Survey: Older Professionals Still the Majority of Telecommuters–But Their Skills are Underused

older professionals majority of telecommuters

2015 RemoteWork Source Exclusive Survey

While older workers are still the majority of the remote workforce our survey found that they are working in jobs far below their educational qualifications.


RemoteWork Source conducted a survey of 3,000 US and Canadian site visitors to understand their motivations for working from home, along with any drawbacks they discovered.

Contrary to recent claims that millennials are beginning to dominate the remote workforce, RemoteWork Source’s survey results show that 70 percent of remote workers are between the ages of 36 and 55; over 20 percent are over the age of 55; and millennials make up just a small percentage of the remote workers. This backs up the 2012 findings from a study by Flex + Strategy Group that middle-aged workers, not millennials, are the majority of telecommuters.

Aside from the ages of the survey participants, here is a breakdown of some other results that turned up.

Education of participants:

  • High School or GED / 17 percent
  • Vocational Certificate or Associates Degree / 20 percent
  • Undergraduate (4-year) Degree  / 25 percent
  • Graduate Degree / 30 percent
  • Post-Graduate Degree / 8 percent

Current employment type:

  • Vocational job / 31 percent
  • Para-professional job / 33 percent
  • Professional jobs / 36 percent

Reason for choosing to work from home:

  • Desire for independence / 29 percent
  • Avoiding commutes /20 percent
  • Have more time with family / 24 percent
  • Save money / 14 percent
  • Avoid office politics / 13 percent

Down side of working from home:

  • Inability to shut down from their work at a reasonable time / 40 percent
  • Family and household interruptions / 30 percent
  • Isolation from peers / 18 percent
  • Lack of company support and feedback /12 percent

Things their companies could do to help:

  • Offer them ways to interact socially with peers /30 percent
  • Provide better technology / 36 percent
  • Provide other work areas beside home of office / 17 percent
  • Give them more input during company meetings / 17 percent

“This data indicate that the skills of many older remote workers are underutilized. Perhaps because it’s so difficult to find professional opportunities on their own that match their levels of education, so they take whatever remote job they can get,” suggests RemoteWork Source’s CEO, Pamela La Gioia. “This emphasizes how important it is for services like ours to continue helping and educating people–especially older professionals.”

If you have questions or comments about this survey, please contact us.