In recent months, clocking in from the comfort of your couch has become the new norm, as the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the landscape of the U.S. workforce by forcing millions of employees to adopt remote work. However, some occupations fare much better for remote work than others when it comes to salary potential and long-term demand.
A new study from MagnifyMoney identifies the best and worst jobs for remote work or telecommuting. For the purposes of this study, we looked at a multitude of metrics to determine a profession’s suitability for working from home, including how many people doing each job already work from home, earning potential and future growth in employment for each job.
Topping our ranking of the best jobs to work from home is sales representatives. Sales reps were boosted by the metric that measured job growth and opportunities: We found that there is an expected job growth of 7.2% for sales representatives from 2018 to 2028. Currently, sales reps already boast a healthy work from home rate, with 13% of them working remotely. The one metric that sales representatives had a low ranking in was wages. In 2018, the median annual earnings was $54,550, ranking in the No. 63 spot for that metric.
In the second place spot for our ranking of the best jobs for working from home is management analysts, thanks to lots of potential employment opportunities and a remote-friendly work structure. This occupation had a strong showing for the metrics measuring the current work from rate, with 24% working from home — resulting in fifth place for that metric in our analysis — as well as the metric measuring the total employment change, with just over 118,000 jobs expected to be added by 2028.
Computer and information systems managers are ranked third in best jobs for working from home, according to our study. The overall ranking for this profession was boosted by wages — in 2018, computer and information systems managers had median annual earnings of $142,530, with a 2.40% growth in wages from 2017 to 2018, resulting in the second place spot for that metric in our analysis. Meanwhile, 10% of computer and information systems managers work from home, and there is a predicted job growth of 11% in the 2018-2028 period.
The fourth-best job for working from home according to our study goes to market research analysts and marketing specialists. With a healthy work from home rate of 14%, this occupation had strong rankings for the metrics measuring job growth: With a predicted addition of nearly 140,000 jobs by 2028, that’s growth rate of 20% over the decade, that’s a lot of opportunities.
Rounding out the top five for our ranking of the best jobs to work from home is financial manager. While financial managers currently have a somewhat low work from home rate of 4%, this occupation was boosted by strong rankings in other metrics. We found that financial managers had high annual median earnings in 2018 of nearly $128,000, a 2.30% growth from 2017. There’s also robust growth expected for the financial manager field, with an estimated 105,000 jobs added between 2018 to 2028, making for a rate growth rate of 16% over the period.
A common theme among the best jobs for remote work is that many rely on technology that is easily accessible at home, namely computers and phones. Understandably, the opposite appears to be true for the jobs at the bottom of our study’s ranking, many of which rely on machinery or infrastructure that is not realistically accessible from one’s home. Many of these jobs are also estimated to decline in the 2018 to 2028 period, indicating limited and shrinking opportunity for work in these fields.
The worst job to work from home, according to our study, is forging machine setters, operators and tenders for metal and plastic. The name of the occupation itself indicates that this is likely not a job that can be performed at home, which explains its low work from home rate of 1%. Meanwhile, this occupation also had an expected loss of over 3,000 jobs by 2028, or a nearly 20% reduction over the period, underscoring the shrinking opportunity in this field.
Other occupations that fell to the bottom of our study’s ranking of the best jobs to work from home include rolling machine setters, operators and tenders of metal and plastic, pressers of textiles, garments and other related materials, tool and die makers and forest and conservation workers.
Our overall ranking took many metrics, such as wages and job growth, into consideration when determining the best jobs for working from home. However, one major consideration factor is how common remote work is in particular fields. While some jobs cultivate remote-friendly work cultures, others — like the manufacturing jobs mentioned above — are not able to realistically accommodate remote work.
If being able to work from home is your top priority, you might want to consider a job as a writer or author. This was the occupation with the highest work from home rate of our study, at a whopping 38%. Other jobs that boasted high work from home rates included travel agents (29%), farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers (29%), door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors and related workers (24%), management analysts (24%) and photographers (24%).
For this study, MagnifyMoney looked at data for 579 occupations from the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, comparing them on the following metrics:
In order to create our final rankings, we first ranked each occupation in each metric. We then found each occupation’s average ranking across the metrics, giving a double weighting to self-employment rate. Using this average ranking, we assigned a score to each occupation. The occupations with the highest scores ranked first, while the occupation with the lowest score ranked last.