For many people, being able to work remotely used to be an added perk.

In Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work Report, 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.

Then, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Suddenly, remote work shifted from a perk to a necessity.

Research from Stanford University found that only 26% of the U.S. workforce was working on business premises in June of 2020. The rest were either working remotely or not working at all.

In our 2020 study, we found that only 15.5% of businesses intended to go back to their offices full-time when it is safe to do so. Most will continue offering remote work to at least some of their team, and more than a quarter (26.25%) will stay fully remote.

58.25% of companies plan to combine remote and in-office work in the future

The future of work is here (quicker than most of us thought it would be), and many professionals and job seekers are keeping an eye out for the best paying remote jobs so they can continue to grow in their careers regardless of the ever-shifting landscape.

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Are high-paying remote jobs the new normal?

Even before the pandemic, high-paying remote jobs were becoming more and more prevalent. Much of that was due to increasing demand from job seekers.

A survey conducted by the International Workplace Group discovered that, when presented with two similar job offers, 80% of people would turn down the one that didn’t include flexible work options.

Most candidates will choose jobs with more flexibility

To compete for top talent, employers needed to offer more remote jobs that pay well, and those opportunities continued to rise.

But, the pandemic kicked things into high gear. Many leading companies have learned important lessons from the abrupt transition to a work-from-home model.

Some of the biggest takeaways?

Remote work can offer a boost to productivity, with 86% of remote team members rating their productivity as excellent or good. Even further, it seems like companies might not need their offices and headquarters even after the pandemic is over:

  • Nationwide announced a permanent transition to a hybrid work model, where many employees will continue to work from home.
  • Twitter stated that employees could work from home for as long as they want.
  • Nielsen is converting its offices into meeting spaces for employees (who will continue to work from home) to get together a few times per week.
  • Facebook is allowing employees to work from home indefinitely.

…and the list goes on and on.

Potential new hires want to know that the company they’re considering has a solid remote strategy. It’s a good sign if a potential employer has a remote work agreement like this one. Get the free template to see what you should expect.


With more and more companies (both big and small) moving to a remote work model for the foreseeable future, there are more opportunities than ever to find top-paying remote jobs.

Do remote jobs pay more?

Here’s the short answer: yes.

Research indicates that remote jobs pay more than traditional in-office jobs. Data from PayScale found that remote team members make 8.3% more than non-remote team members with equal experience while doing the exact same job.

Remote workers earn 8.3% more than non-remote workers

Finding remote work: Know your skillset

Since remote work is becoming the norm, your search for the best paying remote jobs will likely turn up a lot of results. That can be overwhelming if you don’t have a way to narrow those results down.

Start by understanding your own skillset so you can better identify the remote jobs that are a good match for your unique talents. Let’s dig into a few questions you should ask yourself.

1. Is remote work right for me?

Is remote work right for you?

Remote work has its advantages, but it can also present challenges in terms of motivation, communication, collaboration, and time management. Make sure you ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I enjoy a lot of social interaction in my workday?
  • Am I skilled at managing my own time and priorities?
  • Do I get distracted easily in my home environment?
  • Do I communicate proactively and thoroughly?

Those will help you determine whether or not remote work is a good fit for you long-term.

Some people find that remote work feels too isolated. They crave the social interactions of the office and struggle to make the same connections when working from home.

If someone on your team feels that way, there are things you can do to help. Learn about remoteliness here.

2. What are my skills?

To increase your chances of landing the remote job you want — especially if you’re trying to find high-paying remote jobs without a degree — it’s important that you know exactly what skills and competencies you bring to the table.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What have people always told me I’m good at?
  • What software programs and tools am I well-versed in?
  • What soft skills do I possess?

Knowing more about your talents will help you find positions where you already fulfill the requirements and can really thrive.

3. What work do I enjoy doing?

Finding a high-paying remote job is great, but money isn’t everything. You want to feel excited and passionate about the work you’re doing.

To make that happen, think through your answers to the following questions:

  • What previous projects or positions have I enjoyed?
  • What type of work makes me feel particularly challenged or frustrated?
  • If I had to do one task every day for the rest of my career, what would I choose?

You’ll identify some common trends and themes about the work you really love doing.

4. Is there a demand for my skills?

It’s important to recognize that there’s a difference between work you want to do and work that’s actually feasible. You’ll only grow frustrated if you realize there aren’t any opportunities for the type of work you want to pursue.

Once you have a better understanding of the types of remote jobs you’re looking for, try this:

  • Do some internet searches to see what types of opportunities in your field come up
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your desired field to get a better sense of the market

The things we’ve talked about so far are part of your calling. If you can find an overlap between what you’re good at, what you love, and what you can get paid to do, you’ve found your calling.

Career diagram

If you can find your career calling in a remote job, you’re more likely to experience long-term success.

5. How big of a salary do I need to support my lifestyle?

Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly an important consideration. You have real-world expenses to cover and need to find a job that meets your salary requirements.

