Ever since the pandemic started to ease this past summer and offices reopened, workers have been in a tug-of-war with their bosses over keeping flexibility to work from home. Now with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeping the country, refilling hospital beds, and renewing exposure concerns, it seems the workers have gotten an edge.
In December, as Omicron was bearing down, employers tracked by Thinknum posted a record 83,600 job listings described as either "virtual" or "remote" (or providing the option of being virtual or remote). That was an astonishing 622% higher than the number of “remote” or “virtual” postings back in February 2020, when Covid-19 was first starting to cause mass misery in the U.S. (We broke down the number of listings on a month-by-month basis, so "Dec. 1" in our chart actually refers to all posts described as "virtual" or "remote" for the entire month of December.)
Even more interesting, a significant portion of the surge in remote-friendly listings came recently. These listings have jumped 55% since just August 2021, when they were at 55,100.
Granted, the percentage of all job listings that are remote or virtual is still quite low — though it is swiftly rising. Remote jobs constituted just 0.05% of all job postings in Feburary 2019, according to Thinknum data. Now they make up 2.7% of all job postings that we track.
Binance, an online cryptocurrency exchange, has had a rocky few years. Citing regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., it stopped accepting new users in the U.S. in 2019. The company is now also under investigation by the Department of Justice and the IRS over possible money laundering and tax evasion, and has been banned in New York under an agreement with the state attorney general. Nonetheless, it's still growing — and more than ever it is advertising jobs that are "remote" or "virtual."
The exchange, which is based in the Cayman Islands, had just 6 remote jobs posted in September 2019. After some ups and downs, the number has been consistently rising since March 2021. There are now 27 job listings for Binance described as either "remote" or "virtual."
Eventbrite, a San Francisco-based company that handles event management and ticketing, took a major hit during the pandemic (as expected). But the app has managed to stage a comeback with a strong pivot toward hosting virtual events. After a steep drop-off early in the pandemic, the company has been adding jobs since mid-2020. The company posted almost no "remote" or "virtual" jobs until late 2020, though, when the number surged to above 20. Now Eventbrite is advertising 83 "remote" or "virtual" jobs.
Boston-based homegoods retailer Wayfair was a pandemic success story. The more people stayed home during lockdowns, the more they "nested." Unsurprisingly, that growth corresponded with an upward hiring trend. But it was only recently when its "remote" or "virtual" listings took off. The company peaked at 164 of those listings in November 2021, and December had just a little less at 150.
Mountain View, California-based Quora, a website that focuses on providing answers to user-generated questions, is rumored to be plotting an IPO. It has also had a huge surge in hiring activity since November. It turns out almost all of its advertised positions are either described as "remote" or "virtual." After offering almost none of those jobs through much of 2020, the number of remote and virtual job listed now stands at 507.
No going back
The long-term shift is so dramatic that it could reasonably be interpreted as a sea-change. Job listings mentioning "remote: and "virtual" work stood at just 1,800 back in February 2017. The number climbed steadily throughout 2017, 2017 and 2019 before skyrocketing in the pandemic. (Current remote and virtual listings are up 4,543% from February 2017.)
It seems reality has started to sink in for executives and business owners: We won’t be going back to the “way things were” anytime soon. In fact, remote work, at least based on our data, looks definitely like a new normal.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.