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Flexible Job Market Booms Despite RTO Demands

The latest Flexible Working Index, a report that analyzes data across the flexible jobs market to track the biggest work trends, shows that the flexible jobs market is growing despite return-to-office (RTO) mandates ramping up, with 62% more flexible jobs being advertised compared to this time last year.  

The findings come as the balance of power swings back to employers across the labor market. Amid shrinking wages and job vacancies, many employers are pulling back on flexible work. Dell, Boots, and IBM are among the companies recently moving to penalize or restrict remote work. The Index uses data from Flexa, the platform where flexible companies get discovered.  

While vacancies shrink across the labor market, Flexa records 32% more flexible job posts this quarter compared to last quarter. And despite wider RTO mandates, remote-first roles account for a significant proportion of the jobs being advertised. Flexa data shows that almost one-third (31%) of all roles being offered are remote-first.  

This is even though the number of remote-first roles has declined by 26% since the start of the year.  

Even amid RTO mandates, job seekers are holding out for remote working options. Over the last quarter, half of workers were searching for fully remote roles, on average. Fully remote job searches have risen by 11% from January to March. Workers are willing to let more novel forms of location-based flexibility slide, with 27% fewer workers searching for “work from anywhere” jobs.  

Enhanced parental leave is another flexible working benefit that job seekers are not willing to give up in today’s tight labor market. More workers express a preference for enhanced parental leave in March than in any other month over the last year.  

“The employer-led labor market and RTO-era is shining a light on what employees really want,” says Molly Johnson-Jones, co-founder and CEO of Flexa. “And while many are willing to let more novel forms of flexibility slide, job seekers’ non-negotiable criteria for new roles is telling. Employees are right to hold out for core flexible working benefits (like fully remote and remote-first roles, and enhanced parental leave) that they won’t compromise on. The alternative risks employers and employees losing out if individuals find themselves in roles that don’t offer the working environments they need to be happy and productive.”  

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