Can You Make Good Money Working Remotely?

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Telecommuting comes with the benefits of flexibility, time and money saved on a commute never taken, and of course, the ease and comfort of working from your own home — or wherever you happen to be. But all that comes with the tradeoff of lower pay, right?

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Maybe in the past, but GOBankingRates spoke to hiring and staffing professionals who say that’s simply not the case in the post-COVID world. In fact, some of the highest-paying positions — including executive-level work — are now more and more likely to be done at home than in the office, and all without any reduction in pay. So, can you make good money working remotely? Let’s find out.

For the Right Remote Candidates, the Money Is Definitely There

For the professionals who match promising candidates with the companies that are eager to hire top talent, the question of whether the right remote applicant can command top dollar has long been answered.

“Absolutely, the average person can make good money working remotely,” said Angelica Rains, founder and CEO of Groupe Insearch, a top recruiting office for Sanford Rose Associates, one of the leading recruiting firms in the U.S. “In fact, many of the highest-paid roles are remote. Offering remote work allows employers to extend their reach for top talent beyond their office location. There is obviously value to being in person. However, we live in a time where remote work not only gives flexibility but is often more productive and efficient.”

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Both the Lower Ranks and the Brass Are Migrating to the Home Office

Eric Fielder runs Blue Ocean Hire, which is also a leading office for Sanford Rose Associates. He has seen firsthand how the last two years have shifted many of the highest-paying jobs from the boardroom to the bedroom.

“The majority of the roles we hire — 90% — are all work-from-home/remote, with tremendous packages, flexibility and upside,” he said.

It’s not just the rank-and-file cashing in from home, either.

“C-level executives are also working from home on more common occasions,” Fielder said. “From COVID to now, the likelihood of people making strong wages has increased tremendously. The only potential limitation to working remotely we see is the ability for a long-term growth plan or promotion, as it is still common for employers to want executives closer to the office.”

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What Exactly Is ‘Good Money’?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average remote worker now earns $62,506 a year — that’s about $30 an hour.

There are, however, wide variations on a broad salary spectrum.

ZipRecruiter reports remote salaries as low as $18,500 and as high as $134,000, although most currently range between $34,000 in the 25th percentile and $82,500 in the 75th percentile. Top earners in the 90th percentile are earning $114,500.

ZipRecruiter surmises that this broad range “suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience.”

You Can Work From Anywhere, But the ‘Anywhere’ Part Matters

Although one of the primary draws of remote work is that anyone can do it from anywhere, where you live has a lot to do with what you can expect to make while working from home. According to the ZipRecruiter report, remote workers in the following cities earn the highest average annual salaries in the country:

  • Atkinson, Nebraska: $77,820
  • San Francisco, California: $75,622
  • Bolinas, California: $75,093
  • Fremont, California: $73,850
  • Frankston, Texas: $71,838
  • Friday Harbor, Washington: $71,832
  • San Jose, California: $71,389
  • Belle, West Virginia: $71,071
  • Oakland, California: $70,606
  • Jackson, Wyoming: $70,327
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To Stay Competitive, Employers Have Little Choice

Sally Anne Carroll, founder of Whole Life Strategies Coaching, has seen a dramatic shift in the last few years. Post-COVID employers now know that remote or at least hybrid work offerings have to be on the table to attract and retain top talent — and they can’t expect to pay those workers less.

“Flexibility with at least some remote ability is increasingly becoming top criteria for many professionals,” Carroll said. “The number of remote jobs is growing exponentially in many fields, including higher-paying industries such as tech, biosciences, media and communications, marketing and product development and management, among others.”

She concurs with both Rains and Fielder that even company brass can now do at least some of their jobs from home, although leadership roles often require at least a little face-to-face work.

“Hybrid roles exist in these and other fields, including at executive levels,” Carroll said. “For companies that have embraced the benefits of remote work, even the highest-level positions can be fully remote. In addition, companies that are working in a hybrid format post-pandemic are increasingly flexible with workers who want to negotiate a remote role or stay in their role as remote workers. There is definitely a shift in the kind of work one can expect to find in the remote world. Workers are increasingly demanding these roles for more flexibility and work-life balance, so they are here to stay.”

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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