Survey: Employees Willing to Walk if Remote Work Means Less Compensation

While many employees want to maintain the option to work remotely post-pandemic, 83% of respondents in a recent survey said they’d leave their job if that option would result in lower compensation. Further, a vast majority (94%) believe they should be compensated based on their skill set, not their location.

Canvassing a total of more than 540 employees and employers, the Remote Work and Compensation Pulse Survey from found 48% percent of employees want to be fully remote and 44% want a hybrid work model. On the other side of the aisle, a hybrid work model has support among 51% of employers, but only 5% plan to offer a fully remote option.

But the compensation debate is sure to arise, as 92% of employers have no formal practice in place for determining pay for partially remote employees and 72% have no formal practice in place for determining pay for fully remote employees. Still, 95% of employers said they would not lower compensation for employees who continue, or transition to, working remotely. Likewise, 97% of employers indicate they will not lower an employee’s compensation if they continue, or transition to, working partially remote. For those that would adjust compensation, 21% would adjust salary with employee contribution, geographic location and concerns about culture as contributing factors.

“Remote work translates into a more fluid, and potentially volatile, market for how employees move from company to company,” says David Cross, senior compensation consultant for “This double-edged sword not only means that there’s a broader selection of talent from which to hire, but that there is also an increased retention risk to the current workforce.”

When it comes to new hires, 34% of employers said would not hire a fully remote employee in a different geographic market at the same rate as an on-site employee, but instead would take into account factors such as geographic differentials (58%), external competitiveness (67%) and cost of living (43%) when making adjustments to pay.

“One-quarter of employers indicated they will take different considerations into account when determining fully remote pay for new hires, which could create a subtle class divide between new hires and existing employees,” says Cross. “This move could have significant consequences on employee culture and retention.”