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


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.

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 advertising required vaccination 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,” Konkel 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,” she added. “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.”

Kids under six may finally be able to get Covid vaccines in June

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 have also reported having a tough time filling open positions amid a job-seekers market. Job openings touched a record 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 parsed 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 were another surge in virus cases? Might things change by season?

“As hot summers and cold winters push workers indoors, will employers react and increase advertisement of required vaccination?” Konkel asked. “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.”

Yelp, along with Citi and Apple, was one of the first companies to respond to a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court indicating that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. 

In the days that followed the leaked opinion's publication, tech company Yelp announced it will cover travel costs for its own employees seeking an abortion. About 200 Yelp employees live in Texas, one of the states to recently enact a near-abortion ban. (Tesla, Amazon, and others have released statements or new benefits supporting abortion access over the past week). 

More companies may soon be following suit. At least several companies have reached out to Yelp to inquire about how to adopt a similar benefit at their companies, according to Miriam Warren, the company's head of diversity and inclusion. 

"Many companies are reaching out about this issue," she told Insider on Tuesday. "This shows us that companies, big and small, and across a number of industries, are concerned about this issue and they also want to do something to safeguard their employees."

Corporate America is in a new era of leadership, where CEOs can no longer afford to stay silent on huge issues like racial inequityvoting rights, and the war in Ukraine. But abortion and reproductive rights seem to be an outlier to this rule. In April, Oklahoma became the latest state to enact a near-total ban on abortion, following Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, and Idaho.  

Yelp had shared a statement with Insider after the Supreme Court draft was leaked. The company took a stand opposing the draft decision and called on other employers to support employees. 

"Overturning Roe v. Wade will jeopardize the human rights of millions of women who stand to lose the liberty to make decisions over their own bodies, Yelp's statement said. "Turning back the clock on the progress women have made over the past 50 years will have a seismic impact on our society and economy. This goes against the will of the vast majority of Americans who agree that decisions around reproductive care should be made by women and their doctors. Therefore Congress must codify these rights into law. In the meantime, more companies will need to step up to safeguard their employees, and provide equal access to the health services they need no matter where they live," a Yelp spokesperson said via email.

In an interview before the Supreme Court draft was leaked – Yelp exec Warren offered her perspective, saying that abortion restrictions are a matter of employee health and safety. In an interview with Insider via email, she spoke about why the company felt compelled to take a stand and the state of corporate leadership today.

Yelp's chief diversity officer Miriam Warren
Miriam Warren, Yelp's chief diversity officer, said abortion rights are an employee-health and DEI issue. 

Yelp is the latest employer to cover travel costs for employees seeking an abortion. Based on the timing, it appears that the recent Texas law banning abortions after six weeks (titled SB8) was the tipping point. Why was that?

This is not a new issue for Yelp; this is a new benefit. Our company and our CEO have long been invested in promoting gender equity, the possibility of which is diminished when women don't have control over their own reproductive health. 

SB8 was definitely a turning point and sparked the conversation about what we could do to support equal access to healthcare for all of our employees in the face of such draconian restrictions. Unfortunately, we're seeing laws that limit women's progress — in and out of the workplace — gaining momentum in other states as well. 

Walk me through the decision. How long was Yelp leadership discussing this? Whose idea was it? How long did it take to roll this out, and what did that process look like?

Our employees care about this issue, and they care about Yelp caring about this issue. In the wake of SB8, we immediately took a firm stance condemning the law. The Yelp Foundation also double-matched employee donations to organizations fighting against reproductive healthcare restrictions.

Initially, we were hopeful that there would be judicial intervention to stop SB8, and when that did not occur in December 2021, it became clear that we would need to approach our insurance providers about how we could evolve our benefits to make sure all of our employees retained the ability to get the medical care that they need.  

As a distributed remote-first company with employees in all 50 states, we wanted to put a forward-looking and sustainable policy in place to ensure that whatever changes we made would support employees and their dependents, regardless of their chosen residence.

Why did Yelp roll out this benefit?

We've long been a strong advocate for equity in the workplace and believe that gender equity cannot be achieved if women's rights are restricted. The health and safety of our employees are our top priority, and we wanted to offer them consistent healthcare coverage.

Our insurance provider has always covered abortion and other reproductive services. Now they will also cover travel expenses for employees and dependents to obtain these services if they're locally prohibited. This benefit will be provided directly through our insurance provider to covered employees and their dependents impacted by current or future action that restricts access to covered reproductive healthcare.  

How is abortion access a diversity, equity, and inclusion issue?

This is a restriction on equality that all employers should take a really hard look at. Measures that limit a woman's right to choose are damaging and have wide-ranging implications on women's careers and their lives.

Fundamentally, inclusion is about everyone having equitable opportunities for success. In this case, we're talking about approximately 50% of the population facing greater challenges to full participation in the workforce. Companies that profess to care about issues of equity, inclusion, and belonging must care about this issue, just like they should care about any barrier to success that disproportionately affects a particular population.

In order for our organization to uphold its values and provide an equitable environment where everyone has the same opportunities, we cannot stand idly by in the face of legislation that would limit 50% of the population's autonomy and self-determination in the form of how and when to expand their family.

This is a systemic issue that disproportionately affects poor women and women of color, who already have less access to comprehensive healthcare, including contraception. When compounded by the lack of access to legal abortions, combined with medical racism, these restrictive laws may lead to higher rates of mortality.

Execs are increasingly being asked to speak out on social issues. They're also being asked to care for the whole employee and be more inclusive. But for a while, company leaders were silent on abortion rights. Why do you think this has changed?

Fundamentally, over the last decade, the employee-employer social contract has changed. Our work is inside our homes and employees expect more than a paycheck; they expect to be cared for by their employer and to be able to show up in the workplace as their whole professional selves.

As an employer with a globally distributed workforce, it's crucial for us to consider the health, wellbeing, equity, and inclusion of all of our employees and to support them where they are. Access to abortion and, more broadly, reproductive health care supports equitable participation in the workforce for everyone – including birthing parents and their partners.

The more this is talked about, the more likely it is that other companies will take a look at their own stance on these issues. I hope that by continuing to engage in this conversation, we can inspire others to do more to care for all of their employees.

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