Talent   //   November 15, 2022

Air analyst, meme master, gag gift developer: the list of bizarre remote jobs continues to grow

Covid-19 normalized working from home as it expanded our perception of the sort of jobs that can be performed remotely.

It also gave way to some downright wacky sounding ways to make a living.

From “air and noise analyst” to “meme master,” the career support service FlexJobs has published a list of 100 surprising remote and hybrid jobs to emerge during the pandemic, ranging from entry-level to senior roles and encompassing a range of industries.

“One of the biggest changes over the past three years is that remote work has grown significantly, and many employers want to continue using it in some capacity,” said Toni Frana, career services manager at FlexJobs. “For job seekers, this means more remote work opportunities than ever before, including remote-capable, specialized jobs, or roles that may not have had remote work options in the past.”

While cloud-based technology and platforms like Zoom, Slack and Google Workspace facilitated the rise of remote work, an even greater factor is the growing acceptance that many jobs can be done from home, often more productively and more effectively, as Frana sees it.

Remote job opportunities soared during the pandemic, with remote positions this past February accounting for 20% of all available jobs in the U.S., a record high, and making up fully half of all job applications, according to a LinkedIn study. But such jobs aren’t as plentiful as they once were, with remote jobs in September amounting to 14% of advertised roles — even as the number of people seeking them grew slightly.

LinkedIn’s vp of global talent acquisition Jennifer Shappley pointed out that even as the workforce faces “an uncertain future,” employees continue to value work-life balance and flexible work arrangements, both of which she expects to remain top drivers of talent. 

Even though remote jobs may be harder to come by, plenty of companies continue to advertise for them — with certain remote positions paying $100,000 per year or more. According to FlexJobs, CVS Health is the top source of remote jobs, followed by UnitedHealth Group and Affirm.

For employers seeking to build a more diverse roster of talent, remote work arrangements remain a valuable tool. Black, Hispanic and women job seekers make up a greater share of applicants for remote roles, as well as new hires, Bloomberg reported

Generally speaking, the outlook for remote jobs remains “quite strong,” said Linda Shaffer, chief people operations officer at Checkr, an employee background check platform. “With so many people now working remotely, there’s a larger pool of talent to choose from when it comes to hiring for remote positions,” she explained.

Meanwhile, despite recent softening in the remote job market overall and high-profile layoffs at Twitter, Meta and other tech companies, the complete picture for remote tech workers may not be so bleak. According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this month, tech firms added more than 20,000 jobs in October, while postings for remote tech positions year-to-date are tracking ahead of the previous two years.

As for those strange sounding jobs to emerge during the pandemic, FlexJobs’ Frana, when asked to identify some of the more surprising roles to make its list, mentioned “endangered species conservation biologist,” “celebrity relations manager” and “exercise physiologist.”

Some of the jobs would seem to be a reflection of our times — for example, “air and noise analyst,” an intriguing position that popped up on the FlexJobs site this past September with the following description: “Prepare interesting and complex environmental and regulatory analyses for a wide variety of projects throughout California. Discuss project impact, mitigation, and technical approaches with recognized statewide leaders in air quality and California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Among jobs owing to the pandemic and the social distancing it necessitated are “virtual event program manager” and “teleradiologist.” Another timely one is “meme master,” posted in October, for which the employee must “identify meme-able moments and topics, produce and design memes, and collaborate with the broader social and content team. TikTok experience and passion is a plus.”

Meanwhile, the prize for most offbeat remote job surely has to go to “gag gift and prank product developer,” which was advertised in July. The requirements: “Market research to get an idea of [a product’s] potential, rough out the concept, and work with the sourcing team to find a vendor to make it.”

“No experience needed,” the posting emphasized.