LinkedIn Data Shows Women and Gen Z Are More Likely to Apply to Remote Jobs

January 25, 2021

Photograph of woman working from home on bed with child next to her

COVID-19 led to a remarkable increase in remote work. But as vaccinations ramp up, employers will soon have to decide whether they’ll continue to offer remote work arrangements once the pandemic has passed. As companies weigh the costs and benefits, there’s one factor that employers shouldn’t overlook: diversity. 

New data from LinkedIn suggests that offering remote jobs may make it easier to build more gender, educational, and generational diversity into your workforce. Compared to men, women are significantly more likely to apply to remote jobs. A job seeker’s education and age can also make them more or less likely to seek out remote jobs. 

Read on to see which groups are most likely to be interested in a remote job — and learn how remote applicants may have different priorities than most when it comes to considering a potential employer. Understanding these candidate trends can help your company develop a remote workforce plan and deliver more effective pitches to remote candidates. 

Women, people without advanced degrees, and certain generations are more likely to pursue remote jobs

In the wake of COVID, talent leaders have already been discussing how hiring remote workers can make it easier to build a diverse workforce. But understandably, these discussions are usually from the perspective of the recruiting team — how remote policies allow them to consider more candidates beyond their local market. “It opens up a broader pool of talent that you can hire,” says Damien Hooper-Campbell, Zoom’s chief diversity officer. 

Today’s new data from LinkedIn reveals more about the other side of the coin: the candidate’s perspective. It’s not just that remote work allows you to cast a wider net — it’s that certain groups of candidates are more likely to seek out remote work. Knowing this can help you build a more diverse workforce.

  • Women are 26% more likely to apply to remote jobs than men  *Insights from LinkedIn

Women are 26% more likely than men to apply for remote work. That may be because women shoulder a disproportionate amount of unpaid work, such as childcare and eldercare, at home. The flexibility of remote work can allow people to better balance responsibilities at home while maintaining a full-time job.

  • People with a bachelor’s degree or lower are 23% more likely to apply to remote jobs than people with higher degrees  *Insights from LinkedIn

Education is also correlated with interest in remote work. Those whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or lower (associate’s degree, high school diploma, etc.) are almost 25% more likely to apply for remote jobs. 

Those with the most advanced degrees (PhDs, master’s degrees, etc.) were significantly less likely to apply for remote work. That could be because those with higher degrees are better able to afford childcare and other expenses or that some roles that require advanced degrees — like doctors or pharmacists — simply can’t be done 100% remotely. 

Whatever the reason, it spells another opportunity for companies focused on skills, not schools. Since candidates without advanced degrees may be more interested in remote work, it’s a great opportunity to improve the diversity of your company with a skills-based hiring approach, judging candidates by their capabilities rather than their educational credentials.

  • Gen Z job seekers are 17% more likely to apply to remote jobs than other generations  *Insights from LinkedIn
  • Baby boomers are 15% more likely to apply to remote jobs than other generations  *Insights from LinkedIn

Similarly, LinkedIn data shows that the workforce’s youngest and oldest generations — Gen Z and Baby Boomers — are also more likely to seek out remote jobs. 

Baby Boomer applicants may be more wary of in-person jobs, and more senior roles could be more amenable to remote work; Gen Z applicants, as “digital natives,” may be more comfortable with the technology and virtual collaboration that remote work requires. Age can sometimes be an overlooked aspect of diversity, but fostering a multigenerational workforce can offer invaluable perspectives and strengths. 

Remote applicants are looking for autonomy, work-life balance, and excellent compensation

If you’re already actively recruiting remote workers, it can be useful to know what they care about and how that compares to the broader population. 

According to LinkedIn’s Talent Drivers Survey conducted from April to December 2020, the biggest priority that differentiates remote job seekers is, unsurprisingly, flexible work arrangements. Remote seekers were over 40% more likely to select it as one of their top five priorities when considering a new job. 

But when you look past that most obvious difference, you uncover some other interesting distinctions.

  • What do remote job seekers care about when considering a new job?  Remote job seekers are more likely to prioritize: - Autonomy over their own tasks - Good work-life balance - Excellent compensation and benefits  Remote job seekers are less likely to prioritize: - Challenging work - Opportunity for rapid advancement - A role that impacts the company’s success  *Insights from LinkedIn

Remote seekers are more likely to care about their own autonomy, work-life balance, and excellent compensation. When you’re making your pitch to that perfect remote candidate, you may want to emphasize the company’s policies and values on these elements.

Conversely, you may want to spend less time on the factors that are less likely to be top concerns for remote seekers: challenging work, rapid advancement, and impact on the company’s success. To be clear, that doesn’t mean remote applicants don’t care about those things — they’re just less likely to make a career decision based on those criteria. 

Final thoughts

The fact that remote work opens the door to more diverse talent pools is one of the few silver linings of the past year. While many employers might be eager to return to in-person offices once the pandemic is safely under control, it’s important to consider how this could affect your ability to recruit a diverse workforce. 

Whenever we can finally return to normality, companies — particularly those committed to walking the walk on diversity — should consider retaining some remote working arrangements.

Co-authored by Greg Lewis. 

Methodology

Behavioral insights for this report were generated from the billions of data points created by hundreds of millions of members in over 200 countries on LinkedIn today. Gender identity isn’t binary and we recognize that some LinkedIn members identify beyond the traditional gender constructs of “male” and “female.” If not explicitly self-identified, we have inferred the gender of members included in this analysis by classifying their first names as either male or female or by pronouns used on their LinkedIn profiles. Members whose gender could not be inferred as either male or female were excluded from this analysis. Similarly, members whose age or education level could not be inferred were also excluded from this analysis.

To find the comparative likelihood of applying to remote jobs, we first considered the total population of members who applied to any job on LinkedIn in recent months; we then compared that to the subset of members who mostly applied to remote jobs in the same timeframe. For example, if 15% of female applicants applied to remote jobs while only 10% of male applicants did the same, female applicants would be 50% more likely to apply to remote jobs than men.  

Survey results based on the LinkedIn Employer Value Propositions Survey of global members, also known as the Talent Drivers Survey, with answers collected from April to December 2020. LinkedIn members were asked to select the five most important factors when considering a job opportunity from a list of 15 employer value propositions.

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