Remote opportunities shrink in jobs market

Jason Chen

Remote work opportunities reportedly shrank as employers lean toward a return to in-person work — all the while demand for remote jobs remains high.

Remote job offers made up around 20% of work opportunities posted on LinkedIn in February 2022, but were expected to rise to 25% by the end of the year. As of September 2022, the number of offers sits at 14%.

Remote jobs attracted 52.9% of all applications submitted on LinkedIn, but the decline in remote listings marks the shift in the power dynamic between employers and employees.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote jobs were relatively prevalent.

Labor experts and economists said that remote work has opened up new opportunities. For example, people traditionally sidelined from the job market — such as those who have people to take care of or have disabilities — were able to obtain remote work.

Another reason why remote jobs were in demand was because of the flexibility and mental health benefits that came with them. Workers said that they are more productive and able to manage their mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Working from home also allowed employees to save on time. Workers reclaimed a daily average of 72 minutes, 40% of which was from commuting, according to LinkedIn. The time that workers saved enabled them to put more time into exercising, working on side hustles or taking care of other people.

CEOs and job recruiters spoke out against working from home.

Data from LinkedIn showed the rapid rise and fall of employers’ willingness to create remote-work job postings. Remote listing accounted for more than 20% of all job postings during 2022. But as of November 2022 only 14% of paid job postings on LinkedIn invited remote applicants.

Software engineer Yue Xu was looking for remote or hybrid job positions after she was laid off from her hybrid software engineer job at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. She wrote a post to boost her chances of acquiring remote or hybrid work.

However, as the coronavirus waned, so did employers’ patience. The growing number of businesses in technology, banking and sales — including Goldman Sachs — led to workers being summoned back to office.

“Candidates still have a lot of options and if it’s not remote or doesn’t offer any type of flexibility, candidates will not even interview or take it,” Brenda Arce — the Miami branch director for staffing company Robert Half — told Mint.

Salesforce Inc. co-CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC in August 2022 that the low attendance at corporate offices are “because employees are so productive at home, they can be successful from anywhere.” But later, he worried that rampant remote work could undermine the office culture of the physical workplace.

“Are we not building tribal knowledge with new employees without an office culture?” Benioff asked in a December 2022 Slack message obtained by CNBC.

Economists have said that the combination of slowing economic growth and continued strong employment means that productivity looks healthy, but the demand of remote work has left employers with mixed feelings.