- Google is letting employees request to change offices or work remotely.
- Googlers face a pay cut for relocating from Silicon Valley and New York City.
- Here’s how much employees will lose depending on which city they move to.
Some Google employees have already started filing back into offices, and come January 10, all Googlers will be expected back at their desks in a new hybrid schedule. Unless, that is, they’ve asked to relocate for good.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown the benefits of remote work, and companies are having to adjust, especially in the tech industry, where competition for engineers and other technical talent is fierce.
The online search giant has said it will let employees move, depending on their team and the type of work they do, but Google employees relocating to places with a lower cost of living will face a pay cut of as much as 25% in the US.
Earlier this year, the company introduced an internal tool showing employees how much their salary would be slashed if they move permanently. Staff leaving Silicon Valley and New York City will see the biggest pay cuts.
Insider compiled data from the tool that maps out the impact of Google employees relocating from the Bay Area and New York. Workers leaving the Bay Area for other metropolitan areas in California will see a pay cut of 10%. Move to Charlotte, North Carolina, and your salary shrinks 25%.
Tech companies must handle this work transformation carefully, or they risk losing talent to rivals. Google’s solution, which allows relocation but financially punishes movers, is controversial. Some rivals, such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, are taking similar approaches. Others, including Spotify, Zillow, and Reddit, won’t cut pay if employees move. Many startups won’t change compensation either, according to a recent survey.
“Our compensation packages have always been determined by location, and we always pay at the top of the local market based on where an employee works from,” a Google spokesperson said. “Our work-location tool was developed to help employees make informed decisions about which city or state they work from and any potential increase or decrease in compensation if they choose to relocate or work remotely.”
Googlers are split on the new policy
In May, after Google employees pushed back on earlier plans to make the return to office mandatory, the company introduced the more flexible policy.
Google has already approved 85% of over 10,000 relocation requests since the tool launched, a Google spokesperson said. Of these requests, 55% came from workers asking to transfer office locations, and 45% came from employees wanting to work fully remotely. CEO Sundar Pichai expects 20% of Google employees will work remotely, 20% will work in new office locations, and 60% will go into their current office.
Employees are split on the location-based pay cuts. Some think it’s fair. Others say it’s inconsistent or risks causing workers to take jobs elsewhere.
“This is already better than expected. No point in complaining right now,” one Googler said. “Give it a few years, and if more companies do equal pay, I could see them adjusting to that pressure.”
“The remote model is BS,” another employee said. “It’s unfair for those to leave Silicon Valley and good for those that are in other places to move around or come to the Bay Area.” Employees moving to Seattle from the Bay Area will see the same pay cut as other California locations, despite Washington state not having state income tax, the person noted. Both workers asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive topic.
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