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UK businesses believe hybrid working is here to stay – after 190% spike in remote job postings since pandemic began

 

  • 89% of UK businesses expect hybrid working trends to become permanent following a 190% increase in remote work job postings since the beginning of the pandemic
  • Employees are keen to take advantage of the opportunities hybrid and flexible working have created; two-fifths (39%) have looked to relocate while working remotely and half want to move to a four-day week
  • New findings come as specialised recruiter Robert Half launches its Demand for Skilled Talent report, analysing current UK employment trends and the rise of the ‘anywhere workforce’

London, 18 February 2021 – The majority of UK businesses (89%)[1] expect hybrid workforces[2] to become a permanent part of working life following a 190%[3] spike in remote work job postings since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new report from specialised recruiter Robert Half.

The increase in remote job postings between March and November 2020, compared to the pre-COVID period (June 2019-February 2020), was driven largely by marketing and IT roles, making up two fifths of all postings at a total of 38,000 advertisements.

The research coincides with the launch of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report, produced alongside labour market analytics firm, Burning Glass Technologies, to provide an in-depth analysis of current employment market trends, in-demand roles and the rise of the ‘anywhere workforce’.

 Key hybrid trends

The centrepiece of the Demand for Skilled Talent report is an analysis of evolving UK hybrid workforces. With the uptick in hybrid and flexible working, many employees are keen to make the most of the opportunity.

Two in five workers surveyed (39%) are planning to relocate to another country or city whilst working remotely, while almost half (49%) want to swap to a compressed four-day week in response to increased workloads over the last year. An additional 68% expressed a desire to continue working from home for one to three days a week going forward.

More generally, employees are optimistic about their prospects in 2021. Two thirds (67%) have a positive outlook for the year ahead, while 57% expect to receive a pay rise.

Benefits for employers

Employees are not the only ones experiencing the advantages of hybrid working, as employers have also seen a number of benefits over the last year. Improved business agility, access to a far larger talent pool, and the ability to offer teams a better work-life balance have been key takeaways for many businesses.

According to C-suite executives surveyed by Robert Half, the top roles best suited to remote work include:

For CIOs/CTOs For CFOs For General Hiring Managers
Cloud Engineering Account Management E-Commerce/Digital
Helpdesk Support Management/Administration Fund Management Office Management/Administration
Database Administration Financial Planning Customer Service (including Helpdesk roles)
Applications Support Finance Analytics Sales (including Telesales)
Business Intelligence Risk/Compliance HR & Talent Acquisition

 

Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half UK, commented: “2021 will continue to be a year of recovery and rebuilding for many, but long-term shifts to remote and hybrid working are creating significant opportunities for businesses and individual workers alike. While the ‘anywhere workforce’ is clearly here to stay, adopting a flexible mindset will be critical for all who want to thrive in what remains a highly dynamic business environment.”

“We’re seeing the pivot towards online revenue generation, data-driven operational and planning processes, and the desire to fast-track talent transformation strategies to build more resilient, adaptable, and agile workforces influencing hiring priorities for many across the UK.”

Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, added: “The pandemic has greatly accelerated a number of existing trends in the jobs market, including the move towards remote work and the rise of hybrid jobs. Remote work has the potential to disrupt the market by giving employers access to a much broader pool of talent and thus the ability to boost workforce diversity. But these trends create a new need for ensuring workforce readiness, making it more essential than ever for workers to remain agile and adaptable while combining ‘hard’, technical skills with ‘softer’ human skills.”

Five staffing trends driven by the rise of the ‘anywhere workforce’

  1. The talent pool will become an ocean. As organisations increasingly adopt a remote-first approach, they are realising the value of recruiting outside their city. Hiring managers can avoid wading through a flood of resumes and gain direct access to top candidates by partnering with a staffing firm.
  2. Offering competitive salaries and benefits remains imperative. Professionals with in-demand skills know they still have options, and employers must realise they need to offer competitive salaries and benefits to retain key personnel, as well as attract and secure top candidates.
  3. Investments are shifting. Companies are channelling more budget into technology that supports secure remote work and seamless collaboration, as well as employee health and well-being programs and benefits.
  4. New ‘Hybrid’ skills are emerging. Employers are increasingly requiring candidates to demonstrate new skill sets in response to the evolving pandemic. ‘Hard’, technical/specialist proficiencies must be accompanied by evidence of ‘soft’, more people-focused expertise, to form new ‘hybrid’ skill blends, with many of these underpinned by the use of new technologies.
  5. Effective remote onboarding and offboarding are critical. While virtual onboarding has already replaced the in-person orientation process at many organisations, employers also need to reimagine how they handle employee exits from a distance as renewed lockdowns continue in many countries.

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