Remote work is more than just a trend. It’s a structural change, and it’s here to stay.


According to an analysis of job listings by The Adecco Group, the number of job ads that mention remote work opportunities have increased by 126% in over the period between May 2020 through April 2021, compared to the prior year.


The latest labour market analysis, Remote Work in Western Europe, was conducted by the Adecco Group’s digital data product Skill Predict on all online job offers published in six countries in Western Europe: Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.


The analysis found that by May 2021, remote work was referenced in 11.8% of all job ads. This is over double the proportion of job ads that refenced remote work in May 2020 (5.2%), and nearly quadruple the proportion of job ads that refenced work prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2019 (3.1%).


Our analysis has shown that flexible working solutions are not just a result of the pandemic. In fact, remote work had already begun to rise in popularity in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of 2019, 3.3% of job ads already included this notion versus 2.8% in January of the same year – meaning an increase of 28% over the year. The pandemic only accelerated a change already in effect.


As highlighted in the Adecco Group’s Resetting Normal study in 2020, employers and employees call for greater long-term flexibility and want a hybrid model between onsite work and remote work. However, flexible new way of working fits best with jobs that do not require a physical presence.


During the pandemic, companies of all sizes gravitated towards remote work to comply with lockdown measures and keep their employees safe. In May 2021, more than 40% of remote jobs ads originated from companies with fewer than 50 employees. Trends in growth of remote work were remarkably consistent across organizations of varying size.


Several industries have seen a big spike in remote job ads, according to our analysis. As a proportion of all jobs offered within a given industry, the percentage of job ads that reference remote work increased most substantially for jobs in the following industries:


  • Administration / Call centers: +306%
  • Utilities: +154%
  • Finance / insurance: +128%
  • Media/communication: +127%
  • IT: 110%
  • Business services: +110%


Professions with the most significant increase of remote jobs ads included book keepers (301%), call center employees (302%), administrative commercial assistant (237%), DevOps engineers (166%), and estate agents (150%).


While companies need a flexible workforce, the Adecco Group’s transformation survey showed that workers expect more security in their positions. In fact, 85% of workers who answered the survey think that their company should prioritize transparency by giving reassurances on job security.