Virtual Vocations shares generational remote work statistics in this report on “How Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers Telework.” The report details outcomes of the company’s 2019 Telecommute Week Survey offered to registered Virtual Vocations members either currently telecommuting or seeking jobs that will allow them to work remotely.
Generational Remote Work Statistics Survey Overview
Over the years, we’ve noticed that concrete data on trends in remote work can be hard to come by—and that is especially true regarding statistics about the differences between generations of remote workers. That’s why, in March of this year, we invited our members to participate in a survey to help us better understand why Virtual Vocations members, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, work remotely as well as what challenges they face in the digital workplace.
With our Telecommute Week 2019 Survey, our goal was to learn more about the remote work habits and preferences of professionals representing a variety of age groups, then compare those findings to note similarities, differences, and trends in telework.
—Laura Spawn, CEO & Co-Founder, Virtual Vocations, Inc.
To define target age groups for data collection, Virtual Vocations looked to the Pew Research Center‘s 2019 definitions of generational groups. The target groups for Virtual Vocations’ generational survey are defined as follows:
- Millennials (23-38)
- Generation X (39-54)
- Baby Boomers (55-73)
Duplicate submissions from survey participants as well as test survey responses submitted by Virtual Vocations team members were excluded from the data. Responses from participants younger or older than the target generations were grouped into an “Other” category and not used to inform conclusions within this report.
Among Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers, Virtual Vocations received 1,141 survey responses.
Generational Remote Work Statistics Report Summary
The statistical findings discussed in this report detail conclusions and insights drawn from survey data contributed by registered Virtual Vocations members. This voluntary survey was conducted during March 2019 as part of Virtual Vocations’ annual Telecommute Week celebration.
From March 18-23, 2019, registered Virtual Vocations members were invited to participate in a survey to help the company better understand remote work ideologies, goals, and motivators experienced by current telecommuters and telecommute jobseekers within various age ranges.
How Millennials Telework
Millennials are adults age 23-38 as of 2019.
Millennial Generation at a Glance
- 61.4% would telework from a coffee shop or co-working space
- 79.5% say a remote job is a primary source of income
- 46.4% regularly care for children or a family member at home
- 59.1% report that schedule flexibility is why they want to telework
- 66.5% are willing to at least occasionally travel for work
- 47.4% search for remote jobs on job boards like Virtual Vocations
Millennial Remote Work Experience
- 27.4% have no remote work experience
- 19.5% have less than one year of telecommuting experience
- 24.2% have one to two years of telework experience
- 8.4% have three to four years of experience in working from home
- 20.5% have five or more years of remote work experience
What Millennials Say About Working Remotely
I do not believe my desire to work from home stemmed from being a millennial. Because I moved around extensively in my late teens/early 20s, it made sense to have a job where I could pack up and go.
—Shannon Howard, Content Producer, The Predictive Index
Flexibility is the number one benefit remote work provides. Having the ability to schedule your own hours, days, weeks, etc. is life changing.
—Taylor Gmahling, Marketing Team, Museum Hack
How Gen-Xers Telework
Gen-Xers are adults age 39-54 as of 2019.
Gen-X Generation at a Glance
- 53.0% would telework from a coffee shop or co-working space
- 80.0% say a remote job is a primary source of income
- 35.7% regularly care for children or a family member at home
- 56.5% report that schedule flexibility is why they want to telework
- 70.1% are willing to at least occasionally travel for work
- 48.2% search for remote jobs on job boards like Virtual Vocations
Generation X Remote Work Experience
- 24.0% have no remote work experience
- 15.6% have less than one year of telecommuting experience
- 17.1% have one to two years of telework experience
- 12.7% have three to four years of experience in working from home
- 30.6% have five or more years of remote work experience
What Gen-Xers Say About Working Remotely
As a member of Gen-X, I’m probably part of the first generation who saw home working become a viable option. For me, it’s all about the work-life balance. Working from home is one way to ensure I spend plenty of time with my children.
—Ben Taylor, Founder, HomeWorkingClub.com
I have lived a very ‘Gen-X’ life…As a result of this very unconventional lifestyle…I was over 40 years of age before I really got my working life back on track, and this would not have been possible without the wonders of the internet and remote working.
—Douglas Crawford, Senior Staff Writer/Tech Specialist, ProPrivacy
How Baby Boomers Telework
Baby Boomers are adults age 55-73 as of 2019.
