Academic Literature

COVID and Inequality – High-paid workers benefit from the home office option

Home office at full pay is not an option for all employees hit by the coronavirus crisis. To analyze changes in work arrangements during the pandemic, a team of economists from the University of Bonn, IZA and the University of Tilburg surveyed around 5,500 individuals in the Netherlands from March 20-31. The results show that high-skilled workers spend more time in the home office, while less-skilled workers are more likely to work reduced hours or lose their jobs.

Education plays a key role in terms of being able to work from home, according to new data from the COVID Impact Lab, a joint research project by the University of Bonn’s ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence and IZA. The researchers compared work arrangements at the onset of the crisis and shortly after social-distancing policies were implemented. Their data are the first to show detailed changes in the proportion of telework among different groups of employees.

High-paid workers benefit from the home office option

The total share of employees who work from home at least two hours a day has doubled from 27 to 54 percent. This is mainly driven by high-skilled workers (76 percent) while only 31 percent of low-skilled workers report at least two home office hours per week since the beginning of the crisis. For university graduates, switching to telecommuting seems relatively easy: While their share of home office hours increased from 11 to 68 percent, the share among the low-educated is only one-fifth. The latter group, instead, experienced a much larger drop in total hours (see Figure 1).

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Low-income earners suffer most from the COVID-19 crisis

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