A new study called “Disclosing Work-From-Home Flexibility to Compete for Talent? Evidence from Job Postings”, analyzed the pros and cons of offering flexible work.
Researchers analyzed more than 14 million job postings from 1,837 publicly traded companies between 2016 to 2021.
They found that companies strategically include work-from-home flexibility in their job ads when labor markets are tight, leading to greater hiring efficiency and employee satisfaction.
However, companies advertising remote work in their job ads also experience reduced labor productivity and lower stock returns.
While offering remote work options eases the hiring process, employees who were attracted by this may be reluctant to return to the office in the long run.
To perform their analyses, the research team looked at the text of millions of job postings made by public companies to see how likely they were to highlight that the role was eligible for remote work.
Job postings offering a remote work arrangement were very low in 2016, at roughly 2%. By 2021, the percentage had risen to approximately 8% of all ads and as high as 14% for positions where this arrangement is more feasible, like accounting.
They found occupations with the highest percentages of remote work ads are legal, educational instruction, and community and social service.
Occupations with the lowest percentage of ads offering workplace flexibility are food preparation and serving, transportation and material moving, and building and grounds maintenance.
One of the authors notes that “When the pandemic began, the pendulum swung very quickly from working from home being a taboo subject to it being widely adopted and praised. Now, we are seeing the pendulum swing in the opposite direction as more employers require their employees to return to an office setting.”