The typical 'digital nomad' is a Gen X woman, study shows
- FlexJobs surveyed 500 digital nomads to find out more about this rising group of contingent workers and found their typical profile to be a married female Gen Xer with a BA degree or higher, and working 40 hours a week in a writing, education and training, or administrative career. She's also likely to have healthcare coverage and be saving for retirement.
- FlexJobs also learned from the survey respondents that 51% live in hotels and 41% with family and friends. Only 6%, the survey reported, participate in travel programs for digital nomads, and their assignments typically last one to two weeks. One-third of respondents said they travel full-time with a spouse and only 26% have children younger than 18. Their top three means of communicating are Skype, Google Chat and GoToMeeting, and, correspondingly, their biggest challenge is finding reliable WiFi connections.
- Nearly half of the respondents earn less than their in-office counterparts, but 18% reported earning six-figures a year. At least 32% have received financial help from third-party sources, but 38% said they feel less stressed financially as digital nomads.
Workers who call themselves digital nomads are a sizable group, about 4.8 million in number, according to MBO Partners' 2018 State of Independence in America. This survey, however, describes the typical digital nomad as male, with some holding traditional jobs.
Some employers do not comprehend who works for them, let alone who digital nomads are. That can create challenges for HR professionals who want to hire more contingent workers for temporary assignments at the lowest cost possible. But the responsibility of acquiring contingent workers falls largely on individual and procurement managers, which can raise an organization's liability risk because these professionals are less likely to understand the complexities associated with legally classifying independent workers, experts have previously told HR Dive.
Legality aside, employers struggling to find talent will want to tap into the massive employee market that digital nomads provide. As flexible and remote work options gain popularity among workers as benefits, organizations are discovering how best to manage employees who rarely step foot in the office. In fact, some businesses have ditched the office entirely, becoming fully "distributed." As HR learns to work with employees with whom they rarely interact, they become more prepared to take on digital nomads, too.