Almost half (41%) of workers were searching for remote-first jobs, where there is no obligation to come into the office.
Yet the number of remote-first jobs on offer fell by 22% between July and September 2023.
Employee expectations have shifted dramatically since the pandemic, according to Jess Lancashire, CEO of flexible working consultancy From Another.
She told HR magazine: “It's understandable why job seekers and employers may feel at odds right now. Each side has valid needs, but the rapid shift to remote work has led to differing expectations.
“Employees expect more autonomy now that working remotely has become normalised. However, not all employers have fully grasped the new skills needed to oversee hybrid or remote teams effectively.
“This can lead them to try enforcing old policies around set hours and office presence.”
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However, employers cannot afford to lose out on candidates who prefer flexible working, according to Claire Campbell, consultancy co-director at flexible working advisory Timewise.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “We know from CIPD data that four million people are walking away from jobs that don’t offer enough flexibility.
“You would think that this would inspire more employers to offer flexible working at the point when a job is advertised – it’s the ultimate recruitment tool. Yet old hiring habits die hard.”
She added that employers and candidates should be more open about whether they are able to offer or want flexible working.
“At the moment, employers and candidates are both understandably confused. Employers are often offering remote working to their current employees but fall shy of including this in a job advert, in case they change their hybrid approach in the future.
“Candidates who would like flexibility are afraid to raise the question in case it is held against them and will often choose not to apply. And so we reach an impasse.”
Job adverts for roles offer one or two work from home days a week doubled to 21%, but just 6% are looking for them.
The research also found the percentage of jobs advertised as work from home three or four days per week fell from 46% in July 2023 to 35% in September.
Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO of Flexa, said employers are losing out on applicants by not advertising the flexibility they do have properly.
She said: “A huge majority of companies still offer some degree of location-based flexibility.
“Many employers undersell their offering by thinking that they can only lay claim to location-based flexibility if their staff work from home year-round.
“This risks companies losing out on tons of talent that would rather have the option to use office space some of the time, and work from home on other days, an arrangement that arguably offers staff the most choice of all.”
Flexa analysed 360,000 job searches and over 2,200 job adverts between July and September 2023.