Home-based Workers Have Tripled

From: Staffing

Home-based Workers Have Tripled

Study Finds Home-based Workers Have Tripled and Many Are Women

The number of home-based workers in the United States tripled from 2019 to 2021, increasing from 5.7% of the workforce to 17.9%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). This represents an increase of 19 million workers. More than half of home-based workers during this time were women, even though men made up a larger share of the workforce.

ACS data shows that working from home is more prevalent in certain industries and occupations, with the highest rates of home-based workers among the highest-earning professions. The expansion of remote work among white-collar workers has likely contributed to the increasing share of women among home-based workers. This data also reveals that specific occupations are more likely to work from home, highlighting the limitations for workers who are unable to perform their job duties using a computer and internet connection.

In 2019, the highest shares of home-based workers were in management, business, science and arts occupations. The percentage of home-based workers increased in all fields in 2021, but management, business, science and arts occupations still had the largest share of workers working from home. Women comprised the majority of U.S. workers in these specific occupations (52.2%), as well as service occupations (56.7%) and sales and office occupations (62.2%) in 2021.

Employer Takeaways

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 9 million individuals worked from home. Many employers shifted to home-based working arrangements during the pandemic to protect workers and ensure their safety. Over the next two years, the number of home-based workers more than tripled even as the total number of U.S. workers declined. 

While the number of men and women working from home rose significantly in 2021, the shift to home-based work was most evident among women. On the whole, it appears that more employers and workers are embracing remote and hybrid work arrangements, although it’s more widespread among certain occupations. This may provide savvy employers an opportunity to reevaluate the modern relationship between workers and their physical workplace to gain a competitive advantage and improve their attraction and retention efforts.

We will keep you apprised of any notable updates. Contact George Belcher Evans & Wilmer for more workplace resources.

Provided by George Belcher Evans & Wilmer