Digital Nomadism a Growing Trend Among American Workers

Harvard Business Review reports on a three-year study on the rise of digital nomads.

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As reported by the Harvard Business Review, the dramatic and rapid shift to remote work has been perhaps the most potent trend impacting the way businesses operate since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It’s been a particular boon to one growing group of workers: digital nomads. These are people who embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work anywhere in the internet-connected world.

They may be found in an RV in the Southwest desert, an apartment in Santiago, Chile, or a cabin in Montana.

Over the past three years, Emergent Research and MBO Partners collaborated on an extensive digital nomad study. They findings included:

  • The number of Americans describing themselves as digital nomads rose from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020 — an increase of 49%.
  • In previous years, the ranks of digital nomads were dominated by independent workers: freelancers, independent contractors, and the self-employed.
  • The 2020 nomad surge was driven by people with traditional jobs.
  • The number of digital nomads with traditional jobs rose from 3.2 million in 2019 to 6.3 million in 2020 — a 96% increase.
  • Digital nomads report high levels of job satisfaction (90%) and income satisfaction (76%)

Traditional job holders now make up a majority of those pursuing this nontraditional work lifestyle.

Research also found that digital nomads are, on average, well educated, highly skilled, and digitally savvy. Because they rely on digital tools and the internet in their work, it’s not surprising that most of them are in high-demand, tech-oriented occupations; the top jobs include computer programming and IT, web design, creative fields, engineering, and digital and traditional marketing.

Click here to read the full report in the Harvard Business Review.


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