Software engineers working remotely have become increasingly popular in recent years. Remote work allows software engineers to work from anywhere, which can be beneficial for several reasons such as increased flexibility, access to a wider talent pool, reduced overhead costs, and improved productivity.
Many software engineers will only take a job if remote work is an option and will likely quit if their employer mandates a return to the office, according to Hired’s annual software engineering study. Its finding suggests employers requiring a full-time or hybrid return to office will hurt recruiting efforts.
Employers open to remote workers “are able to get better-quality talent that’s a better fit for the organization,” said Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, a job-matching platform for technology jobs.
According to Brenner, employers are expanding their efforts to hire from underrepresented groups in technology, such as Black and Hispanic employees.
Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta; and Columbus, Ohio, are among the markets where employers showed the most interest in interviewing underrepresented engineering talent. Diversity in hiring is considered crucial by AI experts for addressing AI bias.
Some technology companies have received criticism for their lack of female and Black candidates in technical roles. Companies such as Salesforce have suggested that remote work may help address this issue. Brenner stated that by hiring remotely, companies looking to build a diverse team can “cast a wider net.”
The number of people working from home in the US has tripled in two years, from 9 million in 2019 to almost 28 million in 2021, which was reported by the US Census Bureau last fall.
Software engineers aren’t necessarily taking a pay cut to work remotely either, even in areas with a lower cost of living and wages. Employers hiring software engineers for remote jobs face competition, and “the talent is able to command a higher [wage] premium,” Brenner said.
However, there are also some challenges that come with remote work for software engineers like communication difficulties, lack of face-to-face interaction, and potential for isolation.
The technology industry has experienced an uptick in layoffs since late 2022, with the youngest software engineers getting hit the hardest. Employers that are hiring are favoring engineers with six years or more experience. The survey also found that nearly 70% of software engineers aren’t worried about getting laid off.
Overall, remote work can be an excellent option for software engineers, but it’s important for companies and individuals to be aware of the potential challenges and take steps to address them. Effective communication, regular check-ins, and team-building activities can all help to mitigate the potential downsides of remote work.