Sep 29, 2020 - Economy

Telework is exacerbating global inequality

Bhawani Singh, an engineer, works from his home in Delhi.

Bhawani Singh, an engineer, works from his home in Delhi. Photo: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The prolonging of remote work is hurting economies in India, Mexico, Turkey, Peru and beyond.

The big picture: These emerging nations have a smaller share of jobs that can be done remotely than the U.S. or Europe.

  • Around 37% of all jobs in America can be done from home. That jumps to 45% or more when looking just at megacities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
  • In Sweden and the United Kingdom, it's 40%, reports the BBC.
  • But in Mexico and Turkey, it's fewer than 25%

What's happening: Less than half of the world's population has a computer at home, and only around 60% has access to the internet. That means the same jobs that can be done from home in New York or London might not be telework-friendly in other cities.

  • Case in point: "An accountant in the U.S. is going to use technology very easily, and she has no problem whatsoever working from home,” Era Dabla-Norris, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, tells the BBC. “An accountant in a smaller city in India may be using a pen and paper, and have a ledger instead of a computer.”

Go deeper with this map of where the remote jobs are in the U.S.

Go deeper