End The Salaries Disruption

Raul Popadineți
2 Sep, 2020 • 4 min read
Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

When we started building our new service back in February, we wanted to advocate for better remote jobs.

One of the problems we noticed is penalizing the best in business just because the country they live in has a lower cost of living. Honestly, we find this abominable.

We need to ensure companies start paying for the value offered. If the work someone produces is exquisite, we expect fair payment.

Many companies shift their focus to candidates from countries with lower income to receive the same value for less money. We’ve seen this pattern quite often.

Our way of thinking is on the opposite side of the boat. By having the privilege to get access to a larger pool of candidates that can offer you the best value, you should counter-weigh that with paying the highest salary the company can afford. We’re not saying you should have a minimum global salary threshold per each job, but pay everybody according to your company location. If you own a remote startup with the headquarters in Seattle, pay people within your company at least Seattle salaries, regardless of your employees or contractors’ location. Can you pay more? Please do it! In the end, everybody contributes to the well being of the company, so why not change the mentality from “high profit at all costs” to compensate them for the hard work and contribution.

Of course, billionaires will want more billions because some of them forgot about the higher purpose of why we’re doing what we’re doing. When you have the end goal money, but you haven’t defined what enough means for you, it will drag you down and blind you from everything else. It’s easy to slip away and not turn back your head to fix the unending disruption occurring within today’s work cultures.

Why aren’t people paid fairly? Simple, because profit and how much stakeholders make is the primary purpose. It’s the harsh truth that we have to admit for now. Even if we live in the 21st century, we still get back to applying the same feudalism structures we lived by for millenniums. We’re better than this.

Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, set a $70,000 minimum wage for all his employees. During the pandemic, he cut down his salary to $0, so nobody will be laid off.

Basecamp, a Chicago based company that builds the all-in-one tool for working remotely, along with the newly launched HEY email service, pays its employees top 10% San Francisco salaries based on their industry. They get that threshold based on the Radford’s compensation surveys in various industries. More companies could follow this approach to align their salaries properly. The top 10% is ideal, and it’s not feasible for most startups and firms out there. We know this, and we’re not advocating for that, but fair wages based on each person’s value added to the company.

Salaries are and will be a taboo subject for many more years to come. We can fix the disruption by advocating for transparency when it comes to job opportunities. Requiring a salary range to be set upfront is one of the few things we want to address through Fair Remote.

Nobody talks about salaries because it’s a sensitive topic. It allows leaders to negotiate and take the numbers as low as possible to get the best value for the least money. It’s a game that some hires don’t want to play because they’re not good at negotiation. Usually, the negotiation happens when you already know you want to hire the person. So they’re the best fit out of all the candidates. Is it worth playing hardball when they’re probably the best you can have? Why not avoid this inconvenience by putting the salary upfront in the job post? This way, only the people who resonate with your company culture and think the salary meet their expectation will apply for the open position. No extra stress. No negotiation game at the end. Simple as that.

Negotiating salaries was, is, and will be distressful for the majority of candidates. All companies should make an effort to uniformize their payment for the same job regardless of sex, race, or location.

If you can’t afford to pay people for a full-time job, hiring freelancers is the way to go. Don’t have a full-time job expectancy from them, though. We need to improve the habits we established for so long.

When someone prefers to live in a secluded place and work remotely from there, let them do it. When a candidate from a country with a lower income is the best fit, don’t rip them off, and give them what everybody else gets. If they have the luck to make a six-figure USD salary, that’s their merit, and the company should not have the right to take that away through a cost of living penalty.

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