As the tug of war between employers and employees over work arrangements keeps going, much of the attention has centered on employees’ desire for remote and hybrid work options. Surprisingly, a recent survey report from iHire found that, while close, workers preferred on-site jobs (36.3%) over remote (32.2%) and hybrid (31.5%) options.
Over the last few years, there have been hints that some employees prefer in-person work. Indeed found in June 2022 that candidate interest in in-person job listings had increased, with renewed interest in positions in food preparation and service, hospitality and tourism, and retail. Indeed, it was discovered that the likelihood of an occupational sector offering remote work no longer had a statistically significant relationship with job seeker interest.
As researchers continue to track workers’ preferences, it is becoming clear that age is a significant determinant of what work arrangement a candidate would prefer. Those who are new to the workforce, such as Generation Z, have reported negative effects from a lack of in-person work, particularly on collaboration and teamwork.
These data points are reflected in the findings of an iHire survey, which found that 43.6% of 18- to 30-year-olds preferred in-person work, 29.6% preferred hybrid work, and 25.4% preferred remote work. In contrast, a majority of those aged 31 to 50 preferred hybrid work, while a majority of those aged 51 and up preferred remote work.
While the age gap is significant, the wide range of preferences within each group may be equally important; preferences did not divide into perfect thirds, but there was no clear loser when it came to employee preference and work arrangement. Personality, work style, and job responsibilities may all play a role in preferences.
However, iHire discovered that for those who prefer some form of remote work arrangement, the option has become largely non-negotiable. More than four in ten respondents said “remote-work options” were on their list of the most important factors in their job search — and when forced to choose only one “most important” factor, 21% chose remote work. Furthermore, nearly 30% of respondents stated that they won’t consider applying for a job that doesn’t offer remote work option.
iHire’s survey gathered a wide range of research on job seekers’ habits and preferences, in addition to its findings on work arrangements. Other findings revealed that 44.7% of respondents would not apply for a job if salary information was not provided, and half always consider benefits information before accepting a job offer.
Candidates’ work arrangement preferences influence the job market by shaping employer offerings, influencing employee satisfaction and engagement, contributing to workforce diversity, and influencing employer branding. Companies that recognize and accommodate these preferences are more likely to attract and retain top talent, resulting in a stronger and more competitive job market position.