These 20 cities are remote work hotspots

·3 min read

In a recent LinkedIn ranking of the top 20 cities for remote work, Cape Coral, Fla., Charleston, S.C., Tampa Bay area, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., took the top 5 spots among major metros.

Among smaller cities with a population below 100,000, Bend, Ore., Asheville, N.C., Wilmington, Del., Johnson City, Tenn., and Eugene, Ore., ranked highest. New York and San Francisco, accustomed to being job seeker hotspots, came in last.

LinkedIn analyzed more than 49 million remote job applications in the 12-month period through August 2021; during that time frame, the overall national rate for remote-job applications on LinkedIn was 21.3%.

LinkedIn graphic
Source: LinkedIn

Remote listings attracted 41.8% of Bend residents’ applications for jobs featured on LinkedIn. And on the list of larger metros, out of a total number of job applications from Cape Coral, Fla., residents, 33.1% were for remote work opportunities.

The places where residents expressed the strongest interest in remote work are also popular vacation destinations. “Your cost of living goes down, but the beach is closer,” said George Anders, LinkedIn’s senior editor at large. “For a lot of people this is just a better deal. You live where you want and then you look for work somewhere else. And thanks to laptops and Skype and everything else you’ve got the ability to stay connected and get a job that could be a thousand miles away from where you’re living.”

Though warm weather isn't the only reason the Sunshine State takes four of the five top spots in LinkedIn’s ranking. The state is home to Disney World and a robust hospitality industry, which has been hurt by the pandemic.

“With the pandemic, a lot of those jobs have kind of been constricted. Fewer tourists have come. Places aren’t open as much,” said Anders. “So people need work even if they’re already living there. They haven’t made a move. They’re going ‘where else can I get employed? What can I do?”

The annual average unemployment rate for Florida in 2020 in the hospitality industry was 18.2%, a sharp rise from 3.4% in 2019. The overall unemployment rate in Florida in August was 5%, compared to 5.2% nationally.

Florida doesn’t tax personal income, no doubt another reason it has attracted workers and businesses from higher-tax states during the pandemic.

“The nice thing about remote work is you can tap into things like medical billing. You can tap into blogging, social media work, software engineering,” said Anders. “There are a lot of fields that you can do now without being in the same zip code or even the same time zone as your boss.”

New York and San Francisco, known for having sky-high house prices, rank last in terms of remote work interest because “what you’re looking at in the remote spectrum is not really going to meet your rent,” says Anders. “Remote work is solid, it’s good, but if you’re looking for six figures, that’s a lot harder to make happen.”

Overall, job applications for remote work have spiked on LinkedIn: 30.2% of job applications in August were for remote work jobs, a nearly tenfold increase from January 2020.

“It’s a hard competition and in some cases we’re talking about more than 100 people going for the same job, but someone has to get hired and hopefully it’s you,” said Anders, who shared tips for job seekers.

“If you want to make your application stand out, you’ve got to do all the classic things,” he said. “Make sure you’ve got the right keywords in your resume, reply early, follow up, see if you can get that first interview, get a sense of the schedule with them of when it’s going to be.”

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