The old adage “Home, sweet home” takes on a new meaning for thousands of workers in the Austin metro area. Statistics compiled by Apartment List show the work-from-home population in the region grew 187 percent from 2005 to 2017 — the ninth biggest jump among the country’s 100 largest metro areas.
Apartment List’s new report also indicates the Austin area boasts the second-highest share of full-time employees in the telecommuting workforce among the 100 largest metro areas. That share was 8.3 percent in 2017, up from 4.3 percent in 2005.
Only Raleigh, North Carolina, notched a higher share of remote workers — 8.7 percent — in 2017 than Austin did. Back in 2005, Austin ranked fifth for the share of telecommuters among the country’s biggest metro areas.
“This trend is driven by workers at the upper end of the income [scale], with Austin’s remote workforce out-earning traditional commuters by 40 percent,” Chris Salviati, housing economist at Apartment List, tells CultureMap.
“Many of these remote workers are likely part of Austin’s fast-growing tech scene, which in recent years has emerged as an alternative to long-established hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle,” Salviati adds. “Flexible working arrangements and a more affordable cost of living may be tools that Austin-area employers are using to lure highly skilled knowledge workers from other parts of the country.”
Helping drive Austin’s prominence as a work-from-home hub is Round Rock-based Dell Technologies. Dell consistently appears on FlexJobs’ annual list of the top 100 companies with remote jobs. FlexJobs says Dell “has demonstrated a commitment to work flexibility for many years, offering recent work-from-home jobs like sales compensation analyst, product specialist, and senior systems engineer.”
Austin is by far the telecommuting leader among Texas’ major metro areas.
According to the Apartment List report, the 2017 share of work-from-home adults was 5.3 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth, 3.9 percent in Houston, and 3.8 percent in San Antonio. The national average in 2017 was 4.6 percent.