Research from search engine Adzuna suggest that while many top-level executives are pushing for more onsite work, they are enjoying a higher degree of flexibility than junior workers, with the majority of their advertised roles now being labelled either hybrid or remote.

The research analysed jobs advertised on Adzuna between July 2022 and July 2023, tracking the proportion of postings that specify jobs are either ‘remote’, ‘hybrid’ or ‘office-based’/‘on-site’.

It found that seniority is playing a crucial role in determining the level of flexibility jobseekers can find during their job search. In July 2023, the office was the most prominent workplace for entry-level to junior advertised positions, while hybrid working was the most common working style for roles advertising an annual salary of more than £40,000. Particularly, around a quarter of senior roles paying £60k+ (23.4 per cent) to executive level (26.1 per cent) advertised job ads were hybrid.

Tracing back a year ago, while there was not much of a change among entry-level and mid-level jobs – most positions under £40,000 were also onsite – it wasn’t the same story for senior and executive-level jobseekers. For this privileged group, it was remote working that reigned supreme back in July 2022, with 29 per cent of job ads specifying ‘remote’ work.

In total, just 34.5 per cent of job ads specified a workplace location in July 2023, with 8.6 per cent labelled as office-based/ on-site, 11.1 per cent as hybrid, and 14.5 per cent as remote. 65.4 per cent of job ads failed to add location.

“Senior managers and top executives not only have bigger paychecks but also greater flexibility,” comments Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna. “To effectively motivate workers to go back to the office, decision makers should consider Ieading by example. As businesses navigate this transformative period, there will be an ongoing tug of war between companies and their employees. Viral work trends like “Lazy girl jobs” suggest that Gen Z, which will account for one-third of the workforce by 2025, are particularly prioritising their work-life balance. Jobseekers are becoming more discerning when it comes to searching for jobs that offer work models that fit their priorities and needs. As UK employers continue to face skills shortages, those who want to attract and retain the best talent may need to start indulging jobseekers’ needs, and that includes offering greater flexibility. Increased transparency would also help. Currently, only around a third of job ads specify working location, meaning a missed opportunity to attract jobseekers searching for particular patterns.”

The domino effects of widespread return-to-office mandates in the US are being felt acutely in the UK’s tech industry. Despite being the sector with the second-largest proportion of ‘remote’ job ads, employees in the IT sector are most likely to be asked to return to the office among all industries. The proportion of ‘remote’ job ads had the biggest year-on-year drop (-10.8 per cent) among all sectors, while postings advertised as ‘office’ or ‘hybrid’ roles’ went up.

The Creative & Design sector, where being physically together facilitates better collaboration, comes next, with ‘remote’ postings going down -7.3 per cent and ‘hybrid’ and ‘office-based’ roles climbing +6.5 per cent and +1.5 per cent respectively. Employers also increasingly want fresh graduates coming back to office, as graduate roles usually have less autonomy in the workplace and require more guidance from their supervisors and seniors.

James Neave, head of data science at job search engine Adzuna, noted: “Working from home is not a trend anymore, but the end of the pandemic doesn’t imply a quick pivot back to three years ago – when going to the office was the norm. Our data shows that while the pandemic disrupted the workplace – provoking a nearly 10 per cent jump in remote jobs within a year and pushing hybrid jobs towards mainstream – its impact is long-lasting. Working from home is a solid reality employers need to take in.”

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