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What Occupiers Want: Global Survey Results 2023

Highlights from this year’s What Occupiers Want report include perspectives on workplace design, global talent recruitment, flexible work and changes to real estate portfolios.

Since 2015, Cushman & Wakefield has been taking the pulse of CRE leaders around the world to understand What Occupiers Want. In our annual survey—conducted in partnership with CoreNet Global—we ask about trends in office location and workplace, perspectives on changes to portfolios, and strategies around policies, procedures and decision-making. Over the past five years alone, we’ve uncovered critical insights about what matters most to occupiers, including sustainability, recruiting tech talent and post-pandemic portfolio transformations. This year, we asked more questions about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and occupiers told us how they’re incorporating meaningful changes across environmental, sustainability and governance standards within their organizations. 


  • Cost and talent—cost pressure is the #1 challenge for companies across the globe
    • Globally, cost has moved to the forefront of strategic drivers for CRE, followed by talent and operational excellence. In 2022, the reverse was true, as most occupiers sought talent before cost reduction.

  • Communal office space for sparking creativity and innovation—targeted space has doubled from pre-pandemic levels, from 20%-30% to 40%-50%
    • Most occupiers see the office as a centralized, planned meeting spot to learn, develop and ignite ideas collaboratively. As such, they seek to grow their communal spaces to foster a flexible and synergistic workplace environment.

  • Finding talent beyond the city limits—26% of occupiers are recruiting from anywhere in the world
    • Though occupiers mostly prefer Central Business Districts (CBD) for HQ locations, this doesn’t limit their reach to hire from a global talent pool.

  • Footprint reduction—nearly two-thirds of occupiers (63%) plan to reduce real estate footprint in the next two years
    • With office occupancy at half of pre-pandemic levels, most occupiers want to reduce overall footprint, while simultaneously optimizing their current space with amenities and services to increase office usage and experience.

  • The importance of ESG—with a dramatic jump, from #8 to #5, ESG rose in importance as a key driver of real estate decisions
    • Social consciousness and sustainability are becoming increasingly important to occupiers around the world. Forty-two percent of CRE executives told us they have ESG goals either in operation or in planning stages.

  • Making an impact with flexible work—employees report a better workplace experience when given autonomy to work when and where they want
    • Employees want to have agency to independently choose where and when to work. CRE executives see that providing workplace flexibility not only drives employee engagement, but also aligns with their social pillar goals.
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Join Michael Creamer in this podcast episode as he sits down with Bill Knightly, Chief Executive of Global Occupier Services (GOS), to delve into the findings of our annual survey:


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Future-proof your portfolio. Create inspiring on-site experiences. Unlock the potential of your real estate.

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