A remote job may soon be easier to get.
One in four of all high-paying jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, according to a projection from the career site Ladders. The company has been tracking remote work availability from the continent's largest 50,000 employers — not just those with listings on its job site — since the pandemic began, and estimates remote work opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. Already, Ladders says, more than 15% of all jobs that pay $80,000 or more are remote, up from 4% before the pandemic began and about 9% from the end of 2020.
“Hiring practices typically move at a glacial pace, but the pandemic turned up the heat so we’re seeing a rapid flood of change in this space," Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella said in a press release about the projection.
When COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March 2020, businesses were forced to close their offices and quickly navigate the new world of remote work. Now, 60.1% of the country's population is fully vaccinated and many companies are allowing in-person work — but employees have gotten used to the perks of working from home. A survey from FlexJobs conducted this summer found that 58% of respondents want to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, and 39% want a hybrid work environment.
Some companies are obliging. Shopify and Upwork announced early on in the pandemic that they would permanently be remote-first companies. Others, like Capital One and Apple, are embracing hybrid work models.
This comes against the backdrop of a tight labor market, with employees quitting in droves and businesses competing for workers. Companies have eliminated drug tests, dropped background checks and are even offering jobs just half an hour after an application is submitted. They're also offering huge bonuses, college tuition and more flexibility (often in the form of remote work).
Working from home definitely has its benefits. Remote employees can avoid the commute, rigid schedules and the suit and tie uniform that many offices demand.
On top of that, 70% of those surveyed by FlexJobs said a permanent remote job would have a considerable improvement or positive impact on their mental health. And a 2020 FlexJobs survey found that 51% of survey respondents say they're more productive working from home.
There are downsides to remote work too. Working from home limits social interaction, and can muddy the line between "home" and "office," leading some employees to work more. A recent study from the science journal Nature Human Behavior found that remote workers spent 10% more time logged in each week.
Still, if Ladders' predictions are correct, more people will be making that tradeoff in 2022 than ever before.