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High-paid workers most likely to work from home, says ONS

Those in higher-paying jobs are more likely to be able to work from home, according to the ONS.

Its latest analysis found that employees who earn higher hourly wages were more likely to be able to work remotely during the pandemic. 

This included senior executives and officials, with the average earnings of £44.08 an hour, as well as legal professionals who earned an average of £39.48 per hour. Marketing and sales directors, with earnings of £37 per hour, were also likely to work from home.  

The latest research examined how adaptable jobs were to remote working based on factors such as whether specific locations are required, the face-to-face interaction needed and whether the role calls for any physical activity. 

It also examined whether access to remote technology and the extent to which digital communication is integrated into the workplace increased the likelihood of working from home.

The ONS found that occupations such as economists and actuaries, as well as management, technical and administrative jobs were most likely to be done from home, largely driven by the fact they require little face-to-face contact, physical activity or the use of tools or equipment.

Low-paid occupations, including cleaners, waiting staff, security guards and frontline workers were least likely to be able to work from home due to the physical nature of their work. 

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, said there were a “combination of factors” behind the lack of home-working for lower-paid professions.

He said: “It is also plausible that a greater proportion of senior employees have greater access to the technology that allows them to work from home.

“We should expect this gap to close as employers put more effort into managing and supporting more people to work from home given the relative success of home working over the recent past.”

It comes as previous ONS data found that 1.7 million people worked mainly from home in 2019, while a further 8.7 million said they worked from home at least once in their current primary job.

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