But, that’s tough to do if you don’t know what your salary requirements are.

Do some homework to answer the following questions:

  • How much do you need to cover your monthly expenses?
  • What other financial goals do you have?
  • What’s the going salary for people in your field?

Once you have a better handle on the money side of things, it’s another criterion you can use to rule out listings and find the best remote job for you. Look for opportunities that pay fairly and will meet your personal financial goals.

The best paying remote jobs in 2021

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, you’re ready to find the highest-paying remote jobs in 2021.

US median annual income

You’re in luck because we’ve pulled together this list of well-paying remote jobs. How do we define well-paying? That term can mean something different to everyone, depending on their industry, location, and education level.

Each of the roles we’ve included here has an average salary of over $50,000. For comparison, the median annual income in the United States is around $48,672.

The positions are listed in order of their average salary (from highest to lowest) as reported by PayScale.

Infographic: best paying remote jobs in 2021

1. Development Operations (DevOps) Manager

Average salary: $118,546

As a DevOps manager, you’ll head up a team focused on the building and management of database-driven applications.

You’ll be in charge of the team and support them in completing projects, which means you’ll need prior experience as a manager or supervisor.

Risk and resource management, scheduling, and status reporting will be a part of your daily job duties.

A DevOps manager will also often maintain systems and set up vendor contracts. Additionally, you might have to assist with disaster recovery, ongoing maintenance, and stack issues.

Companies that hire DevOps managers usually look for people that have:

  • Prior team management experience
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Experience using tools like Terraform and CloudFormation
  • Knowledge of version control systems such as Git

2. Project Manager

Average salary: $95,000

As a project manager, you’ll use your organizational and communication skills to move projects from inception to completion. You’ll create project plans, allocate resources, interact with project team members and stakeholders, and monitor progress.

Your job will involve making sure projects get completed on time and on budget, as well as within scope. You’ll be responsible for managing project risks and creating risk assessment reports.

Checking in with your team through stand-up meetings will also be a daily occurrence. You’ll be in charge of balancing your team’s workload and making sure you’re utilizing all of the company’s resources optimally.

Most project manager job postings ask candidates to have the following:

  • Experience leading teams
  • Ability to maintain relationships with cross-functional teams
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Process-oriented mentality
  • Attention to detail

3. Information Technology (IT) Manager

Average salary: $88,830

As an IT manager, you’ll oversee all of your company’s technology infrastructure, as well as the team that helps roll out improvements and resolve issues. You’ll plan projects and manage a team.

Your duties will involve evaluating the company’s IT needs, assessing vendors, and selecting hardware and software. You’ll perform system audits and maintain internal servers and networks.

Most likely, you’ll need to develop an IT policy, design staff training programs, and create training documentation.

You’ll also be in charge of scheduling and supervising system updates, migrations, and upgrades.

Most IT manager jobs require the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Information Technology
  • Experience leading and managing IT teams
  • Knowledge of computer systems, network and systems administration and security, and databases
  • Ability to collaborate with vendors and cross-functional teams

4. Attorney

Average salary: $86,239

Attorneys work in a variety of fields, including criminal, family, and corporate law. You can do large parts of the job remotely. As an attorney, you’ll be advising clients, explaining legal issues, and preparing documents.

Your job will involve researching case-related evidence and details, including police and accident reports. You’ll develop case strategies and prepare pleadings and documents such as deeds, wills, and contracts.

Firms that hire attorneys usually look for people that have:

  • At least a Bachelor of Law degree
  • A license to practice law
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills

5. Product Designer

Average salary: $84,422

Remote jobs don’t just involve routine tasks like data entry—there are plenty of opportunities to innovate from home too.

As a product designer, you’re responsible for crafting and refining the user experience for a product. You’ll create prototypes, mockups, wireframes, and user journey maps.

Your job duties will involve performing research and working with user experience researchers to better understand end-users and their needs.

You’ll also be in charge of creating new product features and updates and running tests.

Most product designer job postings ask for the following:

  • A portfolio demonstrating experience in creating customer journeys, design concepts, and UI designs
  • Experience leading design teams
  • Ability to work within cross-functional teams
  • Experience using tools such as Adobe XD and Figma

6. Business Development Manager

Average salary: $74,306

Businesses don’t grow on their own — they need someone leading the charge.

As a business development manager, you’ll develop strategies to support your company in securing new customers, boosting customer loyalty and satisfaction, and increasing revenue.

Your job will be to generate new revenue and help your company grow. This will involve identifying and following up on business opportunities. You might arrange meetings, prepare sales presentations, and pitch products or services.

As a business development manager, you’ll need to have an in-depth understanding of the company’s target market and the products or services the company sells.

Since this is a manager role, you’ll also lead and train a team of business development representatives. Your daily duties will include overseeing sales pipeline growth and looking for ways to improve the company’s sales process.

