Will Remote Work Change Tech Salaries?

Working from home remote work inspirational social media lightbox message board next to laptop and coffee cup for COVID-19 quarantine closure of all businesses.

Remote work went from a once-a-week escape from the office to a plausible solution for offices everywhere. Even teachers and students transitioned from in-person tutelage to virtual calls with online-only interactions. While classes will likely return to their pre-COVID setting in a physical classroom, tech workers and other employees can transition to a permanent work from home setting. 

This change will take a little while to iron itself out as this is new territory for companies and employees. Remote work changed meeting styles, work hours, and work-life balance. One change that is still up in the air is salaries. Will remote work positively or negatively alter wages? As many tech workers opt to continue working from home, even after the pandemic, there will be many questions surrounding employees who come to the office versus those who work remotely.

The Case For No Change

The setting in which we work doesn’t change our work output. A mobile developer will still be responsible for the proper functioning of apps. Remote work opens the idea for companies to hire individuals who aren’t in the local vicinity.

Whether remotely or in the office, living in the same location as your employer makes sense because companies likely have the same values as the city’s citizens. A Chicago-based employee might offer a better understanding of the market and population of a company’s target demographic than someone out of Illinois might. Keeping a local hiring pool will permit a similar pay scale for employees and make medical benefits easier to facilitate. 

The Case For Decreased Salaries

Companies are often worried about their profits and see cutting costs, especially around employees, as a necessary part of the business. A company might offer remote workers lower wages because they don’t live in a place with a high cost of living. Some Bay Area and New York-based companies face this reality as people leave the city for economically friendly regions. 

Before COVID-19 and the quick change to remote work, employers and their employees were likely to live in the same region. Being in the same area means both the company and employee had the same idea of a liveable wage, but employees are doing the math to see how their current salary would fare in areas with lower costs of living. Employers, who don’t want to pay more than they need to, are considering lowering wages for those who have fled to more tax lenient states. Those looking to become a project manager might need to consider if working remote or in the office is worth it based on salaries and cost of living. 

The Case For Increased Salaries

Remote work offers many cost-saving opportunities for an employer—fewer offices to lease, no need for full snack bars, and a lower cost to onboard new employees. When tech workers get hired, they get a relocation package. Moving an employee and their family isn’t a cheap endeavour and might not be best for a family. Allowing a new hire to work remotely might be in the best interest of both the company and the employee. If you want to land a tech job, there are lots of free coding courses to help you get on the path to a higher salary.  

The question arises—should the employee see some of those cost savings measures reflected in their salary. Yes, the employee might benefit from working remotely, but they will also miss out on many of the amenities in the office. Employees who stay at home would incur the added cost of paying for their lunch if one was provided for them before, for example.

Another consequence of remote work is different time zones. This will cause employees to join meetings during times outside of the traditional nine-to-five. This can often be a detriment to an employee’s work-life balance and potentially their productivity. These meetings might allow for a higher salary. 

Conclusion 

It remains to be seen what the impact of remote work will have on salaries, but there will probably be a mix of results. No matter the outcome, getting the skills to gain a tech job will likely increase your salary.

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