Baby Boomer Generation at a Glance
- 37.8% would telework from a coffee shop or co-working space
- 61.4% say a remote job is a primary source of income
- 9.8% regularly care for children or a family member at home
- 58.4% report that schedule flexibility is why they want to telework
- 65.9% are willing to at least occasionally travel for work
- 58.8% search for remote jobs on job boards like Virtual Vocations
Baby Boomer Remote Work Experience
- 25.0% have no remote work experience
- 12.5% have less than one year of telecommuting experience
- 11.1% have one to two years of telework experience
- 14.2% have three to four years of experience in working from home
- 37.2% have five or more years of remote work experience
What Baby Boomers Say About Working Remotely
I’ve been working remotely since 2015. As a 59-year-old woman, I’ve found it to be the most freeing decision of my life. With remote work, I learned that tech solutions like Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Trello made communication far more streamlined and accessible than did working in the same building.
—Marcia Noyes, Freelancer, On LinkedIn
The main benefit working from home gives me is that the day and the work day are seamless. Difficulty in fitting work into life is greatly reduced as artificial and arbitrary schedules created by organizational processes vanish.
—Phil Paige, Photographer, Phil Paige Photography
Generational Remote Work Statistics Comparisons
Top Remote Job Fields
These telecommute-friendly career categories are the preferred remote job fields of Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers are most interested in remote healthcare careers. Among GenXers, writing and editing remote jobs are most popular. Millennials, however, are most interested in information technology-based positions.
Information technology and healthcare tied for the first place ranking among all telecommuting industries preferred by the target generational groups.
Highest Education Levels Per Generation
The Millennial generation has the highest percentage of bachelor’s degree holders. More than 42% of survey respondents have bachelor’s degrees and another 30% of Millennials have already gone on to earn advanced degrees.
Among all respondent groups, the percentage of earned advanced degrees is highest among Generation X. More than 35% of respondents reported advanced degrees as their highest level of education.
Vocational training and technical degrees are most prevalent among Baby Boomers. In addition, more than 90% of Boomers stated they have attained at least some college-level education or individual course study.
The oldest and youngest generations are interested in combining work and travel. Virtual Vocations defined the ‘Digital Nomad lifestyle’ as “traveling and working remotely continuously.”
When polled about the Digital Nomad lifestyle, 87% of Millennials and 84% of Baby Boomers claimed to be interested in the Digital Nomad lifestyle or learning more about it.
What a Digital Nomad Has to Say about Remote Work
When I graduated from university with a double major in finance and music, I was thinking to combine a passion with something practical. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this intersection of enthusiasm, talent, and pragmatism is the ideal fit for a digital nomad.
—Eric Schad, Millennial, Freelance Contributor to Virtual Vocations
Should Telework Come Standard?
According to our survey, 98.6% of Millennials and Baby Boomers overwhelmingly feel remote work should be a standard job benefit or option with companies that have positions conducive to working remotely.
Gen-Xers were asked about changing needs and tech-focused work culture. Nearly one-third say the ability to telecommute could influence their future job pursuits.
- 53% of Gen-Xers want to transition from their current career paths to those more amiable to remote work
- 21% of Gen-Xers feel pushed out of their careers by younger generations with more long-term exposure to technology
What a Gen-Xer Has to Say about Remote Work
Having been thrust into the population of those caring for young children and aged parents, working remotely has given me so much more flexibility to deal with what life has thrown at my family.
—Sarah Hill, Gen-X, Company Research Department Manager, Virtual Vocations
About Virtual Vocations
Virtual Vocations, Inc. is the number one online job board posting telecommute-only jobs. It is a 100% virtual company with an objective to help jobseekers find high-quality telecommuting job leads safely, easily, and quickly. All jobs posted to the Virtual Vocations job board have been reviewed by a minimum of three staff members to ensure the job postings are from reputable companies in a wide range of industries.
During 2018, the Virtual Vocations team screened more than 1 million potential remote jobs, added 240,977 remote job postings to the Virtual Vocations job board, and vetted 6,192 new companies.
In addition to its job board, Virtual Vocations offers a suite of telecommute job search services including:
- Curated Telecommute Companies Database featuring profiles of companies known for hiring remote workers
- Career Services like resumé reviews and rewrites, cover letter writing, and LinkedIn profile writing
- Informative blog that publishes telework statistical reports, career advice, and remote job search tips to its blog
Virtual Vocations was co-founded by Laura Spawn, CEO, and Adam Stevenson, CTO.