The tech industry has done its best to adjust to remote work. At the onset of the pandemic, companies everywhere breezily predicted that they would remain all-remote forever. Three years later, many of those same companies are doing their best to pull tech professionals back to the office for at least a few days per week.
But how do tech professionals feel about remote work, and how do those feelings impact their choice of employers? According to Dice’s latest sentiment analysis of the tech industry, 73 percent of surveyed tech professionals said it is “extremely” or “very” important that their next role includes the option to work remotely at least three days a week:
Our data shows that younger and more experienced tech professionals especially prize hybrid work, which gives them the opportunity for in-person collaboration and mentorship. Tech professionals aged 25-44 are significantly more likely than those aged 45+ to prefer working in an office 100 percent of the time; tech professionals with 0-3 years of experience or are more likely than tech professionals with 4-10 years of experience to prefer hybrid work.
Meanwhile, tech professionals who are mid-career appreciate the comforts and conveniences of working from home… and that’s not the only perceived benefit:
But even with the rise of flexible schedules, our research has found notable gaps between employer remote work policies and tech professionals’ expectations. In recent quarters, many companies have abruptly pushed tech professionals to return to the office, throwing expectations (and schedules) into chaos. Amidst this return-to-office trend, tech professionals want a more collaborative approach to scheduling remote and hybrid work, and they expect continued flexibility from their managers.
How Remote and Flexible Work Varies by Age Group
While there are nuances, tech professionals’ preference for remote and flexible work shows up across the board, regardless of age group. Roughly three-quarters of tech professionals said the opportunity for remote work is “very” or “extremely” important, and six in 10 of all of the tech professionals we surveyed preferred five days of remote work per week. In addition, more than half of tech professionals disagree with the idea that having a significant number of employees working remotely is a detriment to their company’s culture.
But when it comes to feelings about remote and flexible work among groups of different ages and experience, there are key distinctions. These distinctions largely align with the differing career and life priorities between age groups—for instance, whether a tech professional is early in their career or a seasoned member juggling family responsibilities at home.
As mentioned earlier, there was a greater preference among younger tech professionals (25-44 years old) for hybrid work because of the collaboration and mentoring opportunities afforded by working in-person. Moreover, tech professionals with three year or less of experience were more likely to cite “harder to develop or maintain working relationships with colleagues” as a shortcoming of remote work than those with 4-10 years of tech experience. Lacking in-person proximity may constrain opportunities for the growth and learning that occur between senior members and newer professionals.
When you factor in the hunger that newer tech professionals have for in-person community and career development experiences, it’s no wonder only 39 percent of the 25-34-year-old tech professionals we surveyed reported working 100 precent remotely compared to the 61 percent of 45-54 year old professionals. And when you look at tech professionals based on their years of experience, you’ll see those with three or fewer years of experience were the least likely (35 percent) to say they work remotely all week.
On the flip side, older and more experienced tech professionals are more keen on remote work. Fifty-one percent of all tech professionals we surveyed said it was extremely important that their next role or organization have the opportunity to work remotely at least three days a week. This preference was the most pronounced for respondents between 45 and 54 years old, and with four to 10 years of experience (58 percent for both). This suggests that older and more experienced tech professionals may place a higher priority on flexibility due to family responsibilities (unique to their stage in life) that are easier to navigate when working from home.
Current Return-to-Office Trends
Although 6 in 10 of the tech professionals we surveyed reported being very satisfied with their current remote working status, organizations are doing the utmost to entice their employees to return to the office more often (if they aren’t already mandating it). Almost half of HR professional respondents said their organizations were offering flexible working hours (48 percent) and social activities with co-workers (44 percent) as incentives. Over a third of HR professionals reported offering increased pay (37 percent) and more than a quarter said volunteer activities during workdays (28 percent) were offered.
If you’re a tech professional who’s interested in flexible and remote work, always keep in mind that you have some room to negotiate over not only your schedule, but also your perks. For example, if your manager wants you back in the office more often, see if they’re willing to offer incentives such as a commuter stipend or even a big-ticket item such as additional training. Companies might be increasingly ambivalent about remote work, but the practice is here to stay; use that to your advantage.