Candidate CIOs, CTOs Balk at Return-to-Office Mandates   

Return Work

The push by employers to return employees to their offices is creating new hiring challenges for their talent acquisition efforts. According to The Wall Street Journal, the effort is creating reluctance among potential hires that have become accustomed to flexible work arrangements. Notably, CIO and CTO roles are becoming especially hard to fill as a result.

For business technology executives, relocation can be the single biggest impediment to changing jobs, said Eric Sigurdson, who leads the chief information officers practice at search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. For a time, that had impediment disappeared, but now it is back, he said.

“It’s a question we’re now having to ask that we’d haven’t had to ask for three years which is: Are you willing to relocate?” Sigurdson said. “You might get the answer: I’m not interested.”

This is especially concerning given the increased need for leaders who can help organizations keep up with technology and maintain their competitive edge, especially with tech advancements rapidly evolving.

In addition, the Journal found that the turnover rate for CIOs and CTOs jumped more than 30% in 2022 compared with 2021, as companies poached talent with high salaries and assurances they wouldn’t have to relocate thanks to flexible remote-work arrangements and other perks.

RTO Challenges

Ninety percent of companies reported having plans to return to office by the end of 2024 if they haven’t already, according to survey from Only 2% of the respondents said their company has no plans to require employees to report to work in-person. For hiring, this means not only heightened competition for top talent, but also a smaller pool of candidates to choose from overall.

In response, employers are shifting their hiring tactics and practices, the Journal said. Some companies are offering flexibility in terms of required office days rather than imposing full relocation, while others are limiting their search to within commuting distance of their facilities.

“Most organizations prefer to see talent relocate,” said Craig Stephenson, Korn Ferry senior client partner and managing director, North America CIO/CTO Practice. “But for a variety of reasons, it is a challenging situation which may require a creative solution.”

Image: iStock

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