The State of the Remote Job Marketplace

Research from job site Indeed finds that “remote/work from home” was the fourth most popular job search term in 2017, up 385 percent from 2016. More workers are looking for remote work, and companies are providing work from home employment opportunities.

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According to job site FlexJobs, last year, thousands of companies – including plenty of big-name companies such as Amazon, Dell, Cigna, Salesforce, Philips, and Nielsen – actively recruited more remote workers to join their workforces.
“Working remotely has become increasingly more mainstream as businesses appreciate how it can help attract and retain top talent, which is especially important in a tight labor market, and job seekers definitely have broadly expressed their interest in having more remote work options,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
Given the increased interest in remote work, FlexJobs has released key statistics surrounding the growth and opportunities available in today’s remote job marketplace.
The sections below detail the growth of remote work in the United States, the demographics of the typical telecommuter, the most popular and fast-growing career for remote jobs, and the business benefits of remote work.

Remote Work Growth

  • 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce, currently work from home at least half of the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005 (a 115 percent increase since 2005).
  • Remote job listings at FlexJobs increased 51 percent between 2014 and 2017.
  • As of 2017, 43 percent of U.S. workers now work remotely at least occasionally, up from only 9 percent of workers in 2007.
  • In more than half of the top U.S. metro areas, telecommuting exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice. It has grown far faster than any other commute mode.
  • It is predicted that 38 percent of full-time staff will be working remotely in the next decade.
  • Reasons for increased remote staff include shortage of talent; greater interest among workers in pursuing flexible work arrangements; emerging technologies; and increased globalization.

About Remote Workers

  • The average telecommuter is 46 years of age or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker.
  • Roughly the same population of women and men telecommute.
  • Telecommuting is more common among employees over 35 years of age and most common among Baby Boomers.
  • 100 percent telecommuting is the most preferred type of work flexibility among flexible job seekers.
  • Work-life balance, family, time savings, and commute stress are the top four reported reasons people seek flexible work.
  • Remote workers span across career levels, educational backgrounds, and generations.
  • Various groups identify as remote workers, including: working parents, freelancers, introverts, entrepreneurs, people living in rural areas, stay-at-home parents, people with chronic illness, digital nomads, caregivers, students, retirees, environmentalists, military spouses, and others.

About the Remote Job Marketplace

  • Approximately 3.5 percent of all telecommute jobs are work-from-anywhere jobs. The rest require that the remote worker be based in a specific location, such as city, state or country.
  • There are approximately 60 scams for every one legitimate work-from-home job when job searching online.
  • The top seven career fields with the most remote jobs are Medical and Health, Computer and IT, Education and Training, Sales, Customer Service, Accounting and Finance, and Travel and Hospitality.
  • Some of the fast-growing fields for remote jobs are Therapy, Virtual Administration, Client Services, Tutoring, and State and Local Government
  • Most common remote job titles include account executive, accountant, business/development manager, consultant, engineer, project manager, teacher, tutor, and writer.

Business Benefits of Remote Work

  • The business benefits of remote work for companies are numerous. Remote work can increase worker productivity, drive employee efficiency, boost morale, reduce employee turnover, decrease real estate costs and overhead, lead to greater employee engagement, increase your talent pool, and positively impact the environment.
  • Companies with majority-remote teams have a higher percentage of women in CEO/founder roles than traditional office-based companies.

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