An increasing number of companies across sectors may be calling employees back to office, but an increasing number of women job seekers still prefer to work from home.
Female job seekers are making up a greater share of applicants — and new hires — for roles that can be done remotely compared to their male counterparts, an analysis released by LinkedIn finds. Between January 2019 and October 2022, the platform saw a 20% increase in the share of female applicants applying to fully remote jobs, compared to a similar decrease in male applicants over the same time period. LinkedIn analysed one million accounts belonging to each men and women.
The application rates will only grow increasingly important as the number of remote jobs decrease. The number of remote job listings jumped to 20% during the pandemic and has since leveled out to 15%. However, HR managers, company executives and top recruiters say job aspirants, especially in senior roles, who set flexibility as a condition may diminish the possibility of getting hired in many organisations.
“Of late, more and more people want remote work, but we are having fewer and fewer remote jobs, and more and more companies are asking people to not only not have remote jobs, but to come back to the office. That disconnect might become a problem as our companies start to look at, if that persists, how do a company can retain or attract talent?’” said Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, Director (HR), Indian Oil Corporation.
There are career downsides to staying home. Some bosses are more likely to want workers in the office, and the phenomenon of “proximity bias” persists, where just being seen in the office can affect performance evaluations, promotions and job security, the research has found. A recent survey found that remote workers are more likely to be seen as lazy by their in-office colleagues.
“We are seeing a steady resumption of in-person attendance, and encouraging team meetings and huddles as well as other office activities. We are using smart scheduling of spaces as well as campus zoning to ensure social distancing and contact tracing. While our overall experience with remote work has been good, we believe that for optimal engagement and productivity, renewing and creating fresh social equity is essential; for which in person connect and activities help immensely,” Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President, Head HR, Infosys said.
Some companies, especially want permanent remote work. “We are also open to the idea of having a small part of our workforce fully remote based on the nature of the work,” Lobo added.
“For us, the focus is more on offering flexibility. It is about creating an environment where people are enabled to do their best work while being able to balance personal needs. When the goal is flexibility, hybrid, on-premises and remote are just some of the means to get there. We get job enquiries both remote and on-premises,” said Manmeet Sandhu, Head of HR at PhonePe.
Job seekers today still want the core elements of company and job research, but increasingly they want more sophistication and specialisation as well, Mahapatra added.
Remote work may be make-or-break when it comes to hiring a diverse team. Remote jobs can also widen the pool of where applicants are from, said a Delhi-based HR manager.