If you are a remote worker and holding down a remote job, CNBC says, you are probably most fearful of losing your job and not being able to replace the job you lost at the wage you had earned previously. If you want to skip to the bottom, this article provides tips on ways in which remote workers can sustain middle income status and lifestyle.
Remote worker’s valid reasons for loss of middle income status
Why? Because of the following:
- the rural towns remote workers relocate to may lack comparable job opportunities in the event of job loss
- fewer remote job listings posted as the remote job vacancies advertised during the height of the Covid era (2019-2021)
- lack of corporate visibility afforded when working remote may increase the chances of layoffs
Worries of job loss and middle income status comparisons
In essence, you’ve got this foreboding feeling that your middle income status and lifestyle will always be in jeopardy. This dread of possible remote job loss is in direct contrast to:
- 59I% of traditional workers DO NOT fear potential job loss (for themselves personally or their family members)
- 80% of workers reporting to in office settings believe they could replace a lost job within 6 months or less
- 41% of in office workers report that they can find a replacement job within 1 month of job loss
Here’s the data for employees approved for a flexible work schedule while working from home:
- 24% of remote workers believe they can replace a lost job within one month
- 24% of remote workers say it would take upwards of 6 months to find a new job
Historical perspectives on loss of status of middle income wage earners
Irrespective of the view of remote workers, a number of years ago, many held the same negative sentiments about losing middle income status vis a vis middle wage job loss. For instance, in 2017, the Pew Research Center presented longitudinal data demonstrating how the middle income class from the years 1990 to 2010 grew in France, the Netherlands and the UK. While at the same time, data also revealed middle income class shrinkage in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the USA. Further, Pew Research Center compared outcomes in Europe and found overall that in seven of the 11 Western European countries studies, the overall adult population dropped.
To ensure that the findings were generalizable and comparable across nations with varying taxation policies and regulation, the researchers defined middle class as: adults over the age of 18, living in households with discretionary incomes that ranged from 2/3rd to up to two times the national median disposable household income. Included in in the disposable income category including money earned from a regular job, interest and dividends, rental properties, as well as from government assistance and family gifts and inheritance.
Shortly following, the US based Brookings Institute in 2018, published an article, “7 reasons to worry about the American middle class.” The times do not appear to have changed much. We are so filled with gloom nowadays too.
High inflation, stagnant wages, astronomically high college tuition, increased household debt, rising mortgage loan rates, and so on. You get the picture. One would think that the economic outlook prior to the pandemic was so much better. Here we were thinking to ourselves that had the pandemic not happened retailers would not be forced to close stores nationwide, small businesses would not be facing the plight of bankruptcy, and students would not be shouldering an inordinate amount of school debt.
But, in hindsight, when you go back into history and analyze the data, you’ll see that upper income and middle income economies across the globe have been contracting for years, if not decades.
Reasons middle class prospects are dire
Let me stop. I’m ruminating. Getting back to Brookings. In summary, back in 2018, here were the reasons listed for causing concern for the US middle class:
- Middle class incomes are flatlining
- Employment rates and wages overall are falling
- Future prospects for children are dimming
- Income disparities among groups of people (by race and ethnicity) as well as location (rural, city, suburban) are widening
- Sense of well-being is eroding
- Dependence of two-wage earners per household is the norm not the exception
Sectors most concerned about job insecurity and income loss
Have you heard the old adage, “when things change, everything stays the same?” If we turn back to the CNBC data, we can see that traditional workers are fearful too. Some more so than others. The following employees are concerned about job loss and job insecurity.
- 45% of workers in the food and beverage sector
- 45% of employees working in transportation
- 44% of employees in the information technology sector (many are working remote)
Income groups most concerned about job insecurity
But this data doesn’t tell us what we haven’t already written about here on this website. Using income as a barometer, however, we can see the following levels of job insecurity and anxiety among workers:
- 47% workers earning less than $49,999 annually are concerned about job loss, versus 51% not concerned
- 37% workers earning between $50,000 to $99,000 annually are concerned about job loss, versus 62% not concerned
- 30% workers earning between $100,000 to $149,999 annually are concerned about job loss, versus 70% not concerned
- 25% workers earning $150,000 or more annually are concerned about job loss, versus 74% not concerned
Tips for keeping your middle income status
Sticking with the general premise of this article, its the same old story. Just a different time. One can conclude that as we push our way up the ladder to higher status classes, the worry of losing one’s job dissipates. Conversely, the opposite occurs on the lower end of the income scale. Our concluding tips for lowering one’s feelings of loss of middle income status and lifestyle are as follows:
- to upskill in sectors where there is high demand,
- to begin earning money as soon as you can, even it part time to gain valuable employable skills and work ethic (straight out of high school)
- to negotiate to earn wages at the top of the range (within your skill and pay grade) as quickly as you can
- to diversify your income streams (freelance while working full time)
Hopefully, if you follow these tips you’ll stand the test of time and the headwinds of middle income, status and lifestyle loss, regardless of work location.
Please note. There are limitations to this article due to the varying levels of incomes earned across the globe. For instance, the World Bank takes a number of steps using this methodology to establishes a per capita gross national income (GNI), whereby each the data from each country is grouped by region, then sorts them into World Bank lending groups: high income, upper-middle-income, lower-middle income, and low-income. In this regard, upper-middle income countries and lower-middle income countries are collectively known as middle-income countries (MICs). Based upon the World Bank calculations, many of the countries covered in this article are not considered “middle income” countries. Please refer to the World Population Review report.