Ireland Ahead of the US and Major European Countries on Remote Working Opportunities

The popularity of remote work and the willingness of many employers to continue to offer it post-pandemic remains at or near peak levels in Ireland and in Europe’s largest economies, new data from Indeed has found.

An analysis of job postings in 13 European countries, including the largest economies, shows Ireland is among the leaders when it comes to posts offering some form of remote or hybrid work. As of the end of January of this year, a total of 15.4% of Irish job postings contained one or both terms, ranking the country ahead of Germany (14.9%), Switzerland (10.5%) and France (9.6%).

Of the countries examined by the hiring platform, Poland featured the highest proportion of remote ads (21.6%), followed by Spain (18.7%), Austria (18.1%) and the UK (16.1%).

The share percentage for Ireland is down slightly from a peak of 18.4% recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2021, but it is above the 14.7% average recorded since the start of 2021 and well above the average of 11.0% since the start of 2019.

While a number of large and high-profile companies have sought to restrict or reduce remote working arrangements, the proportion of job postings offering such flexibility has remained strong across most job categories. Some countries including Ireland and also the US have seen dips in the overall share of remote or hybrid postings, but compositional shifts have played a large role in this as there has been a sharp slowdown in technology jobs globally — a sector that typically involves a large share of roles which can be done remotely.

The share of remote or hybrid Irish jobs was just 2.7% at the end of January 2019 and 3.7% in January 2020 before jumping to 14.5% in January 2021 during the pandemic. It was 14.9% at the end of January 2022 and 15.7% in January 2023.

Job postings are considered to involve remote work if the job title or description includes terms such as “remote work,” “telecommute,” “work from home,” “hybrid,” or similar language or if the location is explicitly listed as remote. These postings include both permanent and temporarily remote jobs, though employers often don’t specify.

As of the end of January of this year, Spain has the highest share of remote or hybrid job postings among the six largest European economies. Italy has the lowest at 8.6%, slightly down from a 2021 peak of 10%.

There is a slight decline in remote or hybrid job postings in the US, with the share of such ads down from 9.8% at the beginning of 2022 to 8.6% as of the end of January.

The research also shows the proportion of searches for remote/hybrid work is at or near historically high levels in most countries, a reliable signal of sustained jobseeker interest in remote work.

In general, specific searches for remote or hybrid work account for a low proportion of all job searches as people are far more likely to search for a particular type of job. However, it remains significant that the proportion of searches involving remote or hybrid work remains consistent and higher than pre-pandemic levels.

In Ireland, such searches accounted for 2.5% of all searches at the end of January of this year. This is above the average of 1.6% since the start of 2019 and just below the peak of 2.8% in August of last year.

A similar pattern is recorded in other countries with a lower proportion of searches for remote or hybrid work in countries where there are a lower proportion of such postings.

A breakdown of the Irish data reveals the top 20 job categories that account for the highest proportion of ads offering remote or hybrid work opportunities.

A total of 40.2% of software development ads offer remote or hybrid working with IT operations & helpdesk (39.8%), mathematics (38.5%), media & communications (36.8%) and arts & entertainment (35%) making up the top 5. Banking & finance, civil engineering, marketing, insurance and legal make up the top 10.

Commenting on the findings, Jack Kennedy, senior economist at Indeed, said: “Remote or hybrid working became a more standard practice during the pandemic. It was a necessary adjustment for many organisations and allowed them to continue to function when restrictions applied. There was doubt among some as to whether it would remain in place post-pandemic, but our findings show it is still a significant part of modern labour markets. It has been tried and tested and it is clear that it is something employees want and employers are offering either by choice or by necessity.

While some employers have found remote or hybrid working an effective way to offer more flexibility to staff without compromising output, others have expressed dissatisfaction with the organisational and managerial challenges it creates.

In a tight labour market, however, many employers believe that it can help attract the right talent for the right roles in industries and job categories where it is possible to offer it. Irish employees faced with a high cost of living and housing clearly value the flexibility of remote or hybrid work if their chosen role allows it. Some may also be intentionally choosing certain types of jobs over others in order to avoid having to return to the workplace full-time.

Comparing international figures shows Ireland continues to have a high share of job ads offering remote or hybrid work and a steady proportion of searches for such jobs. There are many factors behind this including the well-documented difficulties in recruiting staff at a time of low unemployment and the strength of sectors that can accommodate such arrangements including IT, banking & finance, legal and accounting.

Such a high level of remote or hybrid working has all sorts of implications and knock-on impacts, which we are beginning to realise. City centres, for example, are experiencing a reduction in footfall that has affected service businesses while companies are assessing their office needs. Certain sectors such as hospitality, retail and construction, which involve people having to be at a physical workplace are also struggling to recruit. As a result, data on the prevalence of remote working and the likelihood of it remaining a feature of labour markets, is of immense value to many including organisations, policy makers, planners and providers of public services.”