Companies that hire business development managers look for candidates that have:

  • A proven track record in business development
  • Experience leading business development teams
  • Strong communication and networking skills

7. Software Developer

Average salary: $72,283

Software developers are in demand, and the field is expected to grow by 22% by 2029. In this role, you’ll write, test, and troubleshoot software applications. Because of its technical nature, it’s a job that lends itself well to remote environments.

What kind of tasks a developer is responsible for depends on the type of developer they are.

Front-end developers work on developing the visible, front-end part of an application. Back-end developers, on the other hand, are responsible for creating the logical infrastructure behind the software.

There are also full-stack developers, which are developers that have both front-end and back-end development skills.

As a software developer, you might also work on mapping out software, designing testing plans, developing quality assurance procedures, and more.

Senior developers will often be responsible for overseeing the work of junior developers and technicians.

Companies hiring developers usually look for people that have:

  • Familiarity with common development stacks
  • Ability to work cross-functionally across multiple departments
  • Strong communication and analytical skills

8. Marketing Manager

Average salary: $66,308

A marketing manager oversees the planning and execution of marketing campaigns. They come up with new marketing initiatives and approve the creation of marketing materials.

As a marketing manager, you’ll likely manage a team of individual contributors. Setting and managing your company’s marketing budget will also be among your duties. You’ll perform market research and competitive analysis.

Finally, you’ll track and analyze the performance of marketing campaigns and prepare reports.

Most marketing manager job postings ask for the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Marketing
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and implement successful marketing strategies
  • Experience leading teams
  • Strong analytical and communication skills
  • Attention to detail

9. Accountant

Average salary: $51,798

If you love numbers and are highly detail-oriented, accounting could be a great career field to pursue. As an accountant, your main job will be to organize and maintain financial records. By doing this, you’ll ensure that a company’s financial documents are accurate.

You’ll also prepare and process payroll and analyze and review budgets and expenditures. Preparing tax returns and financial reports will be a part of your regular duties.

Finally, you might be required to offer guidance on reducing company expenses.

Companies that hire accountants look for people that have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Business, or Finance
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • Knowledge of Excel and NetSuite

10. Recruiter

Average salary: $51,707

Recruiters are tasked with finding qualified employees. They’ll evaluate resumes and other application documents, complete screenings and assessments, and inform employers of the most suitable candidates for their open roles.

Some recruiters work in-house for a single employer, while others work on a contract basis. Either way, many recruiting responsibilities can be handled remotely.

Most recruiter job postings ask for the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources or Business Administration
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Knowledge of applicant tracking systems

Companies that hire remote workers

There are many companies that rely on a remote workforce, whether they use a 100% remote staff or a hybrid model with some in-office employees. Some of the most well-known and popular companies who frequently hire remote workers include:

  • Zapier
  • Apple
  • Dell
  • CapitalOne
  • Salesforce
  • United Healthcare
  • InVision
  • Basecamp
  • Microsoft
  • American Express
  • Adobe

If you’re interested in digging into more potential remote employers, check out these resources:

Additionally, don’t underestimate smaller organizations in your local area. Especially since the start of the pandemic, more and more companies have had to get comfortable with a work-from-home workforce.

That means remote jobs are no longer reserved for large, established companies or the tech sector. The chances are good that businesses in your area will allow for some remote work as well.

Where can you find remote jobs?

You’re ready to dig up some remote jobs that pay well and that are also good matches for your interests and skills. Now what? How do you know where to look?

Here are some of the best platforms for finding remote jobs:

It’s also possible to find great remote opportunities using some traditional job search platforms—like Indeed and Monster.

You’ll just need to filter your search by using keywords like “remote” or “work-from-home” and set your desired location to “flexible” or “remote.”

Tips for succeeding in a remote job

You did it. You landed the remote job of your dreams. After you’ve busted out some celebratory dance moves, you realize now is when the hard work begins. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle the responsibilities of your new role.

You can set yourself up for success in your remote job by:

  • Setting up a dedicated workspace: Choose a dedicated area in your home where you’re going to work. Not only will doing this help you stay organized, but designating a workspace will also enable you to maintain clear boundaries between your work and personal life.
  • Get the right tools: When you work remotely, you need to manage your tasks and time independently. Find software tools that help you stay on top of your workload and allow you to be efficient with your working hours.
  • Set regular check-in times: While it’s nice not to have a boss breathing down your neck, working remotely also means you can feel disconnected and less visible to your team. Make sure you schedule regular times to connect with your team and supervisor about tasks, projects, goals, and challenges.
  • Establish a shutdown time: Remote work offers a lot of flexibility in terms of where and when you’re going to work. In fact, Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work Report found that remote team members cite flexibility as the biggest benefit of working remotely. However, the lines between work time and personal time can quickly become blurred.

Try your best to stick to a schedule — especially when it comes to a “shutdown” time. This will help you unplug and disconnect from your to-do list when you need to.

The future of work is here

Remote work is no longer the exception — now, it’s more of a rule. More people are working remotely than ever before, which means there are plenty of opportunities for you to score a great remote job.

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This post was originally published in October 2018. It was updated in May 2021.