Workers least able to work from home are mostly men

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Men are more likely to be among those workers least able to work from home, while higher-paid employees are more likely to be able to work from home, according to detailed analysis from the Office for National Statistics.

Chief executives and senior officials, whose median earnings are £44.08 an hour, are among those most able to work remotely, as are financial managers and directors (£31.38) and software developers (£21.97).

Gardeners (£10.27) are very unlikely to be able to work from home, as are carpenters (£13.18) and and construction labourers (£10.25).

The ONS analysis found that the median earnings of employees in the 20% of the workforce most likely to be able to work from home is £19.01, compared with £11.28 for workers in the 20% of workers in jobs least likely to be adaptable to home working.

The top 20% of employees most likely to be able to work from home were evenly split by gender, with 49% being female. However at the bottom end, the fifth of workers least likely to be able to work from home are mostly men: 75% of workers in these jobs are men, compared with 48% of the whole workforce.

Of the 103 jobs in this group only 12 have a majority of women in them, for example police community support officers, vets and radiographers. Many of the rest are dominated by men: for example, 99% of plumbers, carpenters and joiners are male.

Among the jobs least likely to be able to work from home are also frontline workers, many of which have been designated as “key workers” during the coronavirus pandemic. These include police officers, paramedics and – scoring lowest on the scale – firefighters.

The report also looked at the number of people home working. Pre-lockdown data showed that 1.7 million people (around 5% of the workforce) in the UK reported working mainly from home in 2019. A further 8.7 million people (27%) said they worked from home at least once in their current primary job, and 2.9 million people (9%) worked either in the same grounds or buildings as their home or used home as a base.

The lockdown has changed this considerably and as lockdown restrictions ease the numbers have not changed much. Surveyed 8-12 July, 27% of adults worked exclusively at home in the previous week – a slight decrease from 30% of adults surveyed a week prior.

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