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Coronavirus: The sectors with most remote-working job opportunities in the UK

Kalila Sangster
·4-min read
Young businesswoman sitting in cafe, using laptop and smartphone
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic interest in remote roles has skyrocketed. Photo: Getty

The IT sector has the most job opportunities for remote workers following the coronavirus lockdown, new research from job search engine Adzuna has found.

A third of all UK remote job openings are in IT, with 15,400 remote jobs on offer — representing just under a quarter (24%) of IT vacancies and one-third (33%) of overall remote opportunities.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, interest in remote roles has skyrocketed as people worked from home during lockdown and UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced that employees who can “work effectively from home should do so over the winter.” Searches for “remote” opportunities have risen over 680% compared with January 2020.

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However, the number of remote roles on offer has increased just 147% compared with a year ago, with 47,300 job advertisements stating they are for a remote role out of the 590,400 jobs on offer in the UK, meaning competition could be fierce.

The customer services sector has the greatest proportion of remote jobs out of all advertised roles with 33%of advertised roles for remote roles. Salaries for remote sales positions average £20,500 ($26,450) and include opportunities for virtual call centre assistants and market research experts.

Sales is the joint-third top hiring sector, advertising 3,400 remote roles. Available roles include experts who specialise in marketing and selling on online sites like Etsy, Facebook and Instagram, as online shopping has exploded in popularity since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The average salary on offer for remote sales roles is £34,400.

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Healthcare and nursing is also advertising 3,400 remote roles, driven by a rise in telephone consultations and remote health assessments, yet this makes up just 4.5% of total vacancies within the sector.

Office-based service industries are offering a low proportion of remote job openings. Just 14.9% of advertised openings in PR and marketing are remote according to the analysis, with just 1,500 remote roles available.

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Just 9.2% of accounting and finance positions are advertised as remote — 2,700 roles.

Nearly a third (30%) of part-time jobs are remote, with opportunities available for data entry clerks and virtual assistants, as companies hire contract and part-time staff to meet rising demand without committing to hiring full-time workers.

The companies hiring for the most remote workers currently include estate agency Spicerhaart, which has 373 jobs available, healthcare giant Bupa with 236 jobs, and payment company Mastercard (MA) with 117 jobs.

Companies are supporting the move to remote working by hiring for experts to help the transition. Facebook (FB) recently hired for a “remote work director,” social platform Quora was looking for a “head of remote work” and software firm GitLab, which has been fully remote since 2011, employing a “head of remote.”

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Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Remote working is here to stay, but remote job opportunities have a way to go to catch-up. Nine-in-10 job openings fail to specify if a role is remote and may be missing out on applications from cautious jobseekers nervous about returning to the office.

“IT is leading the charge, accounting for a third of overall remote job opportunities, helped by a sector full of early-adopters and technical pioneers. This reflects the wider trend of white-collar work moving online.

“But blue-collar job-hunters have far fewer remote opportunities to choose from. There is an inequality issue here and we must question whether enough is being done to protect lower-skilled, lower-paid workers forced to put themselves at risk to find work.

“It’s good to see companies prioritising the online transition and starting to hire remote specialists. Chief diversity officer has been one of the fastest growing roles so far this year. Head of remote working could be the new hot job title for 2021 and beyond.”