The shift to remote work for high-paying jobs will accelerate this year, a report shows, in defiance of city officials who are desperate to bring workers back and reinvigorate economies.
More than a quarter of all professional positions in North America, largely concentrated in the US, will be fully remote by the end of this year, up from 18 per cent at the end of 2021, Ladders, the career site for jobs that pay at least $100,000, reported.
That means more than 20 million people will not be going back to the office after the Covid-19 pandemic, Ladders said.
Return-to-office plans have been pushed back in cities across the US in the face of the Omicron variant and some employees have been working from home since the pandemic first swept through the country in March 2020.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser have implored workers to return, but employers in both cities are telling their staff to stay home.
“This life-changing shift to remote work is progressing even more rapidly than anyone thought it would,” Ladders chief executive Marc Cenedella said in the report.
Those who predict workers will return to offices are “fooling themselves”, he said.
Remote work opportunities are especially growing in fields that emphasise technical and organisational skills, Ladders said. Those tend to be in positions for engineers and product and project managers.
A report released this week showed a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, highlighting a persistent churn in the labour market.
Resignations and job changes have been on the rise as employers offer perks like higher pay and flexible working arrangements to attract new talent.
Since the start of the pandemic, Ladders has been tracking remote work data from North America’s largest 50,000 employers, not only those with listings on its site. Before Covid-19, about 4 per cent of six-figure-paying jobs were available remotely, the firm said in its quarterly report.