Remote workers have increased in number since the start of COVID-19. Many companies have had to pivot into turning their workforce into remote workers out of necessity. While many companies are now going back to in-person work, many other companies still use remote workers.
Tech giant Google is one of the companies that still have many remote workers employed with them. According to Wired, the company is looking at cutting the pay of remote workers. Of course, the workers themselves feel this is unfair, and some believe Google is looking to devalue their work. Some of these employees are choosing to leave the company rather than face a pay cut.
“I’m job hunting,” says “Mike,” a senior software engineer for Google in the northeastern US, who moved to a new home during the pandemic. (Some names have been changed in this article.) He wants to continue working for the company remotely, but the pay cut he’d have to take to do so is equivalent to losing four years of pay increases. “Any pay cut is unacceptable, and it’s been presented as a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition,” he says. “Google is telling us to vote with our feet if we don’t like the situation. I love the work we do, but that’s a lousy bargain.”
“I’m waiting to see if they back down,” Mike says, explaining that in the past Google has backtracked on pay-related decisions, specifically when it was announced that bonuses would be linked to the success of Google+. “That was deeply unpopular, and after an uproar among the employees they walked it back,” he says. In this situation, he concedes, it’s harder to predict what will happen.
Laura de Vesine, a former Google engineer, didn’t wait to find out. She left Google earlier this year when she was told her pay would be cut by 25 percent. “There was a discussion about moving our team to North Carolina, and that was originally floated as a 15 percent pay cut,” she says. At first, she thought that was reasonable, then they announced it would actually be 25. “The bait and switch was very upsetting,” she says. “And once I was angry about it, I started questioning why there was even a 15 percent cut. What is it about my work that is somehow less valuable in a different location?”
Many companies like Google face the same remote workers’ dilemma, and it will be interesting to see what comes of this situation. Check out the full articles on Wired, as they have a few other stories from remote workers at Google.