Report: 159% Increase in Remote Work Since 2005

More workers are seeking flexibility and work-life balance. A recent report from Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics shows evidence of this trend. The report found an increase in remote work of 159% since 2005. This new data is based on a special analysis of the most current U.S. government data available (from 2017, released in 2018), and represents the most up-to-date statistics about remote work in the United States. 3.4 percent of the total U.S. workforce currently telecommute, up from 2.9 percent in 2015. “Telecommuters/remote workers” refer to non-self-employed people who principally work from home at least half-time.


FlexJobs’ annual survey of more than 3,000 of people seeking flexible and remote work shows that eighty percent of respondents want to telecommute 100% of the time, while 46% want to telecommute some of the time. Seventy-one percent want a flexible schedule and 47% want a part-time schedule.

“Remote work has grown steadily since 2005, as companies of all types—private, public, nonprofit, or startup—continue to recognize the bottom-line benefits of integrating remote work into their business strategies,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “With improvements to technology, and increasing demands from employees in a tight labor market, we fully expect to see the momentum around this important workplace continue to grow,” Sutton concluded.

A few key findings:

  • Since 2005 remote work has grown 159%.
  • Between 2016 and 2017 remote work grew 7.9%.
  • Over the last five years, remote work growth is at 44%.
  • Over the last 10 years remote work has grown 91%.
  • 3.4% of the total U.S. workforce are remote workers, up from 2.9% in 2015.
  • 4.7 million people in the U.S. currently telecommute, up from 3.9 million in 2015.

“It’s important to note that full-time and even half-time telecommuters are among the minority — a far larger portion of the workforce, about half, works from home at least once a month,” said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “Talent shortages are fueling the growth of workplace flexibility right now because not only is it one of the most sought-after benefits among job seekers today, it also expands the talent pool by allowing employers to hire the best and the brightest from around the world,” said Lister.

According to FlexJobs’ annual analysis of the “100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs,” the top five remote career fields are:

  • Computer and IT
  • Medical and health
  • Sales
  • Education and training
  • Customer service

Looking for a remote job? Check out FlexJobs for a wide selection of remote and flexible jobs.

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