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Want a More Diverse Pool of Candidates? Make Your Job Remote

Black, Hispanic and female job seekers are making up a greater share of applicants — and new hires — for roles that can be done remotely.

Despite calls from employers to return to the office, many employees, especially those from underrepresented groups, prefer to stay from home.

According to a study released on Thursday by LinkedIn, more Black, Hispanic, and female job searchers are applying for and being hired for remote-working positions than their White and male counterparts.

In contrast to a similar decline in male applications during the same time period, the platform experienced a 20% gain in the share of female applicants applying to entirely remote positions between January 2019 and October 2022.

The investigation also discovered a considerable rise in Black and Hispanic interest in those positions. LinkedIn examined 300,000 accounts each for Black and Latinx members who selected to reveal demographic information about themselves, in addition to 1 million accounts each for men and women.

According to Andrew McCaskill, a LinkedIn career expert, the importance of application rates will only rise as the number of remote positions declines.

Before March 2020, 2% of the platform’s paid job advertisements in the US were remote, according to him. During the pandemic, the percentage of remote job postings increased to 20%; it has since bottomed off at 15%. It is 12% in the UK. These jobs are still in demand because 52% of LinkedIn job seekers are interested in remote work.

More and more people want remote work, but we’re having fewer and fewer remote jobs, and more and more companies are asking people to not only not have remote jobs, but to come back into the office, McCaskill said. That disconnect might become a problem as our companies start to look at, ‘how do we attract that talent?’

Surveys revealed that during the pandemic, black workers in particular were more inclined to favor remote work, with many claiming it allowed them to avoid some of the biases they encountered at work. The pressures of job and home life have reportedly been easier to balance for women who have children.

Staying at home has drawbacks for careers. According to study, “proximity bias” still exists, where being seen in the workplace can have an impact on performance reviews, promotions, and job security. Older employers are more likely to want employees in the office. According to a recent survey, in-office coworkers are more prone to perceive remote workers as lazy.

Workers of color and women, who already face obstacles at work, may suffer if they work remotely.

Even though remote work is only one aspect of a company’s total culture, McCaskill suggests that it might be the deciding factor in whether or not to hire a diverse staff. Additionally, remote employment may increase the diversity of the application pool. He cited the fact that 57% of Black Americans reside in the south and might not want to leave behind established support networks and a particular standard of living.

Remote work opens the aperture for someone in Jacksonville, Florida, or Nashville, Tennessee, or Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to get a tech job without moving to Silicon Valley, he said. As we start to look at the talent pools and the opportunities for equity and inclusion, remote work has to be a thought process as it relates to how talent will ultimately gravitate towards companies that lean into flexibility.

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