Ways of working in Higher Education

In 2020 Covid hit and face to face contact was cut to a minimum; as a result of this remote working became the new norm. But is this the new norm going forward?  

Burman places people in a variety of markets within the HE sector; whether it is permanent or contract. With such a repertoire of people we decided to have a look at all of our placements from the first half of 2022 to see if remote working was still the preferred way of working or if Universities have made the transition back to office working. We compared markets within HE as well as whether it was a contract or permanent placement. The results were extremely fascinating!

We found that 46.88% of all placements were remote and 51.04% were hybrid, with the remaining 2.08% being office based. Interestingly, contracted candidates were placed in more remote roles; 61.29%, where as permanent candidates were placed in more hybrid roles; 77.14%. This difference was very unexpected; we had envisioned a more uniform approach across Universities.



*All statistics were taken from our placements from January 2022 - June 2022


Why could this be the case?

Contractors are required to start quickly and make a large impact in a short amount of time. This means that employers cannot only limit their search to those able to commute; remote working expands their talent pool from a small commutable area to the whole country (potentially even further) which means they can get the best of the best.

Permanent placements are for a longer period of time; work-place relationships are more important to build and the prospect of a permanent role means that people would be more likely to commute/ move to the local area.

What about each sector?

When comparing the Sectors there was a very even split between whether it was hybrid or remote working;


- Academic Registry - 81.82% Remote

- Academic & Student Systems - 93.33% Remote

- HR - 85% Hybrid

- IT Operations - 83.33% Hybrid

- Business Transformation - 59.09% Hybrid

- Estates was the only sector that had in-office placements; 100% of placements were fully office based. This is due to the nature of roles meaning they have to be on site.


Why aren’t Universities reverting back to fully office based work?

Hybrid working has become the preferred method of working for most employers; it gives people the freedom to work from home and reap the benefits of remote working whilst also keeping the social aspect of office working. The height of Covid was a very lonely time for many people and working from home heightened this; hybrid working reduces this aspect.

On the other side, remote working gives workers a new found freedom; the ability to work from anywhere. People have also found that remote working is much more productive as it means that any in office distractions are minimalised and a greater work-life balance. In an age of technology remote working will thrive the best; video calls mean that you still get human interaction with the added bonus that it can be done from the comfort of your own home!


The new normal

As we are exiting a Covid infected world it is clear to see that hybrid and remote working are definitely here to stay. This new way of working is beneficial for both employer and employee and has paved the way for a flexible new way of working.

At Burman we are a hybrid office; most of our consultants chose to be in the office for the social and training aspects of the job but the option to work from home is always there. It is definitely a much more rewarding way of working and we welcome the flexibility!