International statistics OECD: Potential for working from home varies strongly from region to region

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many people have switched to working from home. However, not all jobs allow for remote working. Hospitals, grocery stores, the construction and transportation sector: plenty of jobs require staff to be physically present.

The OECD examined the potential for working remotely in regions and cities of their member states based on data from 2018. The share of employed persons who can work from home varies across countries as well as regionally within a country. Furthermore, the potential for working from home tends to be higher in densely populated and urban areas and lower in rural areas. Additionally, people with occupations that require a higher education are more likely to be in jobs which enable remote working. The industrial composition of the regional economies can also be a relevant factor.

According to the report, the German region with the highest share of employed persons potentially able to work from home was Hamburg with 44%. In Chemnitz, the share was only 28 %. The national average was 36%.

Regional differences were more eminent in the United States. The share of jobs suitable for remote work varied from 25% (Mississippi) to 47% (District of Columbia). The national average was 32%. For other countries, the regional differences were significantly smaller, for example Canada with rates between 25% and 33% (national average: 31%). Of the 34 OECD countries, Turkey had the lowest potential for location-independent working. In contrast, in London more than every second job (54%) could be done from home.

The OECD report Regions and Cities at a Glance 2020 provides data for all 34 OECD member states (XLS) as well as other regional statistics on topics such as health, economy, climate, and environment.