AARP Eye Center
| Tech companies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have made headlines recently for allowing their employees to work from home permanently, even after their corporate offices reopen. But, of course, remote work isn't specific to just the tech industry.
There are more jobs than ever that can be done remotely, and opportunities abound even in industries known for in-person duties, such as construction and manufacturing, according to a recent report from Upwork, an online platform that connects freelance workers with employers.
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Upwork analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about remote jobs in industries that traditionally require more manual skills, like manufacturing or mining. Upwork discovered that, surprisingly, many of these fields offer work-from-home jobs. Their findings echo a 2020 report from the University of Chicago and the National Bureau of Economic Research suggesting that 37 percent of all American jobs can be performed from home.
"I think the remote work revolution and the growth of remote freelancing is really touching almost every industry to some extent,” said Upwork's chief economist Adam Ozimek.
The most common remote jobs in non-tech industries generally require some skill with a computer, such as administrative work, communications duties or computer programming. In total, Upwork estimates, there are more than 27 million jobs with possible remote options at non-tech companies.
Here's a list of the “non-tech” industries with the most professional services jobs — the types of jobs that may be eligible for remote work, according to Upwork's report.
1. Public Administration
The industry with the most remote-ready jobs is public administration: overseeing and managing public programs, particularly for local and state government agencies. According to Upwork's report, 47.3 percent of jobs in this industry — about 3.43 million overall — could be performed remotely. A good way to look for these positions would be checking the job boards for your local government agencies.
2. Wholesale Trade
Companies in the wholesale trade industry are the middlemen, selling merchandise to other companies. Picture the behind-the-scenes workers who keep warehouses and shipping yards running. Upwork estimates that 43.9 percent of jobs in this industry (1.56 million overall) are professional services jobs that can be done from home.
3. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
You don't have to be onstage or even backstage to work in the arts. More than 1.32 million jobs (about 37.8 percent) in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry are professional services job that can be done from home. As of January 2021, about 19.6 percent of workers in this sector were doing their jobs remotely because of the pandemic. The AARP Job Board has postings in the arts, including social media managers, photography editors and online music teaching, that can be done from home.