Remote work during COVID-19 was impacted by education levels

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Think back to 2020. Do you remember your first Zoom call? Or the first time you wore pajama pants during a video meeting? Or when your boss was introduced to your cat as it walked in front of the camera?

These were some of the common experiences many workers had as they worked remote for the first time. But they weren’t shared experiences for everyone.

Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that a worker’s education level was a key indicator of whether they had the opportunity to work remotely.

“Workers with higher levels of educational attainment were more likely to have teleworked because of the pandemic,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2020, 53.5% of Americans with a bachelor’s degree were working from home. That number increased to 68.9% for those with advanced degrees.

But the numbers dropped precipitously outside of that group, as 25.1% of workers with “some college or associate degree” worked remotely in May 2020. And those that didn’t get a high school diploma? Only 5.2% had jobs that allowed them to work from home at the height of the pandemic.

Fast-forward to April 2022, and the percentage of remote workers has decreased across the country, but those distinct educational differences remain.

13.9% of those with a bachelor’s degree are still working remotely, compared with 17.7% of those with advanced degrees. But the percentage of those who haven’t received a high school diploma that are teleworking has dropped down to just 1.2%.

See how the numbers have changed in the interactive graphic below.

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