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Research finds telecommuting trend continues to grow nationwide
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Information technology companies took many of the top spots on an annual list of employers offering the most remote work opportunities compiled by FlexJobs, a leading job site for flexible work.
The list of the 100 companies with the highest number of remote job openings in 2017 is based on an analysis of job posting data from over 49,000 companies in the FlexJobs database. To be considered, a company had to offer remote-friendly jobs, meaning that it offered some level of telecommuting.
China-based English-language-learning company VIPKID came in at No. 1. The company connects children in China and 32 other countries with teachers for real-time, one-to-one online English immersion learning.
"VIPKID's classes are conducted entirely online, and remote work is essential to the VIPKID platform of connecting children in China with our super-talented teachers," said Kevyn Klien, head of the company's community and growth in the U.S. "VIPKID offers its teachers the flexibility of teaching when they want to teach and where they want to teach—an especially attractive option."
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Technology mainstays Amazon, Conduent and Dell were among the top 10 companies. Intuit, UnitedHealthGroup, Aetna and Hilton placed high on the list, alongside lesser-known technology services provider Appen, translation startup Rev, and cloud contact and customer call center marketplace Liveops.
"In reviewing this data annually for five years and in working with hundreds of companies across different industries, we've seen remote work transform into a much more mainstream mode of working," said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
Overall, the 100 companies listed represent 19 different industries and are headquartered across eight different countries. Sectors such as education, health care, sales, customer service, travel and hospitality continue to lead in offering remote work.
Flexible Work on the Rise
Telecommuting has grown by 115 percent from 2005 to 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and is trending upward according to other research, despite some well-known companies deciding to reduce or eliminate remote work programs.
Four million U.S. workers, or 2.9 percent of the country's total workforce, worked from home at least half of the time in 2015, up from 1.8 million in 2005, according to the data. And 40 percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options in 2015 than they did in 2010, although only 7 percent made it available to most of their employees.
Gallup found that 43 percent of U.S. employees worked remotely at least occasionally in 2017, up from 39 percent in 2012 and from about 9 percent in 2007.
The 20 most common telecommuting job titles include teacher, writer, developer, analyst, sales representative, nurse, accountant and program manager, according to FlexJobs listings.
Advances in technology and changes in workplace culture are the top reasons why flexible work is trending up, Sutton Fell said.
"While technology enabled telecommuting, it is people that are driving the trend forward," she added. "Across every age group, what they want—and increasingly demand—is the flexibility to work how, when, and where they want. And smart employers are finally coming to understand, what's good for their people is good for them."
Craig Barnes, senior vice president of customer care at retailer Williams Sonoma (No. 15 on the FlexJobs list), said that flexible work options "not only attract great talent that otherwise might not want to travel to a location, but also allow us to expand our talent pool by getting us into markets all across the United States."
Offering remote work possibilities also opens an employer up to underutilized pools of workers who need flexible options, said Michael Wellman, chief people officer at business process outsourcer TTEC (No. 6 on the list), based in Englewood, Colo. "By offering work-at-home opportunities, TTEC hires candidates including veterans transitioning back to civilian life, displaced workers and students or parents who require a flexible schedule," he said.
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