Main image of article What's Driving the Dip in Remote Tech Jobs?

In February, the number of job postings for many of the most popular remote tech positions took a significant dip. That trend sparked a critical question: Is the decline in remote jobs aligned with a generalized rise in tech layoffs (and an uptick in the tech unemployment rate), or are more companies giving up on remote work?

First, let’s break down the numbers, courtesy of CompTIA’s latest Tech Jobs report. As you can see from the following chart, many popular tech jobs (including software developer/engineer, network engineer/architect, systems analyst, and web developer) saw declines in the number of remote opportunities:

But before we declare the end of remote work, let’s consider that the tech unemployment rate ticked up to 2.2 percent in February—still remarkably low, but also higher than the 1.5 percent reported in January. Across all industry sectors, tech occupations declined by 38,000 positions. Job postings for many tech positions, both remote and in-office, also notched downward; for example, all postings for software developers/engineers dipped by 14,026 between January and February. 

At the same time, though, many employers are also pushing to reintroduce their employees to the traditional office. Salesforce, Amazon, Twitter, and other tech giants have all asked their workers to return to their office desks for at least a few days per week—and when these huge companies make that kind of move, smaller organizations inevitably follow their lead. “It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a Feb. 17 memo to employees. “Of course, there will be plenty of meetings that will have significant virtual participation, but having more in-person interactions helps people absorb the culture better.”

Other CEOs have expressed similar sentiments. However, it’s equally clear that many tech professionals don’t want to lose the ability to work from home. Via a LinkedIn poll earlier this month, Dice asked a simple question: Would you quit a 100% remote job if your company issued a return-to-office mandate? Some 42 percent of respondents said they would quit, while another 45 percent said they would only stay if a hybrid work option was offered.

Employers are well aware of tech professionals’ preferences for hybrid and remote work, and so it seems unlikely these options will ever go away entirely. That aside, it’s clear that remote positions have dipped in the short term—although it remains to be seen whether that’s a side effect of companies’ broader belt-tightening, or if more executives are demanding teams back in the office.