Has in-person working returned for early talent?

May 10, 2024 | Development, Home Featured, Research

Hybrid working remains a hot topic and ISE’s Student Development Survey shows that the shift to in-person work is a trend to pay attention to.

Given the trends observed over the previous year, ISE was keen to examine the expansion of hybrid working arrangements among new hires.

Office attendance

This year’s ISE Student Development Survey showed an increase in the number of graduates attending the office every day (9%, compared to 5% last year) and none working fully remotely anymore (0%, compared to 2% last year).

However, our findings still suggests that hybrid working has established itself as the ‘new normal’ (91% in 2024; 93% in 2023).

Most respondents reported that their graduates worked at home one or two days a week (73%) and 18% of graduates worked at home three or four days in a week.

The findings were similar for apprentices with most respondents reporting that their school and college leavers worked at home one or two days in the week (78%) and 90% are hybrid working this year (89% in 2023).


Early career hires are more willing to come into the office than previous years. Our survey showed more than a third of respondents perceive that their recent hires’ willingness to attend in-person training events (38%) and the office/workplace (34%) has increased.

Also, around a third of respondents (34%) reported that their early career hires come into the office/workplace more often than their organisation mandates.

This is good news for employers as nearly half of our respondents (47%) told us they thought in-person development activities had the highest impact for learners.

Wider context

Our findings fit with broader reports about a steady shift back to in-person working arrangements across a variety of organisations.

While more employers require their staff to increase the time spent working in the office, a range of surveys report that hybrid working remains the most normal arrangement for office-based workers, with many offices experiencing a mid-week peak.

Academic work on hybrid working suggests it is a mixed blessing for employee wellbeing and productivity, and that policies require careful design and management.

Prospects at Jisc’s Early Careers Survey 2024 showed that while graduates feel the benefits of hybrid working with improved productivity and wellbeing, they also feel pressured to return to the office.

A key consideration in navigating the hybrid workplace is how early career hires can be effectively integrated to support organisational attachment and collaborative working.

Some studies indicate a lack of enthusiasm for hybrid work among these younger workers. Therefore, it is important to closely monitor this area as workplace practices continue to evolve post- pandemic.

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