The shift to remote work for high-paying jobs will accelerate this year, according to a new report, defying city officials who are desperate to bring workers back and reinvigorate their economies.

More than a quarter of all professional positions in North America, largely concentrated in the US, will be remote by the end of this year, up from 18% at the end of 2021, according to Ladders Inc, the career site for work that pays at least US$100,000 (RM419,350). That means over 20 million jobs will not be going back to the office after the pandemic, Ladders said.

Return-to-office plans have been pushed back in cities across the US in the face of the Omicron variant, and some employees have been working from home since the pandemic first swept the country in March 2020. New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. have implored workers to return, but employers in both cities are telling their staff to stay home.

“This life-changing shift to remote work is progressing even more rapidly than anyone thought it would,” Ladders Inc chief executive officer Marc Cenedella said in the report. Those who predict workers will return to offices are “fooling themselves”, he said.

Remote work opportunities are especially growing in fields that emphasise technical and organisational skills, Ladders said. Those tend to be in positions for engineers and product and project managers.

A report earlier Tuesday showed a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, highlighting persistent churn in the labour market. Resignations have been on the rise as employers offer perks like higher pay and flexible working arrangements to attract new talent.

Since the start of the pandemic, Ladders has been tracking remote work data from North America’s largest 50,000 employers, not just those with listings on its site. Before Covid, only about 4% of six-figure-paying jobs were available remotely, the firm said in its quarterly report. – Bloomberg



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