The UK workforce, including tech workers, have demonstrated their ability to adapt and face new challenges during the pandemic. Tech workers are the first line of defence when a need for innovation arises. Without tech workers, business leaders would have been scratching their heads when offices were told to close in March 2020. When remote working was enforced by the UK Government, there was a greater demand for tech workers by large companies in order to keep up with online demands. As the number of security risks and cybersecurity complaints increased during the pandemic, demand for tech workers and their skills increased drastically. In 2020, tech salaries rose by 3.6% but 35% saw no change and 13% saw a salary decrease, so will remote working impact IT salaries?
Despite the idea that working from home will result in reduced productivity due to a lack of accountability, it has been found that productivity and performance have remained high amongst tech workers. It appears as though less disruption during the working day has allowed employees to get more work done, however, this does not necessarily mean that remote working, 5-days a week, is the way forward. There is a wide range of opinions on remote working, and it seems to have caused a global dilemma on whether employees should continue to work from home or not after the pandemic is over. Twitter recently made the decision that it would allow its employees to work from home forever if they wished to. As the tech industry is highly innovative, social interaction and conversations are vital for creativity and innovation amongst high-performance teams. New opportunities arise through serendipitous interactions and full-time remote working poses a threat to this. Tech companies need to face the challenge of ensuring there is interaction amongst employees and keeping remote workers involved in the company culture and developmental programs.
With around 60% of the UK population still working from home, some workers have moved to areas with cheaper living costs therefore businesses have started to re-evaluate their employee wages. It has been considered an ‘HR nightmare’ if companies are to allow employees to work from anywhere whilst still earning the same salary. Consequently, large tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have led the way by announcing location-based pay meaning your salary will depend on the average cost of living in your area. Those who moved to cheaper locations during remote working, whilst still receiving the same salary, may be at risk of a salary reduction - particularly tech workers if it is tech companies that are implementing this change first.
Location-based pay does make sense from a financial perspective, but what if you rent a small flat in the city to be close to work, but also have a larger family home further out of the city? This type of pay could create a moral dilemma for employers. It is important that businesses communicate with remote workers and gauge their opinions on the matter as this could help to reduce staff turnover. Tech companies will need to find a way to incorporate remote working into their payment models and ensure tech workers are receiving the right salary for their level of skills which are clearly in great demand.
Without remote workers, many companies would not have survived the pandemic. Whether we like it or not, remote work has been a catalyst for change in today’s society and it seems as though it is here to stay. The tech industry has advanced with every year, and 2020 was a year that demonstrated the power and importance of the industry and its workers. Tech companies should prioritise cutting their expenses in other ways before cutting salaries. The uncertainty around the future of tech salaries means businesses need to be more transparent about salaries than before to ensure tech workers feel empowered and valued. Although the answer to how IT salaries will be impacted has not been fully determined, the tech industry is growing, and the pandemic has shown us just how valuable tech workers are. At Stafffinders, we believe this value should translate into salary.
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