According to Adzuna’s latest research, the UK is experiencing a resurgence of in-person working across industries such as Creative & Design and IT.
This is after nearly three years of workers being asked to adapt to working from home due to the conditions imposed by the pandemic.
A study was conducted between January 2020 and January 2023, analysing job postings found on the Adzuna website.
It tracked the percentage of posts that specified if a position is remote, hybrid or office-based/on-site and the results may surprise you.
Changes By Sector
The Creative & Design sector has experienced a significant decrease in remote working opportunities over the last three months, shrinking -6.1 percentage points from 22.1% to 16%.
IT job ads for fully remote roles have also reduced by -3.4pp to 27.9%.
These changes are likely due to businesses returning to offices and workspaces now that the world is finding ways to confidently live with covid-19 for the long haul.
October marked a notable decline in the remote job ads available for Public Relations and Legal professionals, dropping by 1.5% and 0.7%, respectively.
Even big firms like Disney and Twitter have made office-based work mandatory again amongst their employees.
Other sectors are also beginning to put more emphasis on “office-based” roles, with Scientific & QA (+1.5pp), Retail (+1.1pp), Travel (+0.8pp), Graduate (+0.6pp) and Engineering jobs all showing a steady increase in recent years.
It appears the rise of graduate-level positions may be due to employers wanting to provide new talent with an enriching environment that helps young professionals create professional connections as they gain work experience on site.
The Reality Of Back To Work
Although UK employees have been hesitant to go back into the office, layoffs and a lack of job opportunities are causing them to rethink this approach as employers are becoming stricter with their return-to-office policies due to mandates from influential people like Elon Musk.
As such, fields such as Creative & Design and IT will be gradually reintroducing a greater proportion of onsite work throughout 2023; with the shift predicted to peak in numbers towards the end of the year.
Even though returning to an office-based workspace may be preferred for some employers, there are several concerning drawbacks.
Of particular concern is flexible working, which often aids women who juggle childcare and employment duties simultaneously, not to mention everyone who has enjoyed an extra hour in the day from not having to commute.
Pressuring these workers back into an office environment could potentially lead to job resignations, exhaustion or decreased productivity – all of which will only worsen any existing gender disparities, and may result in large-scale job moves.
Companies must therefore continue to offer flexible arrangements where they can – even if it means implementing broader return-to-office policies in the meantime.
More Remote Admin & Consultancy Roles Are Available
What might be surprising is that the admin sector is leading the way as a sector with more remote positions available, with a 14.7 percentage point increase in job ads for remote roles between October and January 2023.
This is compared to office-based administrative positions experiencing only a 2.2 percent drop over that same period.
The consultancy sector has also been increasingly embracing remote roles, with a 2.6 percentage point rise since October and a concurrent -2.7pp plunge in on-site listings.
Furthermore, Teaching job postings have also seen an appreciable shift toward remote positions (up +12.6 pp).
Specifically, more advisory jobs, such as tutor roles and lecturer placements are transitioning to the virtual realm.
Sectors With The Most Remote Working Opportunities
In the UK, remote job openings accounted for 12.1% of all vacancies in January 2023. Comparatively, hybrid jobs represented 11.3%, and office-based roles 8.5%.
Most remote working opportunities advertised by sector
- HR & Recruitment
Despite the recent decline, IT positions still made up 27.9% of remote working opportunities followed by Administration (21.7%), PR (20.4%), Teaching (16%) and HR & Recruitment (16%).
With more companies embracing flexible work arrangements, these numbers are likely to increase further throughout the year!
To sum up, whilst there have been clear signs of a shift towards remote work opportunities over the past few years, there are now some sectors that are starting to return to their pre covid, office-based settings again.
Now that workers have enjoyed more flexible working policies, and the benefits this can offer their work-life balance, employers need to be mindful of the benefits of adopting hybrid working strategies.
If they fail to offer the best of both worlds and want to shut out remote working for good, they may find they struggle to attract and retain the best talent.
As such, it looks like hybrid working is here to stay.