Two thirds of jobseekers looking for fully remote roles ahead of summer, study finds

But employers are offering more ‘remote first’ than fully remote positions, while experts say providing flexibility on location sends a ‘powerful message’

Credit: Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

Almost two thirds of jobseekers (58 per cent) are seeking fully remote roles ahead of the summer, research has found.

However, the research, which was carried out by global directory Flexa between January and March this year, also found that the number of adverts for fully remote jobs was three times lower than the number of ads for remote-first roles – where employees work remotely most of the time with the option to use office space on flexible or set days.

The study of more than 2,000 job adverts, 310,000 job searches and preferences expressed by 6,600-plus jobseekers also revealed that searches for positions that allowed people to ‘work from anywhere’ (WFA) shot up by 86 per cent over the last quarter, rising from 7 per cent of searches overall in January to 15 per cent in March.

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Gemma Bullivant, HR coach and consultant, said the current nature of the labour market meant the ball was in the employee’s court when it came to work conditions while job hunting. “Whether workers want to save on commuting time and costs, better balance the time and cost of childcare and other caring responsibilities, or have simply established a better work-life blend through a hybrid arrangement, there is sufficient employer demand for talent to continue to select their employer according to their own unique priorities, and the approach to flexibility is a strong influencing factor,” she said. 

According to the research, jobseekers also showed a preference for ‘summer hours’, where workers are able to finish earlier on Fridays during summer months, with searches for vacancies with this perk rising by 68 per cent from January to February.

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Search preferences for companies offering ‘unlimited annual leave’ increased by 33 per cent in the same time frame.

Ian Moore, managing director of Lodge Court, recognised the benefits of remote-first employers and summer hours, and said companies that implemented such policies would “send a powerful message to employees”. 

“When these elements are in place, businesses create an environment where people feel empowered while still being focused on achieving success and shared goals,” he said.

The findings follow those of Boston Consulting Group’s State of UK Business 2023 report, which revealed that nearly a third of business leaders had hired purely remote workers in response to labour shortages, and only 8 per cent of those who had done it believed the move to remote working had a negative impact on staff performance. 

Considering the legal implications of companies hiring fully remote staff who can work from anywhere, Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, explained that employees wishing to work abroad for a period of time can obtain protection in relation to holiday, minimum pay and termination under the local employment rights of their host country. “It’s worth noting that there are many countries, particularly in Europe, where individuals are afforded greater protection against dismissal than they are entitled to in the UK, and it is possible for employees to seek to rely on those enhanced rights if they are conducting their work abroad and their employment is terminated,” he said.

Price added that employers’ duty of care obligations “don’t end when the employee works remotely”. For this reason, he said businesses needed to ensure they were aware of and had approved the working location of these employees, assessing and mitigating any risks to the employee’s health and safety and security that come as a result of their location, accommodation and travel, as well as protecting the “best interests of the business” with regards to data security and information sharing.