Remote-working jobs for developers might already be declining. That’s a big gamble for employers

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Image: Alistair Berg/Getty

Employers have been warned against reducing the number of developer posts they offer as remote-working jobs as data suggests fewer than one in five developer jobs now offer remote working as an option.

Research by developer recruitment platforms CoderPad and CodinGame found that 19% of the 82,222 developer jobs advertised in the UK in May gave the option of working remotely, compared to 23% of job posts 12 months ago.

Surprisingly, London had the lowest percentage of remote roles at 17%, despite having the highest number of developer jobs of any UK city (39,633).

Aude Barral, co-founder and CCO CodinGame, said the findings were surprising given the “exceptionally high demand” for tech workers and the similarly high demand for remote working amongst developers.

SEE: Remote work or back to the office? The calculation just shifted again

A survey by CodinGame and CoderPad in March 2022 found that 70% of developers would like to work remotely if given the opportunity. A January report by developer-hiring platform Terminal contained similar findings, with 75% of software engineers surveyed saying they want to work remotely at least three days a week.

“We’d have expected to see a higher proportion of tech roles offering remote working, compared to 12 months ago,” said Barral.

“Companies face intense competition when it comes to attracting the very best tech talent, and offering remote working not only resonates with candidates, it also enables businesses to tap into a wider talent pool.”

One explanation for the apparent slowdown in remote-working roles is companies nudging employees back to the office.

With the pandemic now receding, some companies have been vocal in their wishes to see workers back at their desks rank-and-file, including Apple and most recently, Tesla and Space-X CEO, Elon Musk.

Google had also asked employees to return to the office where they could, although CNET reports that the software company softened its mandate after some workers threatened strike action.

SEE: Want flexible working or better benefits? Here’s how to negotiate with your boss

Google told staff back in August 2021 that those who wished to do so could continue to work remotely full-time, but would face salary adjustments depending on where they lived.

Another explanation is that companies are beginning to slow their hiring activity following a period of frenzied recruitment efforts in 2021. Now that organizations are seeing something of a return to business as usual, employers may be reining in budgets for hiring.

Barral said remote working remained a powerful tool for recruiters, particularly for smaller businesses and companies situated outside of major UK tech hubs such as London, Manchester and Bristol, who “may struggle to hire from a limited pool of tech talent on their doorstep”.

Barral added: “Offering remote working opens up opportunities to recruit globally and build a tech team based away from the office.”

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