by Artur Meyster
Being able to work from anywhere in the world is one of the greatest benefits of remote work. Your daily activities will not be constrained to an office and you can travel around the world if that’s what you choose to do with your time. As long as you have a constructive schedule and enough money to fulfill your dreams, you can be anywhere at any time. If there is anything the Covid-19 pandemic has proven, it’s that not everyone finds remote work exciting. Some tech workers found the first few weeks exciting but didn’t want to continue permanently. Whatever the case might be, remote work in the Covid-19 era has changed tech salaries in the United States.
Silicon Valley Tech Workers and Remote Work
Tech workers were privileged to work from home and earn their salaries without stress. Silicon Valley, the hub for all things tech, was no different from other places. Since there are more than 2,000 tech companies in Silicon Valley, thousands of workers have been working from home for the last year. Twitter and some other tech companies have announced that remote work will become the new normal for their staff long after the virus has died off.
As stated above, remote work has been welcomed with mixed reactions. Some workers see it as a blessing while some can’t wait until things get back to normal. Facebook has announced that they will be adopting a more fluid approach to remote work. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said that they hope 50% of their workforce will be made up of remote workers in the next few years. Workers who want to keep working remotely for Facebook for at least five to ten years have applied to keep enjoying that privilege. Those who want to go back to full-time work don’t need to do anything. They can just start going to the office when it’s time.
Remote Work Allows Tech Workers to Flee the Valley
The average tech worker in Silicon Valley earns more money than tech workers in any other part of the United States. This explains why tech talent from across the globe looks for jobs in the Valley. Unfortunately, the cost of living in this area drains them of almost everything they make. For years, these workers have been forced to stay in Silicon Valley because they were unwilling to let go of the big paychecks and the extra benefits that come with working with some of the best technology companies in the world.
Now that remote work is an option, hundreds of Silicon Valley tech workers have decided to move to other states with more affordable costs of living. In response to the unprecedented rate at which workers are leaving the Valley, tech companies have started implementing relocation-based salary cuts. Some companies are cutting the salaries of workers that move out of the Valley by between 5% to 8% while others are going as high as 10% to 20%.
Facebook is removing a fixed 10% from the salary of all those relocating and their decision has encouraged almost every other tech firm in the area to adopt location-based salary cuts. VMware, the virtualization software company, has announced that it would be cutting the salaries of remote workers based on where they go. Workers who leave for San Diego or Los Angeles will have to accept 8% salary cuts. Those going to Denver will sacrifice 18% of their annual salaries if they want to keep working with the firm. The logic behind this decision is that the cost of living in Denver is far lower than the cost of living in San Diego and Los Angeles. The company also offered a one-time bonus of $1,000 to all their workers who are working from home irrespective of their location.
The Covid-19 pandemic may have given Silicon Valley tech workers a chance to work from home and even relocate to other cities but that’s not all it did. Most companies have decided to slash the salaries of any worker who decides to move to other states. Since Silicon Valley sets the standard for tech salaries in the United States, their current move to slash salaries might change the tech salary structure nationwide. Despite the slash in salaries, people are still enrolling in tech bootcamps on ComputerScienceHero.com.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech. He can be reached on Twitter and LinkedIn.