Flexible Working Index October: What Job Hunters Are Looking For

3rd Nov 2022

October’s flexible working Index analysed a sample size of 38,609 searches by job hunters and over 1,583 job adverts. 

On the Flexa platform, we found that fully remote work continues to decline in popularity. For the second month in a row, there has been a steep decline in the number of employees looking for fully remote roles, and the number of employers offering them.

Fewer workers want ‘fully remote’ roles

Between August and September, the number of people searching for roles offering fully remote work fell by 26%. The downward trend has since continued, with searches for fully remote roles falling by a further 27% between September and October. In September, 44% of searches were for fully remote roles, versus just 32% in October - an all-time low.

Instead, searches for ‘remote-first’ roles which offer home-based work with some time in an office have shot up for the second month running. Searches for remote-first jobs rose by 74% between August and September and increased by a further 19% between September and October - up from 47% to 56% of all searches.

As winter arrives, working abroad - or even at home - appears less appealing to employees. Amidst fears of layoffs and sky-high utility bills, offices have become more attractive.

The cost of living crisis has certainly caused a stir in the world of flexible working and workers are anxious about the road ahead.
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Companies offering ‘fully remote’ roles are even rarer

The trend is also reflected by employers with fewer and fewer companies advertising roles that offer fully remote work. Between August and September, the number of fully remote roles being advertised fell by 58%; and again fell by a further 40% between September and October.

Meanwhile, the number of remote-first roles being advertised has caught up to increasing demand amongst job seekers. Between September and October, the number of remote-first roles on offer rose by 38% - up from 16% to 22%. 

Compensating expectations that staff commute to offices more, employers' attitudes towards working hours are becoming more flexible. Between September and October, the number of roles with ‘fully flexible’ hours being advertised shot up by 55% - up from 22% to 34%.

Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Flexa Careers, comments:

“Seasonal working trends are clearly being cemented as winter starts to bed in. Whilst the summer months were all about ‘working from anywhere’, fewer employees are looking to work from different locations now. In fact, we’ve never seen fewer users searching for fully remote roles than we did in October. 

But it’s no coincidence that searches for office-based work have continued to rise in line with the price of heating our homes. The shift in working preferences is as much about the economic climate and practicalities as it is about the change of season and the end of summer fancies. 

The important thing is that the office is seen as a choice rather than an obligation for the increasing numbers of workers who are instead looking for remote-first jobs. Otherwise, the looming recession and threats of layoffs risk workers feeling pressure to be seen in the office; turning their financial refuge into a weapon that can be used against them.”

What does this mean for the future of flexible work?

Despite the uncertainties related towards the recession/economic downturn, the job market is still hot. People are still in the midst of changing jobs or are currently on the lookout for a new role in hope of finding more flexibility than what their current employer has to offer.

As the stats show, flexibility is still very much important, the key here is choice - employees want to be able to make the decision for themselves as to whether they wish to work at home, from the office or a mixture of both. It's dependent on many factors from location to whether an individual has children, pets, other caring responsibilities, a disability or a preference.

Having choice allows employees to make a decision around what's best and most cost-effective for them.

Full Flexible Working Data