Students of Color, Women Want Remote Jobs

​Heads-up to employers looking to hire for diversity among new graduates: Students of color and women are more likely to want to work remotely at least part of the time, compared to white students.Also, more students of color are majoring in technology, and they are more likely to prioritize job stability over finding their “dream job.”Less than 30 percent of Asian, Black and Hispanic students want to work in person full-time, compared to 35 percent of white students, according to recent research from Handshake. The findings are from a 2023 survey of 3,809 randomly selected students from the online recruiting platform’s network of college students and alumni. Handshake is based in San Francisco.Data on remote jobs was based on applications to full-time remote and in-person jobs submitted between January 2022 and April 2023 by bachelor’s degree students. The graphs below are from Handshake.Other recent surveys have found that new graduates in general want hybrid schedules, which combine remote work with the opportunity for in-person networking and collaboration several days a week. Seventy percent of the 2,756 college seniors surveyed by LaSalle Network in March indicated they prefer working from home two to three days per week, a figure similar to the findings for 2022 graduates, according to the report, What the Class of 2023 Wants: How to Attract and Retain the Class That’s Never Satisfied.An earlier survey from Handshake, conducted June 13 through July 6, 2022, also found a preference for hybrid schedules. Among the 1,432 job seekers in the survey, 55 percent said it’s important that they are allowed to work remotely, but only 15 percent wanted a fully remote schedule, and 23 percent wanted a fully in-person schedule.But while a majority of students across all races prefer hybrid work, “there is a distinct racial gap when it comes to what ‘hybrid’ ideally means,” Kate Urban, Handshake senior research writer, noted in a company blog post. White students were more likely to say they want to work remotely about 25 percent of the time. Students of color were more likely to say they want to be remote 50 percent of the time or more.Many respondents of color, Handshake found, said they feel less day-to-day racial bias and less pressure to assimilate to workplace norms of a predominantly white culture when they work remotely. Female students and students of color had “so many factors that [they] had to deal with pre-COVID,” such as not having a car, or having to deal with family-care issues, said Valerie Workman, Handshake chief legal officer.”One of the upsides of going to remote work [was] they could get to work easily, and those barriers were removed,” Workman said. “They don’t want to give that up.”Preference for remote work is not just a transportation issue, she added. “Many of them felt there were stigmas in terms of how they were dealt with in the workplace … and challenges of acclimation and inclusion.” Those disappeared when they didn’t have to go into the office, Workman noted.  In her blog post, Urban quoted a female Muslim student who said working remotely allows her the freedom to practice her religion without worrying about discrimination or compromising her religious beliefs by wearing traditional office attire to fit in.If diversity, equity and inclusion are part of your recruiting efforts, Workman said, offering hybrid work schedules, or primarily remote work schedules, should be part of the recruiting process.In the last three years, the number of companies that provided relocation to new hires “severely diminished,” Workman said. “It’s almost become a rarity in the last 18 months,” she noted. “If they’re requiring [workers] to be onsite … they’re really going to have to start looking at starting relocation packages again.”Tech MajorsBetween 2014 and 2021, the tech industry produced only a 1 percent increase in Black representation within technical roles in large tech companies, according to the NAACP’s Kapor Center.In its latest survey, Handshake found more students of color are majoring in technology:Asian students: 38.2 percent in 2023, up from 34.2 percent in 2019.Black students: 10 percent in 2023, up from 8.6 percent.Hispanic students: 8.9 percent in 2023, up from 7.6 percent.White students: 35 percent in 2023, down from 43 percent.Higher percentages of students of color indicated interest in cybersecurity, software engineering, artificial intelligence, information technology and business analytics than white students surveyed, but all groups expressed an equal interest in data analysis, according to Handshake.The findings show that the efforts of corporations, universities and colleges in encouraging students of color to participate in tech careers have paid off, Workman said. Additionally, these students are 1.5 to two times more likely than white students to say they plan to develop software engineering and cybersecurity skills over the next few years.”This group wants to continue their education,” Workman said. “They know their degree is not the end-all,” and they are aware the skills required to work in technology rapidly change. “This group understands they need to keep learning in order to continue to be viable [employees].”Female students were more likely than male students to indicate that news about the economy has led them to apply to more jobs, apply sooner, and open their job search to more industries, companies, and roles, according to the report. Handshake found a similar trend for students of color:44 percent of female students said they had applied or were applying to more jobs, versus 39 percent of male students.55 percent of Asian students said they applied or were applying to more jobs, versus 39 percent of white students.46 percent of Black students said they applied or were applying to more jobs, versus 39 percent of white students.42 percent of Hispanic students said they applied or were applying to more jobs, versus 39 percent of white students. Other SHRM Resources:New Grads Use ChatGPT in Job Search, SHRM Online, May 4, 2023.

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