News Article

Remote And Hybrid Workplaces Are Hiring People Twice As Fast As Full-Time Office Employers: Report

Posted 25th July 2023 • Written by Jena McGregor •

Many bosses seem convinced that remote work is hampering productivity. But companies with remote or hybrid policies appear to be hiring people at about twice the rate of employers that are fully in office, according to a new analysis.

Over the last three months, the analysis found, companies where the remote work policy is “fully flexible,” allowing full-time remote work or choice about how much workers come to the office, grew headcount by 1.9% on average, compared with companies that mandate full-time in-office work. Those with “structured hybrid” policies—the most common arrangement, where workers come into the office between one and four days a week—grew by 1.5%, while employers that were fully in-office grew headcount by just 0.8%.

Over the last 12 months, there was a similar gap, with fully flexible companies growing headcount by 5.6%, hybrid companies growing by 4.1% and full time in-office growing by 2.6%, according to the report.

“The job market has been surprisingly resilient, and I was really curious to understand: is there anything to be found in where the growth is?” says Robert Sadow, cofounder and CEO of Scoop, a hybrid work management software company behind the report. “When we looked at headcount increase over the last 12 months, fully flexible and ‘structured hybrid’ [employers] were outperforming fully in office companies at least in terms of a percentage of headcount.”

Sadow’s team at Scoop combined data from its quarterly Flex Index, which catalogs the flexible work policies of some 4,500 companies, with data from PeopleDataLabs about individual companies’ headcount growth. That data draws from hundreds of public and private sources such as applicant tracking systems or other publicly available data to collect individuals’ start or end dates at an employer, and then aggregates that information at the company level to track headcount growth.

One possibility, Sadow surmised, might be that nimble, fast-growing tech start-ups that are fully remote or require minimum in-office attendance could be driving the differences. But when he and his team cut the data by company size, he found a similar trend across size groupings.

The difference between fully flexible and hybrid groups diminished, becoming more similar. But across all size groupings, they still consistently outpaced the full-time in-office companies, no matter if the company was a small start-up or a large enterprise with more than 5,000 employees.

“In every single group, full-time in-office is lagging behind adding headcount,” Sadow says. “To me, this is pretty eye opening. It would seem like companies that are flexible are having an easier time hiring headcount.”

Removing tech firms, which have been active in cutting jobs over the past year, and have work that is particularly fitting for remote jobs, also did not change the trend. For all non-tech companies in the sample, companies that are fully flexible or have hybrid set-ups grew headcount at least 0.5% faster than full-time in-office firms, across company sizes.

“Adding headcount isn’t a perfect proxy of whether a company Is doing well, but growth in the economy tends to follow where the heads are getting added,” says Sadow. “The companies requiring fewer days in the office are doing better, it looks like,” at least when it comes to hiring.

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