Covid-19 has accelerated the trend of remote work drastically. In a way, this pandemic served as a trial by fire for many companies. The common line of thinking was that offering work-from-home options would reduce employee productivity and negatively impact the company. In fact, companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook all put large amounts of money into building headquarters that were perceived as fun and lively.
Unfortunately for those companies, that money may have been wasted as remote work is predicted to last into the summer of 2021 at the very least. Smaller companies may not even return to in-person work as the overhead cost for maintaining a headquarters might be too much to bear. As remote work potentially becomes the norm for many companies, it will change the salaries for tech jobs in interesting ways.
Reduction in Location-Based Salaries
One commonly talked about aspect of remote work is that you don’t need to be in the same state, or even country, that your company is incorporated in. The skills you need for a job can be acquired from where you live while the job you land is in a different area. For example, someone who is taking a coding bootcamp in San Francisco can land a job in New York without having to relocate.
For the most part, this is a beneficial change. Anyone can land a job anywhere and it really expands the entire job market. However, there is an often-overlooked consequence for certain parts of the country. To give perspective, studies show Californians are often paid 12 percent higher than the national average. A portion of that higher salary, however, is attributed to the fact that housing prices in California are quite high.
As remote work expands, there will be no need to provide a slightly higher salary for tech-jobs due to location. Therefore, overall salaries may see a decline in some states as this factor is removed from the equation.
Highly Skilled Workers Will Lead to Higher Salaries Overall
As remote work grows and allows employees from all over the world to join companies, the number of skilled workers is going to increase by a wide margin. On top of that, tech skills are easier than ever to acquire due to trade schools. Popular online schools such as General Assembly offer courses in a myriad of tech fields that can prepare you for a tech job in under a year.
More employees with competitive tech skills means competitive talent. Companies are going to have to provide higher salaries to attract that talent and to retain those employees as well. A wide range of skills means that one can do a wide range of job tasks. As those tasks expand and more responsibilities are dished out to an employee, they will be expecting fair compensation.
This wider skillset will be valuable to employers and if one company doesn’t offer a higher salary, another surely will. Eventually, these higher salaries offered by companies will compound until the standard salary for tech jobs is higher than ever before.
New Career Paths
There is a certain unpredictability to tech jobs and remote work. It is inevitable that as technology advances, new jobs will appear due to automation and other factors. However, remote work is also likely to spur new and unique jobs. Becoming a virtual assistant is common in the freelancing world and is entirely remote, but pays well in some cases.
Coding and programming were relatively new skills just a few years ago, yet the average programmer’s salary now sits above $60,000. As technology and remote work continue to merge and become more refined, new career paths will emerge with unpredictable salaries to match.
Given the value of tech skills, however, it is fair to assume that the salaries will be more than respectable. These new jobs will likely use existing tech skills, such as programming, in new ways to provide value to a company.
Remote Work as a Force for Change
Companies have feared remote work for some time now, but the effects of the pandemic forced them to put their fear aside and try it out so as to remain in business. For the most part, life has continued as normal for those companies and they have seen that remote work can be beneficial. Should work-from-home become commonplace, it will be interesting to watch how salary changes develop and the factors that influence those changes.