The Covid-19 outbreak has forever changed huge aspects of our lives. The world in 2021 is a very different place from what it was in 2019, and that includes the way that we work. Throughout the pandemic, companies had no choice but to change their structure and put in place remote working technology. This has led to working-from-home being a viable alternative to the standard 9-5 office structure. Businesses have now seen the benefits of keeping their staff at home and communicating through a variety of digital channels to ensure a better stream of productivity and results. But due to this new focus on remote working, tech salaries have seen several changes. The increased need for talented, highly-skilled IT staff has led to both positives and negatives in how businesses view the acceptable pay for a digital employee. Here are a few ways in which the pandemic has influenced tech salaries in 2021.
Like all other industries, remote work has become a common practice, however in the world of IT & Tech, working from home is a much simpler solution because many digital roles function in the online world. Thus, there isn’t as strong a need to have digital employees stationed onsite as there would be for other fields.
This mindset leads to companies looking further than nearby talent for their roles. Many businesses are now looking at a wider pool of talent to find the best candidate possible. This ranges from nationwide remote workers to international talent that can remain in their country and work for a cheaper pay rate due to their nation’s cost of living.
This puts tech workers at both an advantage and a disadvantage. Though they now have a wider range of roles that they can be considered for, it means that they are now in competition with a wider cast of candidates. With more competition for salaries coming from candidates who are willing to work for different salaries, many digital workers will have to fight for the roles that they want.
Remote working isn’t for everyone. Some people are more than happy with working from home every day and communicating with their team and managers online – whereas others are much happier to come into an office. Either approach is acceptable and all comes down to the individual, but how much the person is paid often depends on how and where they’d like to work. We are noticing some disparity in the market at present, when it comes to companies’ stances on salaries for remote workers within the UK. Some businesses are freezing or even lowering their salaries, citing the reduction in commuting costs as one of the contributing factors. Elsewhere, there are other companies who are looking to continue to pay the same rates as current/previous, so as not to create salary discrepancies in their businesses. For candidates looking to work for London-based companies, this can be quite lucrative as they can be paid ‘London’ salaries anywhere else in the UK. For companies based elsewhere in the UK, there is a struggle to attract talent in London, as their salary structures tend generally to not be able to compete with the cost of living.
As we mentioned before, some companies may look at altering the standard rate of pay for a digital role depending on the country that a worker comes from. For instance, the average salary for a software developer in the UK is about £31,000, with the lowest-to-highest pay based on skills and experience being £22k-£50k. As the cost of living is so much lower in countries like Romania and Poland, companies see a benefit in being able to offer a lower salary to this international talent.
This can lead to a clash between candidates and hiring companies. Some individuals will feel that they should be paid a certain salary for a role. Conversely, businesses will feel that they don’t need to hire a certain candidate for a role if they believe that they can take on someone from a remote position whom they don’t need to pay as much.
Long-term stagnation of salaries is another issue that will become more prevalent. As the need for up-to-date and well-performing equipment has risen over the last decade, so too have tech salaries increased, but these salaries could stagnate due to companies looking at other factors that have become available due to remote working.
In a 2020 survey, it was reported that 53% of tech employees were less likely to discuss a salary increase during the pandemic. Some people may now feel differently a year later, now that many businesses are in better positions. Others may feel unsure about asking for a pay rise, due to feeling that their position may still be unsafe. This could be down to both lingering worries after the uncertainties from lockdown and furlough. It could also be due to the increased demand for remote workers and the ease it provides for companies.
The increase in remote working has opened doors for both tech workers and businesses. Candidates can now put themselves forward for several exciting roles that they may not have previously felt they could have secured. From a business perspective there is now the ability to accelerate their growth by sourcing a wider pool of talent to find the best person possible for their vacancy.
What is most important, however, is that companies ensure that they are keeping the candidate’s needs in mind. Hiring experienced, skilled staff requires providing them with the salary they feel is right for the position, whether that be someone from a nearby location or someone working internationally with different expectations.
3rd November 2021