Covid-19: How Is It Affecting Tech Salaries?

According to Buffer, 98 percent of workers said they’d like to continue working remotely. Now companies will have to decide if they’d like to implement a location-based payment or keep their salaries the same.

Elizabeth Mackenzie
Elizabeth Mackenzie

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the remote working trend was already rising. According to these statistics, 2.9 percent of the workforce in the US was working remotely. Now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this number has increased even more. Most companies were forced to shut their doors or implement remote working to avoid the disease from spreading.

Most companies have become tech-related at some point, regardless of their niche. Although there are physical jobs like plumbing or manufacturing, most companies have at least a couple of tech workers. Whether it is a digital marketer, a cybersecurity engineer, or a data scientist, we all know these professionals tend to have a considerably high salary.

Now, what will happen if most workers start working remotely? How is it going to affect tech salaries? We’ve created this guide to reveal the status of today’s tech salaries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Compensation Based on Location

Since most tech workers are working remotely, companies need to set up a fair wage for them. Most tech professionals are moving out of their homes, and it’s usually in different cities. If you think about it, each city has a different cost of living. So people with high salaries would probably move to lower-cost cities.

Imagine you’re a cybersecurity expert living in San Francisco, and you moved to Denver since the pandemic started, so you’re working remotely. According to Indeed, a cybersecurity engineer’s average salary in San Francisco is $160,000 a year. If you moved to Denver, your wage would be equivalent to over $220,000 due to Denver’s low living cost.

For that reason, many companies have started to pay their workers based on their location. That doesn’t mean that tech workers are happy with that decision. It means that some of them will have a salary reduction and nobody wants that.

According to Hired’s State of Salaries report, more than half of tech workers are not willing to have a salary reduction if their employer decides to make remote working permanent. In the same report, 90 percent of tech workers believe that their salary should remain the same regardless of remote working.

Which Companies Are Paying Based on Location?

One of the companies that started this trend was Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg announced that he’d pay his workers based on their location. Another doubt that pops up is how employers will know their employees are honest about their location. Zuckerberg also said that he’d monitor their location through their login address to check whether they’re honest or not. He recently talked about the remote worker trend: “It’s clear that Covid has changed a lot about our lives, and that certainly includes the way that most of us work. Coming out of this period, I expect that remote work is going to be a growing trend as well.”

Another company that also started paying its workers according to their location is Twitter. The company’s owner Jack Dorsey also said that they would work remotely indefinitely due to the pandemic situation. He also owns another company called Square, which is a mobile payment platform, so they’d implement location-based payments on this location as well.

Many other companies are joining the group of location-based compensation, such as Amazon or Reuters. We’ll probably see this trend growing over the upcoming months.

How is This Affecting Salaries in the Cybersecurity Sector?

Many recruiting companies have frozen their operations when it comes to hiring tech talent. Although many tech professionals aren’t that essential during the pandemic, cybersecurity engineers are Covid-proof. Since most companies are now working remotely, they need a high-tech cybersecurity system to protect their data. This has increased the demand for cybersecurity specialists.

Since their demand has increased by over 15 percent, there’ll probably be a salary increase in the industry. Sunil C. from the staffing firm TeamLease said to Economic Times: “There were a lot of open positions for cybersecurity and, in between, this Covid-19 pandemic has happened. There is an increase in demand, particularly from the Big Four consulting companies and the IT services companies catering to the BFSI sector.”

On the other hand, Qtek System’s CEO, Anand Ramakrishnan, said that hiring cybersecurity professionals will become a top priority for most companies during the quarantine. It is one thing to protect data inside the company. It is a completely different thing to control how employees handle information when they’re all working remotely.

For that reason, there might be a salary increase in the industry. According to research and advisory company Gartner, cybersecurity spending might increase by up to 2.4 percent. However, since most of the tech industry is adopting a location-based salary, it’s also important to consult each company to see if they’d be using location-based compensation or not.

Become a Covid-proof Professional and Learn a New Skill

If you’re considering getting a job in the cybersecurity industry, there are many universities and institutions where you could learn this skill. During the coronavirus pandemic, online learning is also possible. If you would like to learn cybersecurity, there are many online bootcamps you can try.

The Future Landscape of Tech Salaries

There’s too much uncertainty going on about the future. We cannot predict how long this pandemic will last, but we do know one thing; we might never go back to the previous normal. Before the pandemic, the remote working trend was already a thing, but the whole situation accelerated the process.

According to Buffer, 98 percent of workers said they’d like to continue working remotely. Now companies will have to decide if they’d like to implement a location-based payment or keep their salaries the same.

This edition will go more depth with the SCALE and IDEAS attributes. Staff on demand has been updated to include some of the latest case studies. But your copy here.
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Elizabeth is working with Career Karma (a YCombinator backed company) which is a company helping millions of people every month navigate their careers.