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  5. Half of Americans would take a pay cut to work remotely — and many are willing to give up vacation days, survey finds

Half of Americans would take a pay cut to work remotely — and many are willing to give up vacation days, survey finds

Juliana Kaplan,Noah Sheidlower   

Half of Americans would take a pay cut to work remotely — and many are willing to give up vacation days, survey finds
  • A FlexJobs survey suggests Americans still prefer work-from-anywhere roles.
  • Many workers are willing to take pay cuts, increase working hours, or give up benefits for remote work.

It turns out that remote work is still valuable — at least for prospective employees.

A new FlexJobs survey of 4,000 workers in the US, conducted in February 2024, found that workers are clamoring for work-from-anywhere roles. If every employer offered a remote-work policy, per FlexJobs' polling, 75% of workers would take them up on it. And they're willing to pay for that ability: Half of workers surveyed said they would take a pay cut for the policy.

And it's not just pay that workers are willing to forego. Around a fifth of workers said they'd increase their working hours to work from anywhere, and 15% said they'd even give up their vacation days.

Millennials led the charge, as 69% were willing to give up something to work from anywhere. This percentage fell to 59% for Gen X and 50% for boomers.

The workers surveyed said they would give up other benefits as well — 23% would give up professional development opportunities, while 13% would voluntarily lose company-provided insurance. Another 10% said they would abandon retirement-focused company contributions.

A majority of workers also reported being willing to move elsewhere for work if given the chance to work remotely. About 41% said they would move to a different state if given the opportunity for remote work, while 40% said they would relocate to a different city. Over one in four said they would move to a different country. About 16% said they would become digital nomads and live globally. Most were motivated by lower costs of living, climate, and culture.

Data compiled by Stanford, WFH Research, and Gusto economists reveals that the share of workers living over 50 miles away from their offices increased more than five-fold from 2019 to 2023. Workers are also increasingly living further away from their offices, due both in part to people moving away from their previous bases, and companies willing to extend their candidate searches wider as remote work became more prevalent.

The willingness to take a pay cut for remote work is not a new sentiment, but it's one that's stood the test of time even as layoffs have swept many of the industries that might offer virtual opportunities. A March/April 2023 Washington Post-Ipsos poll of 1,148 workers found that 55% of remote workers would take a lower-paying role if they could stay virtual.

Workers have long valued the ability to work flexibly, with Stanford professor and work-from-home expert Nick Bloom finding that workers view the ability to work hybrid as essentially equivalent to an 8% raise.

Jay, an elder millennial, previously told Business Insider that he took a $35,000 pay cut so he wouldn't have to live near his office.

"People who sit at the computer all day, and that's literally their job — sit at a computer and review records, whether they be financial records, medical records, whatever — it can be done successfully from anywhere," he said.

But the odds may not be in favor of workers eager to log on from home. As Business Insider's Aki Ito reported, remote jobs have been receiving an onslaught of applications — in one case, the odds of landing a role were worse than those of getting into Harvard.

Have you taken a pay cut or given up other benefits to get a remote job? Contact these reporters at nsheidlower@businessinsider.com and jkaplan@businessinsider.com.


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