More and more jobs can be done from anywhere. What does that mean for workers?

Victoria Masterson
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda

  • Digital jobs that can be performed remotely from anywhere are analyzed in the newly released World Economic Forum white paper, The Rise of Global Digital Jobs.
  • By 2030, these global digital jobs are estimated to grow by around 25% to over 90 million roles.
  • Technology development will drive the growth of higher-wage roles such as software developers and financial risk specialists.

Would you like to work from anywhere?

Now you can – and remote job opportunities will continue to grow.

The rise of global digital jobs that can be performed remotely means it doesn’t matter where you’re based. In a new white paper, the World Economic Forum looks at these jobs, and what they mean for workers, employers and countries.

The rise of global digital jobs

The Rise of Global Digital Jobs, produced in collaboration with technology company Capgemini, firstly identifies jobs where all the component tasks can be completed remotely from anywhere in the world.

Then, projections for 2030 remove any tasks likely to be automated by technology. Rising and falling job expectations from the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 are also incorporated.

The bottom line is that, by 2030, the number of these global digital jobs that can be performed remotely from anywhere is expected to rise by roughly 25% to around 92 million.

Higher-income roles will predominate as technology development drives digital jobs of the future with high and mid-level wages, the report finds.

Evolution of the global digital workforce.

Global digital jobs are expected to increase by 25% in the next six years. Image: World Economic Forum

What kind of remote digital jobs are we talking about?

The types of work likely to evolve into these remote working digital jobs include higher paying roles with incomes over $75,000, based on US wage levels. Software developers, finance managers and financial risk specialists fall into this category.

Global digital jobs with middle-income pay of between $42,500 and $75,000 are expected to include remote roles such as paralegals, graphic designers and insurance investigators.

Lower-income remote digital jobs paying under $42,500 could include telemarketers, customer service representatives, and bill and account collectors.

2024 higher-wage global digital jobs and outlook.

Higher-wage global digital jobs include software developers and financial risk specialists. Image: World Economic Forum

How many global digital jobs could we see?

Using the current jobs landscape as a starting point, The paper concludes that 218 job types out of 5,400 have the potential to become global digital jobs that can be performed remotely from anywhere.

This represents 73 million global workers and 820 million workers covered in the International Labour Organization’s occupation employment statistics.

About 40% of these job types are in accounting, legal and finance roles, while customer service representatives, IT professionals and marketing, advertising and communication professionals make up roughly 10% each.

2024 job groupings.

Roles in accounting, IT, finance, customer service and marketing could become global digital jobs. Image: World Economic Forum

Digital remote working is a global opportunity. “Global digital jobs, if managed well, pose opportunities for countries, companies and workers around the world,” the Forum says.

For workers, digital jobs that can be performed remotely, alongside increasing technology access, mean working from anywhere is possible. Workers can also access more jobs.

Employers can widen their talent pool by recruiting workers regardless of geographic location. And countries can benefit from economic growth. This includes “advanced economies facing talent shortages and emerging economies facing youth bulges”.

How far away is fully remote digital working from anywhere?

Workers and jobs that “cross borders freely and virtually” are a huge opportunity – but they also bring challenges. For example, wage undercutting, job losses as roles migrate to other areas and potential obstacles from outdated tax and labour laws.

Policymakers, employers and workers need to get ahead of challenges like these, the Forum says.

For example, countries need to ensure they have the infrastructure for workers to access global digital jobs remotely. Educational and vocational training programmes for workers should be widely accessible. And competition for workers should be based on skills and talent rather than lower wages. Employers need to modernize how they manage workforces, expand their recruitment pools and embrace hybrid working.

The Forum says it will continue collaborating with Capgemini on further analysis of how to transition to this global digital workforce in a well-managed and fair way.

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