Vaccine Requirements in Job Ads Are Declining

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer July 14, 2022
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​The number of employers asking job applicants to be vaccinated before starting a new role continues to fall.

About 5.9 percent of U.S. job listings cited vaccination as a necessity for applicants as of June 30, according to a new analysis by AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

The share of job ads mentioning a vaccine requirement has slowly fallen since its pandemic-era peak of 7.1 percent on March 12.

"That's not a huge drop, but the trend is clearly descending," Konkel said. "This trend is very dependent on what happens with COVID and the public health situation. As long as new variants remain in news stories, this will continue to be a lingering aspect. And if there was a terrible surge in cases, I expect that vaccine requirements would go back up."

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Konkel added that she could also foresee vaccine requirements in job listings going away completely in the future. "We're not there yet, and the path to get there will depend on the virus."

New virus cases are on the rise again, but most people have some level of immunity, either through vaccination or previous infection, warding off a larger crisis for now. Roughly 77 percent of the adult U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 90 percent have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

There were essentially no job ads requiring any kind of vaccination before the COVID-19 pandemic, Konkel said. Vaccination against COVID-19 became widespread in late spring and summer of 2021, and employers started including vaccination requirements in job listings around August 2021, she added.

It's also possible that some employers ask for proof of vaccination at a later stage of the hiring process, in order not to turn candidates off with a potential obstacle early on.

"Vaccination is a hot-button issue, and employers are trying to hire the talent they need," Konkel said. "In a tight labor market, employers want to avoid alienating potential job seekers and therefore may hesitate to advertise vaccination requirements."

Requirements for federal workers and certain health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus remain in place.

State, Other Variations

The share of job ads requiring vaccination have dropped across all the states, but there's still a lot of state-to-state fluctuation. For example, 11.7 percent of job ads in Oregon list vaccination as a prerequisite, the largest share of any state, according to Indeed. And at the opposite end, only 2.2 percent of job posts in Montana include mention of vaccination.


"Employers on the West Coast and in New England are more likely to ask for vaccinations in job posts, and the other portions of the country, less so," Konkel said. "I think it's more evidence that employers are trying to be savvy and read the room. A state or metro area's political leaning is a significant factor in whether job ads specify required vaccination, and employers appear to be responding to local opinion."

Larger cities and blue-leaning geographical areas lead in job postings advertising vaccination. Surprisingly, remote jobs are more likely than in-person jobs to require vaccination, according to Indeed data.

"On its face, this seems odd," Konkel said, as one would assume that workers in retail, food service and personal care would more likely have to be vaccinated than software developers working from home. "Shouldn't job postings in in-person sectors note vaccination requirements more than ads in remote ones, in which work involves less face-to-face contact?" she asked.

But she surmised that the answer could once again be employers tailoring requirements to certain types of workers. For example, workers with college degrees—who have the highest vaccination rate across education levels—are more likely to work in occupations that can be done remotely.

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