5 Most Popular Careers for Flexible Jobs

02/04/2014 05:09 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2014

Could we be at a turning point for flexible and telecommuting jobs, where the availability of remote work and flexible schedules finally meets the job seeker demand for flexible work options? According to some new data, we just might be.

Recently, my staff analyzed the keyword searches performed by job seekers on our site and determined the most popular job search keywords used by job seekers throughout 2013. What's so interesting about these searches is that they match the career fields most likely to offer flexible and telecommuting jobs.

People looking for telecommuting, flexible schedule, freelance and part-time jobs have identified these careers as the ones they most want to work in, and the results can tell us a lot about the state of flexible work and its future. The five most searched-for flexible jobs by job seekers are as follows:

  1. Nurse

  2. Data Entry

  3. Marketing

  4. Writer

  5. Java Developer

Each quarter, our Flexible Jobs Index tracks the job categories with the most open flexible jobs. The results stay pretty consistent quarter to quarter, and give us great insight into the companies and industries most open to flexible work options like telecommuting and flexible schedules. The top job categories for open flexible jobs usually look something like this:

  1. Medical & Health

  2. Administrative

  3. Education & Training

  4. Sales

  5. Web & Software Development

The first thing that stands out to me is how well-matched these categories of available jobs are to the types of flexible jobs being sought by professionals. Here's what this data tells me:

1. Flexible job supply is starting to match demand. With the huge growth in flexible and telecommuting jobs over the last decade, the supply of available flexible jobs is finally starting to match the demand from job seekers. 80 percent of professionals would take workplace flexibility over a getting a promotion, and in response, more companies than ever before are starting to offer flexible work arrangements.

2. Most career fields are compatible with flexible work. The huge variety in flexible job offerings, from medical jobs to software development to writing, shows that practically any career or job can be made flexible. Whether it's through telecommuting, flexible schedules, freelance opportunities, short-term work, compressed workweeks, part-time schedules or any other flexible work option, most jobs are compatible with some type of work flexibility.

3. The future of workplace flexibility is bright. Perhaps flexible jobs were once considered the exception, but they're becoming the rule at many workplaces, including these top 100 companies that offer remote work. Technology makes it easier for people to work flexible schedules, telecommute, job share, and freelance and the pace of technological innovation is opening these doors for more people than ever before.

There's still a lot of work to be done. Companies need to shift from casual flexible work options to formalized work flexibility policies. High-speed Internet needs to make its way to even the most rural places to bring these options to the workers who need them most. But the foundation is there, and data like this is proof that both companies and professionals need and can benefit from flexible jobs.

Are flexible work options like telecommuting available at your place of work? What's your experience with flexible work?