Across the globe, we have seen a massive increase in remote working.
According to The Remote Work Statistics for 2019 report by FlexJobs, over the five years preceding the survey, the remote workforce had grown by 44% and over the preceding 10 years, by 91%.
This is a trend that the pandemic has escalated further; McKinsey’s forecast for the future of work concluded that we can expect between four and five times more remote work than before the pandemic.
Among tech professionals, this is a welcome future, with preliminary results from the Harvey Nash’s Tech Survey 2021 indicating that 79% of tech professionals want to continue working from home for at least the majority of the work week after the pandemic passes. Moreover, a survey by GrowMotely found that 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard.
A study by Fuze has also revealed that, in addition to expressing a desire for increased remote working, employees would even be willing to sacrifice a great deal in exchange for greater remote working flexibility. 54% of respondents would be willing to move to another company. 40% would take on greater workload. 31% would pay for their own technology. 24% would relinquish company benefits. And 18% would take a demotion or pay cut.
The increase in remote working, as well as the desire for remote working among employees, introduces a new hurdle for recruiters in the tech space. Not only are they competing with local companies for talent, but global companies that are perhaps better able and willing to offer higher salaries and improved work benefits.
The CEO of Slack, Stewart Butterfield, went so far as to claim that tech companies can’t return employees to the office even if they want to. At a FastCompany Innovation Festival event, Butterfield said, “If we say that everyone must return to the office, or we expect people to, and one of our competitors says you can work remotely, who wouldn’t take the second option there? There’s a market force at play. So I don’t know that individual companies are going to be able to opt-out.”
Whether or not he is correct, Butterfield’s assessment does not bode well for companies that are lagging behind the remote working trend, or are resistant to it.
Put simply, failure to offer flexible working puts recruiters at a severe disadvantage, particularly when competing with global organisations now able to hire from all corners of the world, on account of increased remote working.