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Sectors abandoning remote work revealed

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Back to the office for many Brits

It has been almost three years of pandemic-affected work patterns, but now certain sectors are being called back to the office across sectors. This is according to new research from the job search engine Adzuna.

The research looked at jobs advertised on Adzuna between January 2020 and January 2023 and tracked the proportion of postings that specify jobs as either ‘remote,’ ‘hybrid,’ or ‘office-based’/‘on-site.’

The data revealed that remote working opportunities are dropping significantly in the Creative and Design sector, down from 22.1% in October to 16.0% this January.

The IT sector is also seeing a drop in remote opportunities, dropping to 27.9% in the last three months.

Since October, remote work is also lower in the PR and Legal sectors – down -1.5pp and -0.7pp, respectively.

In the US, this trend is even more prominent. Large employers, such as Disney and Twitter, are insisting that their workers return to the office.

The research also revealed that designated ‘office-based’ roles are growing in some sectors:

  • Scientific & QA (+1.5pp)
  • Retail (+1.1pp)
  • Travel (+0.8pp)
  • Graduate (+0.6pp)
  • Engineering (+0.6pp)

The increase in on-site graduate roles indicates the need to nurture new talent on-site and help them create work networks.

Some sectors, however, are resisting returning to the office and, instead, seeing a rise in remote job opportunities.

Top of the list is the Admin sector, with the proportion of job ads for remote roles increasing by +14.7 % between October and January 2023. At the same time, office-based admin roles have fallen -2.2%.

Many Consultancy roles are also pushing back against a return to the office, Remote opportunities are up 2.6% since October, and the proportion of on-site ads is down -2.7%.

Interestingly, remote roles within the Teaching sector are up +12.6% since October – more advisory, tutor, teaching assistant, assessor, and lecturer roles are shifting to remote work.

Across the UK, 12.1% of all UK job vacancies were listed as ‘remote’ in January 2023. A further 11.3% were labelled as ‘hybrid’ and 8.5% as ‘on-site’/‘office-based.’

The top sectors for remote working roles overall are:

  • IT (27.9% of job ads)
  • Admin (21.7% of job ads)
  • PR (20.4% of job ads)
  • Teaching (16.5% of job ads)
  • HR & Recruitment (16.1% of job ads)

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “To date, UK workers have been resistant to the return to the office, but as the recession bites, layoffs mount up and job opportunities slow down, refusing on-site mandates is becoming higher risk. We’re seeing employers becoming firmer on return-to-office policies, following a spate of high profile mandates led by the likes of Elon Musk. Sectors like Creative & Design and IT are slowly but surely moving back to the office, in a trend we expect to see pick up through 2023.

“But while the return-to-office may be reassuring to some employers, there are some very real downsides. Flexible working is of particular importance to women, who often shoulder the burden of caring needs on top of their jobs. Forcing women back to the office could cause some to quit, burnout, or force less productive working patterns, which will only widen existing gender divides further. It’s crucial that employers maintain flexible options for those that need it, even if mandating wider return-to-office policies.”



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