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Home workers less likely to be promoted: ONS data

New research into home-working trends from the Office for National Statistics reveals that those mainly working from home were 38% less likely to receive a bonus and less than half as likely to be promoted than other workers who never worked from home.

The ONS research, which analysed home-working in the UK between 2011 and 2020 - including the impact of the COVID-19) pandemic – explored indicators of productivity and work success such as pay, hours worked, bonuses, and promotions with industry, region and demographic breakdowns.

It found that at people who worked from home did six hours of unpaid overtime on average per week in 2020, compared with 3.6 hours for those that never work from home, and homeworkers were more likely to work in the evenings. It also found that the sickness absence rate for home workers was 0.9% on average in 2020, compared with 2.2% for those who never worked from home in their main job.

“We’ve experienced a work revolution through the pandemic,” said Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group. Millions of people have welcomed the flexibility that comes with remote working... But looking forward, there’s no doubt the future is hybrid. We’re going to see a flexible mix of remote working and time spent in the office. Done well, this can represent the best of both worlds for individuals and employers alike: a new deal.”

A recent Technology & Talent Study from Harvey Nash found that over three quarters of tech workers based in the UK want to continue to work from home 3-5 days a week. It also found that a third of tech workers would consider roles based further away than they would have previously looked at and a rise in the number of clients’ specifying remote-first roles that are location agnostic.

However, in the tech sector, there has been a 75% increase in the number of people who are concerned about their mental health. “This is why we need hybrid models,” added Bev White. “For many people, it’s not sustainable to work remotely indefinitely. Businesses want and need to see their staff too. We will continue to need offices – but probably less so than before and on a more flexible basis where the emphasis is on utilising space for collaboration, interaction and ideas generation, rather than old-style banks of desks, cubicles and work stations.”

Unemployment Update

The latest ONS labour market figures published today indicate that the jobs market has stabilised in recent months with an estimated 607,000 job vacancies, which is a 22.7% fall compared with a year ago.

The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 4.9%, 0.9 percentage points higher than a year earlier but 0.1 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.

“The number of temporary workers was up by 5.4% on the previous quarter - yet again demonstrating the huge importance of temporary work helping to maintain a strong labour market despite the pandemic,” said REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry. “The role of temporary work in supporting incomes has been a constant of the pandemic. We now need to look to how we support this recovery. A reform of the apprenticeship levy to support retraining for older workers  and opportunity for younger workers - who have been particularly hard hit - is now essential.”

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