Ashburn, VA | October 19, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
A new study from MBO Partners® shows that digital nomadism is the number one work trend that employers can no longer ignore. Digital nomadism, a term referencing workers who embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, has grown by 131% from the pre-pandemic year 2019. Today, 16.9 million American workers describe themselves as digital nomads. Traditional workers are the fastest-growing segment embracing this style of work. The number of digital nomads with traditional corporate jobs increased by 9% in 2022, growing from 10.2 million in 2021 to 11.1 million this year.
"The massive rise in digital nomads is just one more sign that the workforce of yesterday is gone for good,"said Miles Everson, CEO, MBO Partners. "The 'work from anywhere' trend is here to stay, and employers must take note that the power is in the hands of the worker, not the employer or client. To embrace this strong and growing population of nearly 17 million workers, look beyond the if and into the how – create and enforce a documented nomad policy, and consider how to engage flexible, blended talent teams that engage for purpose and outcomes."
The report revealed several key insights about this fast-growing segment of the American workforce, including:
- Out of the office, into the world. The number of digital nomads with traditional jobs increased by 9% in 2022, growing from 10.2 million in 2021 to 11.1 million in 2022. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, the number of digital nomads with traditional jobs has more than tripled. Taking a page from the retiree's handbook, digital nomads seek out locations with lower costs of living and favorable amenities.
- No plans to quiet quit. Eighty-one percent of digital nomads report being highly satisfied, and 11% are satisfied with their work and lifestyle. Only 3% were dissatisfied. This compares to 68% of non-digital nomads reporting being highly satisfied and 14% satisfied with their work and lifestyle. Interestingly, in terms of politics, digital nomads skew heavily Democratic (51%) vs. Republicans (23%) and Independents (23%).
- VanLife is not out of gas. VanLifers, digital nomads who travel, live and work in RVs, vans, or other vehicles converted into roaming residences, were the fastest-growing digital nomad segment, increasing 19% in 2022 and reaching 3.1 million.
- Digital nomad villages offer support. A growing support industry is making it easier to be a successful digital nomad, whether it be providing products like cross-border health insurance to assist digital nomads or digital nomad villages like Nomad Village Brazil and Digital Nomad Valley Zadar, Croatia that provide a community and infrastructure to be productive. The top challenges reported by digital nomads are personal safety (34%), being away from family and friends (32%), and managing work and travel (25%).
- The new Dreamers: Armchair Nomads. Despite aspirations, only 8-11% of those who express interest in the nomadic lifestyle will actually make the leap in the next 2-3 years. A growing group of "armchair digital nomads" will live the life through the experiences of others vs. becoming nomads themselves.
The convergence of remote work and technological improvements have been key drivers in accelerating the digital nomad trend. While the pandemic forced a change in physical work locations, it ignited an industry to support this holistic change of remote work. It was not a giant leap for workers to go from working from home to working from anywhere that technology allowed.
As evidenced by summer air travel, our appetite for travel has not diminished. Even as work requirements shift from fully remote to hybrid or in-office, digital nomadism will not be grounded. Many factors will continue to drive the growth of this trend, such as cities and countries competing to attract digital nomads, improvement in remote work technology, and companies creating digital nomad policies.
MBO Partners will release the full 2022 State of Independence study in November 2022. To obtain a copy of the brief, please visit www.mbopartners.com/state-of-independence/digital-nomads.
About MBO Partners®
MBO Partners is a deep job platform that connects and enables independent professionals and microbusiness owners to do business safely and effectively with enterprise organizations. Its unmatched experience and industry leadership enable it to operate on the forefront of the independent economy and consistently advance the next way of working. For more information, visit mbopartners.com
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