Quarter of marketers feel pressure to return to the office

Despite pressure building for marketers to return to the workplace, more than half recognise the importance of hybrid working.


Pressure to return to the office C&S SurveyAmid decisions from a slew of high profile brands to increase the number of days spent in the workplace, Marketing Week research reveals this office-bound push is not welcome by all.

A quarter (24%) of the more than 3,000 marketers responding to the 2024 Career & Salary Survey say they feel pressure to return to the office. This figure is significantly higher among female marketers (27.6%) compared to their male peers (17.5%).

A quarter of Gen Z (25.6%) and Gen Y (25.9%) marketers are also feeling the pressure to return, which is less apparent among their more senior Gen X (16.8%) colleagues.

The pressure to return to the office comes despite more than half of marketers (52.3%) describing flexible/hybrid working as very important to them. Indeed, almost a fifth (15.1%) say they are considering a change of job in search of flexible working.

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The debate around how to structure the hybrid workplace continues to rage.

In March, Boots told its 3,900 head office employees they must work from the office five days a week from September. This follows a decision taken by Nationwide in December mandating teams attend the office at least two days a week, while Amazon intends to block promotions for staff who refuse to come into the office a minimum of three days a week.

News also emerged in March that tech giant Dell is insisting employees who want to be promoted must be classed as hybrid workers and attend the office at least three days a week.

This shift towards workplace attendance is even happening within government departments, with the Land Registry reportedly forcing staff back into the office as it scrambles to meet increasing demand.

Comments on recruitment website Glassdoor for the above organisations indicate a level of disgruntlement among employees. Some staff say returning to the office is being enforced with “no metrics” to substantiate any productivity gains will be achieved.

Others claim changes to hybrid working are harming working parents and requests should fit the needs of teams rather than a blanket number of days for all. Some employees criticise leadership for “constantly pushing” for increased office attendance despite output being higher than pre-Covid.

As the Career & Salary Survey statistics attest, in some organisations tension is emerging between the demands of the business and the desires of employees.

We will be publishing an in-depth analysis looking at the data split by company size and seniority, exploring how marketers can address the pressure to return to the office.

Marketing Week has published a series of exclusive news and features based on the findings of the 2024 Career & Salary Survey, including the impact of the skills gap and ageism in marketing. Click here to view everything we’ve published so far.