The West Sussex seaside town of Worthing, which still has a perhaps inaccurate image for being mainly populated by retirees on deckchairs, has become the leading ‘Zoom town’ in Europe, according to newly released data.
Recruitment platform Indeed, working with Zoom, has identified places across the UK, France and Germany that have seen the most significant growth in hybrid and remote working opportunities, analysing the difference in postings between February 2020, prior to the pandemic, and September 2022.
Worthing leads the way, the research found, with a 715% growth in remote roles available compared with February 2020, the month before the pandemic.
Indeed/Zoom suggested that the rise of hybrid working has meant that previously unfashionable towns away from the UK’s main conglomerates were now popular with a younger cohort of workers attracted by lower house prices. Also, the levelling up agenda had encouraged organisations to disperse operations.
The old Victorian beachside town of Worthing was also the number one Zoom town in Europe, ahead of Brest, in north-west France, and Chemnitz, in eastern Germany. Four UK towns and cities feature in the European top 10, as well as four from France, and two from Germany.
London comes in as the capital city with the most growth in remote and hybrid roles available, at 177%. However, despite this growth on pre-pandemic levels, the city falls behind when looking at the proportion of roles that are offered as remote. Berlin leads the way here with 23% of all roles available, compared with 12% each in London and Paris.
Another waterfront town in the UK, Chatham in Kent, has also seen a significant increase, going from rank 27 in the list of Zoom towns into second place with a 376% growth, and Basildon, Essex, has moved from rank 49 to fifth place with an increase of 291%. Plymouth continues to hold its place in the top 10 with a growth of 278%, demonstrating a strong showing from the south of England in pioneering remote and hybrid working.
Towns and cities in the north of England also continue to feature heavily. Burnley and Stoke take third and fourth place, with a 376% and 329% growth respectively. Doncaster has also risen from rank 30 to ninth place, increasing to 256%.
Indeed/Zoom suggests that the variety of locations featured from all corners of the country demonstrates a link between greater flexibility and the UK’s levelling up agenda, which the government has claimed aims to spread opportunity and prosperity more evenly around the nation.
Zoom’s Phil Perry, head of UK and EMEA North, said harnessing technology would enable the UK to offer flexibility to maintain employee productivity “while encouraging the economic benefits remote and hybrid working can provide.”
According to Indeed’s Pawel Adrjan, director EMEA economic research, “Remote and hybrid work continues to help businesses attract a greater pool of talent, free of necessary proximity to major cities, something that is especially important as hiring challenges persist across industries.”
He added: “The increased availability of these remote and hybrid options is also important for employees who, with greater freedom to decide their geographical location, gain the flexibility to help navigate the rising cost of living. Moreover, offering an improved work-life balance means employers benefit from a happier, more productive team. Not only is increased flexibility a boost for employees but it allows employers to build stronger workforces.”