By Matthew Boyle | Bloomberg
Remote jobs are still plentiful, but these days you have to know where to look.
The most remote-friendly city isn’t San Francisco or San Jose, but Bloomfield, Connecticut, headquarters of insurer Cigna Group, where nearly half of job vacancies offer some freedom to work from home. It’s followed by Augusta, the capital of Maine, and Dover, Delaware, according to a team of researchers who analyzed the share of job vacancies that specifically allow working from home at least one day a week. The top ten isn’t limited to cities in the Northeast; also making the cut are Lansing, Michigan, and Helena, Montana.
Those seeking remote jobs should steer clear of Burleson, Texas, along with Olive Branch, Mississippi, and Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
With many companies slowing hiring, conducting layoffs and getting stricter about return-to-office policies, there’s concern that remote jobs are getting more scarce.
The data, from academics including Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom, shows the share of job listings that offer at least some remote work declined across many US cities in March, the most recent month analyzed. In Phoenix, for example, remote jobs were 15% of all vacancies in March, down from about 18% over the past four months, while in San Diego, the share declined to 13.5% from 15.4%.
Remote work might soon get less popular in Bloomfield as well. Cigna CEO David Cordani said the company will shift beginning in September to “more colleagues working a majority of time in one of our sites,” according to a March employee memo, which stated that 90% of Cigna’s 70,000-person workforce have been working remotely all or nearly all of the time. Cigna has several thousand employees in Connecticut, according to a spokeswoman.
“Ultimately, our goal is a workforce model where those working in a site are generally more in line with pre-pandemic levels,” Cordani said in the memo. “Innovation and brainstorming are most effective in person.”
Those sentiments could set up a clash with employees who prefer more flexibility. A recent survey of more than 2,000 college seniors from ZipRecruiter found that 44% want a hybrid work arrangement, 33% preferred to be fully remote, and just 23% wanted to work on-site every day.
Peter J. Lambert, a doctoral student at the London School of Economics who helped gather the data, cautioned against reading too much into short-term fluctuations in job postings, but separate research from Bloom and other sources point to hybrid-work plans — rather than fully remote or full-time in an office — emerging as the preferred model for large white-collar organizations.
Among hybrid plans, two or three days in the office are the standard approach, although a few big employers, like Walt Disney Co., have told corporate staff to come back four days a week.
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