Real estate, pharmaceuticals on list of top industries hiring remote workers in 2017

Some unexpected industries topped a ranking of industries where remote workers are likely to be in demand in 2017. 

After analyzing 100,000 job listings from 2016, FlexJobs found several industries where postings for remote positions increased by 20 percent or more during the year, CNBC reported. These were: mortgage and real estate, human resources and recruiting, accounting and finance, pharmaceuticals and education and training. 

Remote work is popularly associated with technology jobs, but the site maintains that there is growing demand for more flexible arrangements across a range of industries. Accounting and finance, for example, are hiring for remote accountants and bookkeepers, FlexJobs found. 

A study commissioned by the Freelancers Union and Upwork found that 55 million people did freelance work in 2016, representing 35 percent of the total U.S. workforce. 

"The freelance workforce is the fastest-growing component of the economy," said Louis Hyman, director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. 

The study also found that freelance workers earned a total of $1 trillion in 2016, and that 63 percent of freelance workers took on such work by choice, up from 53 percent in 2014. 

Some unexpected industries topped a ranking of industries where remote workers are likely to be in demand in 2017.