The idea that employees will return to their office desk and the traditional nine to five once restrictions are lifted is outdated.

After months of enforced working from home, they want to retain the flexibility that it offers, with Adecco Group’s own research showing that the majority, around 75%, are in favour of splitting their worktime 50/50 between home and their office. As growing numbers of employers move to accommodate their employees’ preferences the future is clear; the remote workforce is here to stay.  


A number of major companies have already offered their workers the option of working from home forever, or at least for an extended period of time. Google and Facebook, for example, extended their work from home policy until at least June and July 2021 respectively. Others big names, including Coinbase, Shopify, Amazon, Salesforce, PayPal and Viacom, have also established flexible hybrid working patterns.


The impact on earnings


But this new arrangement could have implications for companies and their employees. A permanent move to remote working, for example, could potentially impact on wages and bonuses. While a Willis Towers Watson survey of North American companies found that 60% intend to pay remote workers the same as in-office employees regardless of where they live, 18% plan to set pay levels based primarily on the market value of an employee’s skills, but also their location. Facebook’s remote workers who move to more affordable locations have been told that they could see their salaries drop.


The rise of remote work & five of the most in-demand remote jobs in 2021


The future of work is flexible and remote work is here to stay. And thus the shift towards remote working inevitably means that the number of home-based positions will grow in 2021 as employers increase their headcount and prepare for recovery. Research from the Adecco Group revealed a sharp rise in the number of job ads for remote positions in Western Europe compared to 2019, with Italy seeing a 251% increase, and Spain and France recording a rise of around 150%.


But which remote jobs will be most the sought-after in the coming weeks, months or years, and what does this mean for people’s career prospects?


#1. Tech experts


It’s no surprise that the people with the tech skills that made everything work seamlessly and securely when workforces first moved en masse to home working are now in huge demand and commanding high salaries. They include cloud engineers, an umbrella term for various cloud computing roles focused on engineering, architecture, development, and administration; software developers, who design the computer programmes and operating systems use by workers: cyber security specialists, who protect the data and networks of organisations, and network specialists, who maintain constant connectivity and communication. According to LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum, the list also includes experts with skills in data analytics and digital marketing.

Photo by World Economic Forum

#2. Graphic designers


Skilled graphic designers are always in demand, and at a time when more people than ever are buying from and interacting with organisations online, the value of a well-designed, easy to navigate, and responsive company website has never been higher. Graphic design roles that focus on user experience and user interface - UI/UX designers - often work together with programmers to design user experiences and help customers communicate with digital products.


#3. Customer service operatives


As businesses recover and rebuild, post-pandemic, attracting and retaining customers will be key to their success. Traditionally, customer service was based around the telephone and carried out by teams of customer service support staff deployed within large call centres. In the digital age, companies are offering multiple channels for customers to access support, including live chat, instant messaging, and social media, creating a greater demand for customer service attendants to provide a seamless service from the comfort of their home.


#4. Project managers


Organisations are dealing with change on a massive scale, from digital transformation to post-pandemic restructuring. Successful outcomes will depend on the skills of a project manager with the ability to organise workflow, set goals and milestones, delegate to team members, communicate with stakeholders and ensure that projects stay on track to meet deadlines and budgets. Traditionally, project managers worked in-house roles, however, developments in technology and the emergence of more sophisticated project management software, mean that entire projects can be managed remotely.


#5. Online trainers


Lockdown created a surge in online learning, adopted by students of all ages, including employees who were unable to attend physical classroom-based training towards skills and qualifications. With an increase in remote working, virtual training will become more prevalent, creating a demand for online trainers to host company training courses virtually. These range from customer service, team building, and communication, to job-specific courses, bringing new opportunities for home-based trainers who are qualified and experienced in their field.



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