Responding to the demand for flexibility: a key to recruiting talent

Although remote work experienced a boom during the pandemic, it lost popularity last year. The latest job market report by InfoJobs and Esade analyzes the trend of working from home in Spain.

Do Better Team

After the organizational challenges that COVID-19 posed for companies, 2022 was the year that many areas of life returned to pre-pandemic normalcy. This trend was also observed in remote work, which went from being an option for 31% of workers in Spain in 2021 to 21% in 2022.  

Despite this downturn, remote work is here to stay.  

What we’re seeing is a dual reality. While it’s true that remote work is less popular than it was in times of COVID, it’s also true that it’s already a consolidated practice in many companies. Two out of three (66%) companies report that they offer the option to work from home. Of these, 60% confirm their intention to maintain this option in some form over the long term.  

This is one of the conclusions about the evolution of remote work drawn from the 2022 Report on the State of the Job Market in Spain by InfoJobs and Esade.  

Fewer remote workers, but more job openings 

While the rate of employees who work from home has dropped significantly, the number of offers posted on InfoJobs that include the option to work from home has skyrocketed. Specifically, it has gone from 15,711 in 2018 to 727,649 in 2022.  

If we break this figure down by sectors, commercial and sales (390,277 vacancies), IT and telecommunications (133,862), and customer service (59,405) stand out with the most remote work positions. In contrast, the pharmaceutical sector, graphic arts and design, public administration, and arts and crafts offer the fewest.  

70% of employees want to work from home  

The mismatch between the relative importance of remote work on the job market and its prominence in new job offers reveals a change in mentality among new job applicants.  

According to Carlos Cortés, academic collaborator at the Esade Institute for Social Innovation and author of the study Hybrid workspaces: leadership and team management, the two most recurring needs of employees are flexibility in the workplace and emotional well-being. The demand for flexibility is increasing, among both companies and job seekers.  

The report by InfoJobs and Esade also underscores that seven out of 10 employees would prefer to work from home, while only one in three would rather work on-site. 

Seven out of 10 employees would prefer to work from home, under any model

The hybrid model, the most coveted 

The preferred option among the workforce is a hybrid model, or working from home some days and from the office on other days. This system was the top choice of 54% of respondents. On the other hand, 32% of active workers opted for a fully in-person model, and 14% for a completely remote option.  

In the InfoJobs and Esade study, there are clear generational differences: older respondents lean towards working at the office, while employees in the mid-age range prefer remote work in any of its forms.  

There are two explanations for this difference in criteria: one, there’s the digital divide; and two, workers in the 35-55 age group require a good work-life balance as they often have small children and dependents to care for.  

The youngest group prefers hybrid models as they value both flexibility and the socialization that in-person work provides.  

Clashing expectations 

Although the hybrid model is the top choice for 54% of workers, only 15% of them get to enjoy it. The gap here between the expectations of employees and the mentality of managers becomes evident. 

54% of workers would prefer the hybrid model but only 15% of them get to enjoy it

According to Carlos Cortés, “65% of management positions want to return to the face-to-face model, while 70% of their employees prefer to continue working from home, especially under a hybrid model.” Cortés believes this divide needs to be narrowed “if companies want to continue recruiting and retaining talent” in the coming years. 

Pros and cons of remote work 

When consulted on the matter of productivity, 40% of the employed population reported believing that it suffers very little under the hybrid model. Moreover, among the benefits attributed to working from home, reduced commute time, and improved work-life balance both stand out.  

On the flip side, some of the drawbacks include increased expenses not covered by the company and the psychological problems resulting from stress and emotional disengagement with the company, although these issues are less frequently mentioned than in 2021.  

Mobility and occasional nomadism 

One of the major appeals to job seekers is mobility, which implies being able to work not just from home, but also from a second residence or a rural environment.  

In 2022, there was a growing trend of mobility among remote workers. Of these workers, 71% always worked from home in 2021. This figure dropped to 64% in 2022.  

The job offers published on InfoJobs that include some form of remote work are mainly located in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Alicante, and Seville.  

Companies in rural settings use remote work to surpass large cities in talent recruitment

We’re now starting to make out changes. Some companies located in rural settings with a nice climate already offer remote work as a competitive advantage over companies in large cities to recruit talent. The growth of remote positions — in relative figures — is much more solid in Alicante, Malaga, and Valencia than in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. 

All written content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.