccinations only became more widely available during late spring and summer of this year, the trend around job postings that require vaccinations will continue to change. Says Konkel, “This may just be the cusp of a much wider trend.” The Indeed Hiring Lab will continue to follow this trend.