COVID-19 and Tech Salaries
By Artur Meyster, Co-Founder of Career Karma
Coronavirus has thrown a wrench into many of our plans. Tech employees have been working from home for the past few months, and some seem to like it. But will work from home affect how much employees make? There are arguments for permanent work from home to both increase and decrease salaries. Concerns around wages may be a worry for seasoned tech workers and new coding bootcamp graduates looking for their first tech job.
It’s not news that California, the Bay Area specifically, has some of the highest costs of living in the United States. Many people, especially those emboldened by new work from home policies, are leaving California for states with fewer taxes and lower rents. The idea of remote work might open doors for job seekers across the world to be able to work for their dream company without having to relocate. The idea of receiving a California salary after graduating from a Chicago coding bootcamp and staying in Chicago might seem like a dream, or might be entirely possible.
It’s unclear what will happen when we can return to our offices. Still, some companies have already said they will reduce their employees’ wages to represent their new location if they wish to work remotely outside the Bay Area.
Working From Home Benefits Employers Too
One of the highest costs of running a business, aside from paying employees, is real estate. Companies have already been downsizing offices with co-working companies offering a reprieve from being stuck in a multi-year lease. Companies are also saving on providing snacks, free lunches, and on-site training since their employees can’t enjoy these benefits remotely. There are some arguments that salaries should go up because employers can shed some costs.
The argument could also be made that employees don’t have to commute; therefore, they are saving money too. One added cost to companies’ balance sheets is ensuring their employees have a safe Internet connection.
Is Remote Work Safe?
In any case, cybersecurity experts are now working from home, just like their hacking adversaries. It is humorous to think about a hacker and a cybersecurity expert working in the same building—maybe they are even friends!
The work for cybersecurity experts might be increasing as employees work from home. Now, instead of having to worry about the infrastructure at one office building, they have to worry about the safety of the Internet connections wherever their employees are working. Companies might have to splurge on VPNs for all their employees to reduce their vulnerabilities.
Mobile Developers On The Move
One of the trends of remote work has been getting an RV and travelling to a remote place, with a great Wifi connection, of course. A mobile developer can theoretically develop an app while being mobile. What a world! Everyone and their sisters say they love to travel. Tech jobs will continue to be high paying; even if remote work causes a dip in earnings, tech workers will still be one of the higher paying career fields.
Remote Work Will Open Doors
If companies follow Twitter’s policy of allowing all employees to work from home, there might be more opportunities for Seattle coding bootcamp graduates to work for companies in a different state. The ability to hire workers from different zip codes might cause a dip in tech salaries. If equally qualified applicants, one from Boise and the other Los Angeles, ask for greatly varying wages due to their relative cost of living, the employer might be inclined to choose the employee in Boise.
Remote work will allow more applicants to join the job field, but the real test will be the tech industry’s continued growth to support high-paying jobs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time Will Tell
As many states are still opting to have workers stay at home, it remains to be seen how salaries will be affected. Innovators and entrepreneurs will continue to develop ideas to disrupt different industries, and they will need teams of tech workers. Maybe, the concept of an office will fade away. There are also social and idea-generating benefits to having workers in a centralized location. Tech jobs will continue to be in demand. The top talent is still going to demand high salaries making the pursuit of a tech career worthwhile.