Not Remotely What You Would Think

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jun 22, 2020 1:16:43 PM

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The job market crashed as COVID-19 spread and social distancing began; but, we believed that remote jobs would be immune to the crisis. Instead, job postings for remote workers declined 37.5% – about as fast as overall job postings, which fell 38.5%. These averages disguise enormous variations: postings for higher skill remote jobs fell more slowly than the average and a few occupations grew, one by 50%.

To identify trends in employer demand for remote workers, Gray Associates searched its database of 7.2 million job postings, starting with general trends for the last several months. We then searched for jobs with the word “remote” in the title or text of the posting and filtered out results that used the word “remote” to describe the work (e.g., remote control) rather than the location of the worker. We were then able to identify job postings, job titles, occupations, degree requirements, and skills for remote workers.

 

Technical Support Specialist
Job Posting Trends and Degree Requirements

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Job Postings Degrees Required

 

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Generally speaking, most postings for remote workers are for lower-skilled workers; these low-skill remote jobs fell 43.1%. For example, only 67% of postings for Technical Support Specialists require any degree; postings for these Specialists declined 82.3% between February and April 2020. Posting for Administrative Assistants tumbled 47.4%.

However, that is not the whole story. Postings that require a bachelor’s degree and high skills fell more slowly than lower-skilled remote jobs. For example, job postings for Senior Systems and Software Engineers fell 36.8% and 25.4% respectively. Job postings for Systems and Senior Network Engineers both fell only 14.3%.

Job postings for some high-skill positions actually increased. Postings for System Administrator, which requires a bachelor’s degree and deep knowledge of computer systems, grew 35.3% between February and April. Jobs postings for Technical Writers grew by 33.3% and demand for DevOps Engineers jumped 50%.

 

 

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As this analysis indicates, in a job market changing this quickly, traditional sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) simply aren’t current enough to guide higher-education decisions. To inform decisions about courses and programs, institutions need current, detailed data on jobs and trends in the job market.

Note: Data for Job Postings by Month is filtered for dates between 11/1/19 and 4/30/20 and their respective job posting titles.

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Topics: Job Postings, Remote Work, Employment Trends