New figures indicate a significant decline in remote and hybrid jobs as employers increasingly mandate a return to the office.

Research from CMD Recruitment reveals that only 14 percent of employees worked remotely in June 2024, a steep drop from 38 percent in June 2020, based on data from the Office of National Statistics.

The study further disclosed that 90 percent of employers plan to enforce office return policies this year, with over half having already implemented these mandates.

Dan Barfoot, Operations Manager at CMD Recruitment, attributes this shift to employers’ efforts to enhance workplace efficiency and foster better team collaboration and cognitive engagement.

“There’s a definite change in the landscape regarding remote work. Companies are pushing for a return to the office, reducing previously available remote or hybrid options,” Barfoot said. He emphasised that companies are finding it challenging to maintain collaborative teamwork remotely and that monitoring performance is easier in an on-site environment.

Lifestyle changes

Barfoot also noted that lifestyle changes among employees, who adapted to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, pose additional challenges for employers now enforcing a return to the office. This has led to a mismatch between candidate expectations and job requirements.

LinkedIn data from January 2024 highlights this shift, showing twice as many applications for remote roles compared to the number of available remote positions. Additionally, only 9 percent of job postings last month were fully remote, a 23 percent decline from the previous year.

CMD Recruitment, a leading agency in the South West, reports that the upcoming election is causing uncertainty, prompting businesses to adopt a cautious approach to recruitment. The firm has also seen a rise in candidates facing redundancy, particularly in HR, marketing, and internal talent roles, as companies manage costs.

The manufacturing sector in the South West presents a mixed picture, with some companies thriving while others face slowdowns, leading to restructuring and potential redundancies. Meanwhile, demand for talent in tech, sales, and engineering sectors remains high, driving significant salary increases, sometimes exceeding 20 percent, due to a talent shortage.

“No magic solution”

“Recruitment is tough at the moment, and there is no magic solution,” Barfoot acknowledged. He encourages businesses to engage in strategic discussions with CMD Recruitment to navigate these challenges and fill crucial roles effectively.

CMD Recruitment continues to support businesses in finding the right talent, emphasising the long-term costs of unfilled positions. For more information and to explore potential solutions, businesses are invited to contact CMD Recruitment for a no-obligation discussion.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.