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Remote working possible for only 11% of Brazil's workforce

Researchers found that socioeconomic background affected the possibility of remote work in Brazil, with a high percentage of remote workers identifying as white women with university-level degrees.
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Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Editor on

Remote working was not a possibility for the vast majority of the population in Brazil, according to a study on the uptake of the home office format across the country in 2020.

Some 74 million people were employed in Brazil in 2020, of which 8.2 million (11%) in total worked remotely, accordin g to the research carried out by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea). However, the research points out that realities across the country's 27 states and the Federal District, where capital Brasília is located, varied significantly.

While over a fifth (23.6%) of those employed in the Federal District of Brazilians in formal employment were working remotely, the percentage in the state of Pará, in the north of the country, was 3.5%. After the Federal District, the Brazilian states with the highest percentage of remote workers were Rio de Janeiro (18.7%) and São Paulo (16%), both in the southern region of the country, followed by Paraíba (12.2%) and Ceará (10%).

"There is a significant heterogeneity of remote workers between Brazilian states, which may be a reflection of the deep structural differences in local economies and labor markets," said Ipea researcher Geraldo Góes, who co-authored the note with Felipe Martins and José Antônio Sena Nascimento.

When it comes to the profile of Brazilians working remotely in 2020, the researchers noted that even though the majority of employed Brazilian professionals are male, women represent more than half of all remote workers. In addition, there was a higher percentage of self-declared white women with higher education within remote workers across all Brazilian states.

Separate research carried out at the start of the pandemic found that remote working is unfeasible for the lower middle class and working-class poor Brazilians. According to the study, 17.5% of Brazilians from less privileged backgrounds who managed to maintain their jobs since the start of the COVID-19 crisis was able to work from home through the crisis.

The picture when it comes to executives is rather different. Another study suggests that the majority of senior professionals in Brazil would like to remain operating remotely in a post-pandemic scenario.

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