Older workers, not millennials, are still the majority of the remote workforce. Survey finds, however, that they are working in jobs far below their educational qualifications.

Telework Recruiting conducted a survey of 3,000 of its US and Canadian site visitors to understand their motivations for remote work, as well as any drawbacks they discovered.  

Contrary to recent claims that millennials are beginning to dominate the remote workforce, Telework Recruiting’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.

"It's no surprise that nearly a quarter of people over age 55 express an interest in flexible work. A lot of boomers are taking care of their ailing parents at the same time that they are still taking care of their children. And many boomers hope to continue to work past traditional retirement age, but they want to do so on a flexible basis."

Nancy Collamer, Author, Second-Act Careers

"It's no surprise that nearly a quarter of people over age 55 express an interest in flexible work.” Says Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers and founder of MyLifestyleCareer.com. “A lot of boomers are taking care of their ailing parents at the same time that they are still taking care of their children. And many boomers hope to continue to work past traditional retirement age, but they want to do so on a flexible basis."

What is surprising, however, is the type of work remote workers do comparable to their levels of education. Telework Recruiting found that thirty-eight percent hold graduate and postgraduate degrees, 25 percent have undergraduate degrees, while only 27 percent possess an associates degree or lower. Yet just 36 percent said they were working in professional jobs (e.g. telepsychiatrist); 33 percent held paraprofessional positions (e.g. online tutoring); and 31 percent work in a vocation (e.g. customer service).

“This shows that the skills of many remote workers are underutilized. This may be because they are unaware that there are opportunities that match their levels of education that will allow them to work from home, so they take whatever work at home job they can get,” suggests Telework Recruiting’s CEO, Pamela La Gioia

According to the survey the top reasons older employees work remotely is the desire for independence and the need to spend more time with their families instead of commuting. Although these needs were met, they were costly. Forty percent said they find it difficult to shut work down in the evenings; and 30 percent said they often struggle with family interruptions and household distractions. Eighteen percent said that working from home made them feel isolated from their colleagues and that they lacked support from their companies.


Still, respondents said they are glad they opted to work from home; however, they said, there are things their employers could do to make teleworking better. Having better virtual communication tools was their top desire, as they often feel excluded from important company meetings. Also, social interaction with their coworkers--even on a virtual level--would make remote work more meaningful for them.

​To view more detailed data from the study, visit http://www.teleworkrecruiting.com/older-professionals-majority-of-telecommuters-but-their-skills-are-underused/