Why You Shouldn’t Pay Remote Workers Based on Where They Live

Facebook’s salary decision sets a dangerous precedent

Blair Reeves
Marker
Published in
7 min readMay 28, 2020

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Image: Hiroshi Watanabe/DigitalVision/Getty Images

I’ve been a vocal proponent of remote work for pretty much all of my career in technology — which, as it happens, started off in a fully remote gig. My belief all along has been that the distributed working model is a fundamentally disruptive technology whose clear advantages will inevitably win out.

Last week, Facebook broke open a long-running controversy over remote compensation with its announcement about letting (some) employees live wherever they want. At stake is the question of how to pay remote employees “fairly.” This hits right at the core of some basic issues that make equitable compensation such a common struggle for companies.

If it takes cutting wages to pry more tech jobs out of San Francisco or New York City so they can become available everywhere else, then so be it. Even after a 20% pay cut, folks in Winston-Salem or Jacksonville or Little Rock will probably still find the starting salary of a product marketing manager at Facebook to be competitive. The more employers we have competing over workers’ wages, the better. Expanded opportunity is always a net positive.

The business justification for employees needing to be in a…

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Blair Reeves
Marker

Product at Salesforce. Holder of strong opinions. I mostly write on my blog, BlairReeves.me, but occasionally post here too.