Inequality of Remote Work

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Many companies are moving to a hybrid remote setup when it’s safe for employees to return to offices. Some will allow employees to choose when they work from home and when they work from the office. However, this leads to an in-group (people in the office) and an out-group (people working from home more often).

Merging data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) round 16, and American Time Use Survey (ATUS) shows that an estimated 45% of jobs (~67MM based on number of employed citizens) in the US can be done remotely. However, prior to the pandemic only 10% of workers who could work remotely actually did (the takeup rate).

A poll done by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News in May 2021 showed that 39% of U.S. adults would consider quitting if they weren’t able to work from home. Millenials and GenZ respondents showed 49%.

A 2019 Pew Research survey found that Black and Hispanic people have less access to broadband internet than White people (66% 61% vs 79% respectively). This digital divide is becoming more pronounced due to trends in remote work.

According to a recent survey by WayUp that measured how job seekers felt in the current COVID-19 job climate, Black and Hispanic/Latino job seekers were 145% more likely to be concerned about being capable of doing a job remotely compared to White job seekers. Lack of physical space, access to broadband, and having more people in the household are contributing factors.