Job portal CareerJunction has released its Employment Outlook for February 2022, revealing current trends in remote working in South Africa.
“In the wake of Covid-19, remote work opportunities have become the new normal globally,” CareerJunction said.
The careers specialist pointed out that companies are looking to employ people remotely to save on office overhead and increase the attractiveness of work for their organizations. The Career Junction Employment Insights report offers an analysis of supply and demand trends in the online labor market and depicts the dynamics of online work in South Africa.
The report is based on data collected from more than 5,000 of the country’s top recruitment agencies and employers – collated by Saongroup South Africa.
CareerJunction showed that 2% of job vacancies in South Africa across the country are full-time work-from-home options.
“The freedom to work remotely improves work-life balance for many employees by reducing commutes and allowing more time for household chores or a lunchtime gym session,” said Career Junction.
The trend towards remote working can be seen by companies such as the multinational information technology consulting and services company Accenture, which is preparing to make hybrid working and working from home a permanent feature in South Africa. South.
“As we look to the future, we believe that working will now be predominantly remote and that flexibility will be a key driver. We aim to ensure that our employees maintain a balanced work and home life to support our customers. said Accenture.
According to CareerJunction, compared to January 2020, in South Africa there are 46 times more vacancies with the possibility of working from home.
The following sectors offer further employment opportunities:
- Computer science
- Business and management
- Admin, office and support
Comparing hiring activity over the past three years, CareerJunction found that the information technology sector appears to have recovered from the slowdown in hiring activity due to Covid-19.
Evolution of vacancies over time
At the start of 2022, the information technology, finance, business and management sectors all appear to be at a point where there are more vacancies than the previous year.
Office spaces forced to adapt as employees avoid 9 to 5 in South Africa
Commercial real estate groups specializing in corporate offices, hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and two years of lockdown, are changing their business models to focus on the growing need for flexible workspaces.
With the Covid-19 pandemic now entering an endemic phase and only a few lockdown restrictions remaining in place, experts believe many South Africans will start returning to offices across the country.
However, they say things will never be the same again, with many companies considering hybrid working models – or some allowing permanent working from home.
Major telecom companies like MTN and banks like Standard Bank are adopting permanent hybrid work-from-home policies, while other groups like Nedbank are allowing employees to work from home permanently.
Several surveys have shown that most employees do not want to return to normal (pre-Covid) office hours and are willing to quit their jobs to avoid it.
This is a reality for which real estate groups are already preparing, Growthpoint Properties and Attacq mentioning these trends in their interim results.
Both groups have been hit by the pandemic, with vacancy rates rising and rental income falling for businesses forced to close over the past two years. While they report that things are changing and people are returning to work, with that comes a move towards smaller workspaces, reduced staffing and tougher rent negotiations.
In its presentation of results for the six months ended December 2021, commercial real estate group Growthpoint noted a significant increase in vacancies during the period, driven by the Covid pandemic and companies adopting work-from-home policies.
Vacancy rates climbed to 21.2% over the period, concentrated in specific Gauteng nodes, spread across several buildings. Sandton, which makes up 21% of the group’s GLA portfolio, has seen up to 26% vacancy.
This has hit renewals hard, Growthpoint said, as tenants continue to negotiate lower increases while consolidating operations, downsizing and reducing staff to cut costs.
However, contrary to many stories that working from home is becoming the norm, Growthpoint noted that vacancies appear to be leveling off. The group sees an increase in inquiries, with more and more tenants looking to return to the office.
“Working from home is proving unsustainable in the long term and tenants are returning to the office with flexible arrangements,” he said. “Tenants are focusing more on sustainable and efficient buildings and trading for better quality.”
Attaq observes a similar trend. The group said a shift among tenants and customers had forced it to reassess its business in the real estate sector. This has led to the increased adoption of “flexible” workspaces within its portfolio.
“Trends such as online shopping, working from home and hybrid work models have really pushed us to think differently about how we interact within the real estate industry, particularly in our developments and how we serve customers. customers in these safe and connected spaces”, it said.
This has led to the emergence of “collaboration centers” in the office space sector. These hubs focus on space optimisation, convenience and space as a service – and are a concept that was in the works before Covid-19.
“However, the global pandemic accelerated their relevance as clients sought flexible solutions for both space requirements and leases. This innovation enabled Attacq to improve office utilization rates towards the end of the previous calendar year, especially as companies began to implement return-to-work policies and working models. hybrids,” he said.
Although collaboration hubs are becoming more prolific, occupancy rates have remained relatively low at 82.7% (a vacancy rate of 17.3%).
Attacq recently announced its partnership with IWG (Regus and SPACES in South Africa) to collectively expand its service offerings, addressing the varied needs of offices and the emerging “hybrid” transition.
Starting with the Lynnwood Bridge neighborhood and then the Waterfall City neighborhood, Attacq is expanding its footprint, providing flexible space options, which IWG will manage, he said.
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