Pay Cut for Remote Work? Technologists in These Cities Say ‘Yes!’

Would technologists living in the country’s biggest tech hubs—including New York City, Silicon Valley, and Seattle—take a pay cut in order to relocate? As more companies in those localities enable their technologists to work remotely, the collective willingness to take a reduction in salary is rapidly becoming a big deal. 

Firms such as Facebook are letting their technologists pick up and move anywhere they want—with the warning that, should those employees move to an area with a lower standard of living, their salary will be reduced. Many technologists have pushed back against the idea of cuts; one anonymous employee at Hulu told Blind, which anonymously surveys the tech industry about various issues, that:

“That old way of thinking needs to die because it exploits labor. The employee’s labor provides the same value regardless of working location. The circumstances changed, so we need to force things to change as well. Don’t accept a pay cut for changing your location. Ask the company tough questions. Is my value to the company less if I live in North Carolina or Colorado? If they won’t budge, quit.”

Nonetheless, it seems that a subset of technologists are indeed willing to take a pay cut if it means they can keep their current job and move away from an ultra-expensive tech hub. According to Blind’s recent survey of 2,861 technologists, 32 percent would be willing to relocate with a pay cut of some sort. Here’s how the numbers break out for the nation’s three largest tech hubs:

That’s pretty stunning, but it’s also not the whole story. When asked how deep a pay cut they’d be willing to take, very few were willing to face more than a 10 percent reduction in pay, and virtually none could see taking a cut of more than 20 percent. In other words, a not-insignificant percentage of technologists who take a lighter paycheck in order to be able to work where they want—but they’re unwilling to face truly deep cuts.

And why should they? As the anonymous Hulu employee pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how technologists can remain incredibly effective at their jobs even if they’re working from a home office as opposed to their regular desk. If there’s no decrease in performance, and their team is communicative and productive, and their company continues to meet its deadlines and deliverables, it’s hard to argue that a cut is warranted. (There are companies that argue the whole idea of remote work is a bad one—hi, Netflix!—but that’s another story entirely.)

Blind’s data is reinforced by Dice’s own surveys of technologists, which have shown that a substantial percentage are unwilling to take a pay cut in order to work remotely: 

Of course, it’s important to remember that, while working from home has some advantages (including the ability to lock down for long stretches of productive time), technologists of all experience and skill levels need to be aware of burnout. Remote workers must keep to a schedule, make sure their personal needs are met, and ensure that they’re communicating frequently with their team; that way, they can prevent overwork and isolation.  

12 Responses to “Pay Cut for Remote Work? Technologists in These Cities Say ‘Yes!’”

  1. Who the hell brought up the prospect of pay cuts for working remotely??

    No one wants a pay cut! Why?? Because you don’t have to jump in your car and travel to an office? Don’t have to pay for gas?

    How much money would your employer save by shutting down a percentage of their office locations??

    Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should have to have a cut in pay!! Geez! What lame brain came up with that idea!!??

  2. Ditto @Ron S.

    Maybe companies should be paying an hourly bonus for commute time, and all auto costs (or other transit costs).
    The only way to ‘get ahead’ in tech anymore is to keep your wages below the federal poverty level and collect the freebies, such as they are.

  3. Doug C.

    This is BS. And if any employer is promoting this it’s wrong. Companies aren’t going to suddenly reduce their prices for products and services simply because their overhead went down. LOL it’s comical when you think about the mentality behind this article.

  4. Absolutely not. In fact remote workers should be paid more. Microsoft tooling called workplace analytics (what your employer sees) and myanalytics (what you see)which is likely in use at most corporate employers will flesh this out . Somebody from Microsoft should provide some stats. Remote workers work longer hours, pay for internet, often provide virus protection software and vpn, cellular, printers , paper , lighting, electric heat, water, sewer and save significant rent for the employer not to mention offering longer days saving the four hours daily commuting hell to and from anywhere in NYC and NJ . This all translates into a much longer work day. These articles border ridiculous and any SME working for a major corp knows same.

  5. This is how the companies meet Wall Street expectations by ripping off their workers. Working remotely, I work 8 am – 5 pm, at least, those are the working hours. My company gets an extra 5 – 7 hours per week from me that they wouldn’t get necessarily if I were at the office. There should be no cuts if people are productive. They should reward the workers who are productive because many of these companies can close their physical offices and have people work remotely.

  6. Govt pays by location. The only reason Silicon Valley pays more is because of living expenses. Ten employees do not have to stay in one apartment to save money and company breakfast, lunch and dinner for free. YES. Pay for your own food.

  7. These companies have gotten used to the profit margins they are making from shipping jobs overseas. Now they want to retain those margins by sticking it to their domestic work force when they try to get ahead by reducing their expenses.

    What’s next? Asking employees about how many square feet they live in… just in case you try to save on your living expenses by downsizing your housing. Your employer will likely want a cut of those savings. Right?

  8. Some people are already working from offsite locations like Tennessee, which is much cheaper real estate. That is 40k saving per employee. If employer can do that, no need to outsource.

  9. The whole point is getting paid a lot and cutting living expenses. How would anyone ever pay off the massive student loans they used to get trained for a technical job, if they start taking a pay cut?

  10. Don’t let the companies off the hook that DEMAND you work during the time you would have been commuting. Do they make up the time you work into the evening, forgetting to stop at the end of a regular day? If the benefits are all one sided, what is our reason to accept? This seems to be along the lines of making the boss look good while we lose. And nobody wonders what the cause of burnout is? Just fire them for lack of productivity and move on to the next future burnout. Just more ways to keep wages down, like H1B visas while bosses justify their increases as a paper shuffler, denying your raise.

  11. The relationship between compensation and a role is (or at least should be) what duties the employee will perform, factoring in expertise, and what value the organization places on that work. All other factors, including where an employee lives or their age, may allow employers to find bargains amongst candidates but that does not imply that all candidates with similar factors, including location, should work in those roles at those bargain rates.