In the wake of the pandemic – as millions of people quit their jobs and a growing number of companies delay their return to the office – remote working has continued to grow in popularity, new data from LinkedIn shows.

According to the report, 30.2% of all paid U.S. job postings on LinkedIn were for remote work opportunities in August, more than triple that of remote applications (9.8%) in August 2020 and nearly 10 times as of January 2020 where remote jobs made up just 2.8% of applications before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US

Certain cities are developing faster than others as remote work hotspots. Bend, Oregon tops the LinkedIn list for the small US cities where remote working is most popular; Of all of the applications people from Bend submit on LinkedIn, 41.8% are for remote jobs.

These small cities have the highest proportions of remote work applications:

  1. Bend, Oregon: 41.8%
  2. Asheville, North Carolina: 38.7%
  3. Wilmington, Delaware: 35.9%
  4. Johnson City, Tennessee: 35.2%
  5. Eugene, Oregon: 34.9%

“We’re seeing a booming interest in remote working across industries, a lot of people want that flexibility while the pandemic continues, and companies will go where the workers are,” George Anders, a senior editor at LinkedIn, told CNBC Make It. “We also found that the kind of tools we use to work remotely, like Zoom and Slack, allow more remote jobs, so remote working is sustainable and productive.”

LinkedIn has more than 750 million users in approximately 200 countries. For this analysis, LinkedIn defines small cities as places with fewer than 100,000 residents and at least 25,000 remote job applications. Larger metropolises were defined with at least 100,000 inhabitants and at least 100,000 applications for remote jobs.

Even before the pandemic, Bend attracted an unusually high number of teleworkers, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Anders notes that many technical staff from San Francisco and Seattle flock to nearby Bend because it offers a beautiful mountain range and an abundance of coworking spaces.

“Bend has long been a place where people work from home and has become a magnet for remote workers,” says Anders. “During the pandemic in particular, you have to mask yourself more often in a large, overcrowded city and follow stricter guidelines and enjoy a better work-life balance.

Cape Coral, Florida dominated the list of larger cities, with 33.1% of residents’ LinkedIn applications for remote jobs.

These larger cities have the highest proportions of remote work applications:

  1. Cape Coral, Florida: 33.1%
  2. Charleston, South Carolina: 31.6%
  3. Tampa Bay, Florida: 29.6%
  4. Jacksonville, Florida: 29.4%
  5. Orlando, Florida: 29.2%

These subways all have the local economy, largely dependent on tourism and recreation, which had a massive impact during the pandemic and prompted long-time residents of these industries to consider other stable, higher-paying options like remote working. “We tend to focus on the glamorous side of remote work, but there are a lot of people who just use it to find a job that pays more than the minimum wage with better working hours,” says Anders.

San Francisco and New York City ranked last among the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the US, as only 16.4% of applicants in both cities applied for remote jobs on LinkedIn. Both coastal cities, Anders explains, are known for their high cost of living and high salaries, so the results are hardly surprising. “If you’ve made the effort to get to San Francisco or New York, you might as well be tapping into this big, rich economy as you are unlikely to find a remote job that pays better than you find could be if you get on a bus or subway and travel a few blocks, “he says.

Anders adds that this list is a good sign for both younger workers and employers. “The data shows that working remotely is an option in a lot of different areas, which can be great when you’re in a place you like and aren’t sure about moving to a new city,” says he. Some of the cities, like Charleston and Jacksonville, are big college cities – which could encourage younger graduates to work from there and save money as they figure out their next steps.

As for employers, “Unless you’re looking for ways to offer remote listings, this data is a great reminder to keep that in mind,” says Anders. “There’s a whole new pool of candidates outside your zip code that your company can connect to.”

Anders predicts that we will not be able to assess the long-term impact of remote working on the economy for at least two years. “Remote work is here to stay, even if the exact number of remote jobs available fluctuates from time to time,” he says. “There are still some industries warming up to this while other employers see that listing a job as a remote job increases their chances of not only filling the position but also attracting candidates they are happy to hire.”

Still, he adds, other questions remain: “What we don’t know yet is can you keep an organization’s collaboration and culture strong in a semi-permanent remote environment? Can you develop a career that is completely remote? ”

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