Hybrid versus office-based work and the impact on recruitment

Experienced HR Headhunter Rosie Jenkins looks at hybrid versus office-based work and how organisations’ approach to working patterns is impacting their ability to attract the best HR talent.

The global pandemic forced many people to work from home, including those who had never previously had the opportunity for a hybrid approach.

As the vaccine programme rolled out, and people began to return to work, hybrid became the ‘new normal’.

In fact, more than 8 in 10 workers who took part in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) who had to work from home during the pandemic said they would continue to work in a hybrid manner.

Since then, the proportion of people hybrid working has risen from 13% in early February 2022 to 24% in May 2022. 

During the same period, the percentage working exclusively from home fell from 22% to 14%.

The enforced shift to hybrid working had a number of recruitment benefits, such as:

  • A wider talent pool
  • Increased diversity of talent
  • Improved work/life balance
  • Decreased commuting and the positive environmental impacts

Organisations requiring HR professionals in the office full-time are going to lose out on the best talent.

Having spoken to many leading HR practitioners, an inflexible approach to hybrid working puts people off roles.

It is why, when we take on a new mandate at HR Heads, we strongly encourage hiring companies to consider what hybrid or flexible working means to them – so we can transparently present their role to candidates.

Data on remote and hybrid working shows:

  • Pre-pandemic, remote and hybrid working had been increasing gradually. Between January and December 2019, around 12% of the UK workforce had worked at least one day from home in the previous week and around 5% reported working mainly from home.
  • This increased substantially during the pandemic, to a peak of 49% in Great Britain working at least one day from home in June 2020; 11% of the workforce worked at least one day from home and 38% worked from home exclusively.
  • As pandemic restrictions lifted, these numbers have gradually decreased again, but remain higher than pre-pandemic numbers. In September 2022, 22% of the workforce had worked at least one day from home in the previous week and 13% worked from home exclusively. 

You can read more on the impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations here.

HR jobs naturally lend themselves to hybrid working patterns

HR is a highly specialist function, but the skills are incredibly transferrable.

Many of the leading HR professionals have experience in multiple sectors. 

HR expertise is a prerequisite for successfully landing a new role, but this expertise doesn’t need to extend to sector-specific knowledge.

Organisations without an HR team may be less aware of the trends around hybrid working and just how transferable HR professionals’ skills are, which is why, as a leading HR recruitment agency, the team at HR Heads is happy to advise without obligation.

A mass talent exodus will only make hiring HR professionals trickier

My Procurement Heads’ colleague James Dobbin shared a great post on LinkedIn recently that highlighted a Forbes post suggesting 41% of people are planning on moving jobs.

A recent CEO Outlook from KPMG showed that 62% of UK CEOs predict that over the next three years employees whose roles were traditionally office-based will be back in the workplace full-time.

A talent shortage coupled with a talent exodus means now is not the time to be gung-ho about forcing people back to the office full-time. 

The best talent will have a choice of roles – if your employee value proposition doesn’t stand up to your competitor’s, you are likely to miss out on the best hires.

The HR recruitment market in London is incredibly buoyant and organisations that want fully office-based will have a weaker proposition than those open to a hybrid approach.

In a tight HR talent market, standing out in the market to candidates can provide you with a marginal gain over your competitors.

If you are unsure about whether your salary, benefits package and workplace policy are competitive, I would be happy to provide you with advice on what other organisations are currently offering HR professionals in your sector.

Click here to get in contact with Rosie today.