Wales has lowest proportion of jobs in UK that could be done from home, study finds

Welsh workers have fewer opportunities to work from home compared to those in the rest of the UK, analysis suggests.

The briefing paper from Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre estimates that just under two-fifths (39.9%) of the Welsh workforce are able to work from home, a figure that is below the UK average of 45.2% and significantly below London where 58.7% are able to work from home.

However, Wales does compare favourably to some major European economies, including Germany, Ireland, and Finland.

The research finds that the potential for working from home varies by sector and occupation and is correlated with higher income levels.

Senior, managerial and professional staff are more likely to be able to work from home, suggesting higher-income earners will have been better able to manage social distancing through working from home.

Meanwhile, some sectors and occupations, generally lower paid, have very little or no scope to increase the extent of homeworking, increasing potential health risks as well as the risk of losing employment, hours, and income during the crisis. These include the construction, retail and hospitality sectors.

Report author Jesús Rodríguez commented: “The share of jobs that can be performed away from workplaces has been an important factor in the economy’s performance during this crisis. With nearly two-fifths of Welsh workers able to work from home, the Welsh economy has had scope to keep functioning under social distancing measures.

“However, those working from home during and after the crisis tend to be higher-earners. Younger and less educated workers tend to be in occupations and industries with very little potential for homeworking.”

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