Work-from-home: 92 million jobs to be done remotely by 2030

By Makua Ubanagu

A new white paper from the World Economic Forum, in partnership with digital technology consultants Capgemini, predicts that a staggering 92 million jobs are expected to be done entirely remotely by 2030, up from the current 73 million.

Recall that the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a systemic shift in the way work is done, introducing millions, both individuals and organisations, to the concept of working from home (WFH).

“These new ways of working, if managed effectively, offer benefits,” the white paper titled ‘Realising the Potential of Global Digital Jobs‘ stated.

According to the report, the rise of technologies like cloud computing, video conferencing, and artificial intelligence has enabled seamless collaboration across borders, making remote work more viable than before, but the revolution extends beyond just the number of remote workers.

The white paper finds that increasingly, the people with the right skills and qualifications for these digital jobs will be based in lower-middle-income countries, opening up opportunities for nations with skills gaps to tap into a global talent pool.

“The World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey aggregates the views of over 10,000 executives on the availability of people with various skills across countries,” the paper explains.

The report identifies several sectors as prime candidates for remote work, including accounting, legal, finance, IT services, healthcare, marketing, advertising, communications, and cybersecurity.

However, the shift to remote working is not without its challenges. The white paper offers a framework for addressing technical, professional, and ethical issues confronting organizations looking to recruit remote digital workers.

Access to corporate hardware and high-speed internet remains a barrier in some regions.

“One solution for hardware is to allow workers to use their own devices, but in some countries – Nigeria, for example – only 38% of households own a computer,” the paper notes, suggesting that government support could help increase computer ownership.

Investing in high-speed internet infrastructure is also crucial, with the white paper proposing that “public-private partnerships can help mobilise resources and expertise and share the financial burden.”

Additionally, the paper cautions against the risks of downward wage pressure and work-life balance issues for remote workers. “In order to ensure fair wages on the employer side, it’s critical to ensure the global digital workforce is targeted towards attracting talent rather than saving costs,” it states.

To promote a healthy work-life balance, the report recommends that “promoting an inclusive work environment through initiatives such as career support and encouraging community engagement is decisive for nurturing employee wellbeing and satisfaction.”

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