A significant increase in remote and hybrid working roles is helping to drive new opportunities across the UK, according to data aggregated by recruitment platform Indeed in collaboration with Zoom.
Using its own recruitment data, Indeed has worked with Zoom to identify the locations across the country that have seen the most significant growth in remote and hybrid job opportunities, analysing the difference in postings between February 2020, prior to the pandemic, and March 2022, when most restrictions had been lifted.
In each of the top 25 locations, job adverts that offer candidates the flexibility to work remotely have more than tripled and grown at a faster pace than the local jobs market overall – indicating that the rise in remote roles over the last two years has driven up opportunity in each area.
Worthing, near Brighton, ranks first with a 650% increase in remote roles and a 50% increase in total jobs available compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is followed by Burnley, Stoke, Southend and Dundee, all of which today have more than four times as many remote roles on offer compared to before the pandemic. The findings have been brought to life with a map visualisation from location specialist HERE Technologies.
Ten of the locations on the list are situated in so-called ‘Red Wall’ areas, demonstrating a link between greater flexibility and the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda which aims to spread opportunity and prosperity more evenly across the nation as it navigates the post-pandemic recovery. Only three are located in London or the South East – regions traditionally associated with greater economic activity.
The new data comes as part of a wider report launched by Zoom1 on how the UK can strive to become a pioneer in hybrid work, which calls on the Government to take a number of steps to help capitalise on this economic opportunity. Zoom will be discussing the report’s findings on a panel with Small Business Minister Paul Scully organised by Westminster think tank Onward on the 6 June.
“The UK has the potential to be a global leader in hybrid working, and Indeed’s data shows how greater access to remote roles is already helping to drive growth in overall opportunities across the country,” comments Phil Perry, Head of UK & EMEA North at Zoom.
“During the pandemic, adoption of video conferencing tools like Zoom by SMEs was higher in the UK than in any other G7 country, and we are now beginning to see how greater availability of hybrid roles is expanding opportunity in areas outside of London and the South East. This underlines the vital role hybrid technologies can play in levelling up the country, and getting the conditions right now will help the UK reap long-term economic benefits.”
“The increased availability of remote and hybrid options across the UK is a boon for workers, giving them much greater choice over where they live and work,” says Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at Indeed. “It’s particularly important for those who want or need flexibility to accommodate their commitments outside of work. Employers benefit in being able to widen geographic access to talent and accommodate workers who would otherwise face barriers, which is especially valuable in a tight labour market. Moreover, being able to offer employees better work-life balance means organisations can reap the benefits of a happier and more productive workforce.”
The rise of Zoom Towns
While cities have seen an increase in the share of jobs that offer remote options, such as Manchester with a 291% rise compared to pre-pandemic levels, these benefits are also being felt in towns such as Warrington, Northampton and Birkenhead, where there are now more potential opportunities for people to stay local and work remotely or on a hybrid basis.
As well as providing potential for local growth, increased job opportunities across the country are leading to the emerging trend of ‘Zoom Towns’ – a phrase coined during the pandemic that describes new regional economic activity as workers moved away from traditional city hubs. This has the potential to help drive the regeneration of both rural and suburban areas, particularly those which were previously commuter towns that may have rarely seen high street visitors during the day.
Earlier this month, the city of Hull launched ‘Work Hull: Work Happy’, its project “to help put Hull on the map as the co-working capital of the UK,” according to Emma Hardy, MP Hull West and Hesse. While Hull currently ranks outside of the top 25 remote hiring hotspots, the city has still seen a 184% increase in remote roles, and the new initiative aims to increase this even more by pioneering co-working spaces to help breathe life into the local economy.
To build on this, Zoom is now calling on the Government to support a network of local working hubs across the UK that will give workers the option of a third location to work from – beyond the office or home – rooted in their community. This would help minimise the need for employees to commute daily out of their community and incentivise them to visit their local town centre during the day, helping to revitalise the high street. A similar scheme is already running in 200 locations across Ireland, whilst a pilot is underway in Wales.
Rosie Freshwater is co-founder of RUME2, a co-working, meeting and event space in Chichester that has seen a three-fold increase in revenue from the start of the pandemic to February 2022, with membership numbers growing from 250 to around 792.
“RUME2 was borne out of the need to provide a space where people could escape from their home offices and work flexibly – something that has proven to be invaluable over the past two years,” she says. “Chichester born and bred, my co-founder and I were passionate about rejuvenating the traditional market town and supporting those who were able to work locally, as the requirements for many to commute into the city every day had changed. While the pandemic hit us hard at times, we have seen a huge increase in demand for our services from one-man bands seeking a new place to work or multiple people from a large organisation who have downsized their office space. It also provides the community with a space to host workshops and talks that aim to inspire action, encourage innovation and ultimately bring the community together.”
Top 25 Remote Hiring Hotspots2
|Town/City||Region||Growth in job postings offering remote working (Feb 20-March 22)||Rank||Change in all job postings (Feb 20-March 22)|
|Southend||East of England||320%||4||16%|
|Leeds||Yorkshire & Humber||289%||10||39%|
|Ipswich||East of England||282%||12||66%|
|Sheffield||Yorkshire & Humber||217%||25||50%|