Over the past few years, the Staffing Advisors team watched, learned from, and helped our clients manage dramatic changes in work arrangements. The pendulum swung from the work-from-home revolution to increasing calls from management for a return to the office. And as it always does, the pendulum is now easing back toward the center, with hybrid schedules of one form or another becoming more common.

Amid these shifts, interest in remote job opportunities has remained remarkably high, and we don’t think that’s likely to change anytime soon. If you’re seeking a fully remote position in 2024, get ready for some competition. Here’s why.

You’re Competing Against a Much Larger Candidate Pool

When you apply for a fully remote role, you’re not just competing with local candidates; you’re competing against a national talent pool. The scale of competition depends on the organization’s hiring reach (some hire in all 50 states, some in a select few), but the equation is the same. The broader the geographic scope, the larger the candidate pool, and the higher the likelihood that you are competing with a greater number of candidates who are just as qualified as you.

The competition only gets fiercer for top-tier positions in organizations with stellar reputations or in desirable fields experiencing rapid growth. Our team regularly saw double (or more) interest in remote roles vs. hybrid positions in similar functional areas last year—from chief financial officer to marketing director. And we aren’t the only ones seeing this trend. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, remote jobs on idealist.com (the largest nonprofit job board in the U.S.) in 2023 received 4.5 times as many applications as hybrid.

There Are Fewer Fully Remote Positions Available

Many nonprofits and associations embraced remote work in response to the pandemic, but fewer are offering fully remote positions to the extent they once did. Except for the few that went fully remote organization-wide, it’s like a rubber band snapping back to its original shape. Remote jobs, once plentiful, are becoming limited again—the percentage of fully remote jobs on LinkedIn fell from 18% in 2022 to 9% in 2023. While there are exceptions to every data story, the trend is clear.

It’s a Supply and Demand Issue

An increasing number of job seekers prefer to be in the office two to three days per week, but that’s not for everyone. So even with historically low unemployment rates, a robust economy, and very few economists expecting a recession anytime soon, there are still more employees who want a fully remote role than there are employers offering one. And as long as that dynamic persists, the increased competition for good remote jobs will, too.

If you’re gearing up for a job search in 2024, remote or otherwise, here are our top resources to help you get a head start: