re: Why (I think) "Cost of Living" pay for remote workers is BS. VIEW POST


This! So much this! But it not only affects remote workers within the US, it also affects international remote workers.

I live in Mexico City, where developer salaries are really low. It is the worst when a company wants to hire a remote worker from here, and offers only to pay based on cost of living, or local market rates.

I know of a lot of developers from Mexico that work remotely for US or European companies that do pay well (I'm lucky enough to be in that group), but there are also a lot of companies that get away with paying very little, just because it is a higher salary than what they would get in the local market.

For reference, a Ruby on Rails developer would get between $800, and $2000 per month depending on experience, and the company. Foreign companies could get away with paying just a bit above that.

But when you hear a developer in the US, with very similar education, experience, and skills makes 4 or even 6 times that amount, and the cost of living is only 1.5 times higher, you immediately feel undervalued.

I understand the need to adjust salary a bit to local market, but getting greedy and wanting to exploit a market that is still very undervalued, is just wrong.

I am glad that there are companies like Basecamp that pay all their remote workers based on Bay Area salaries (even the international ones). They set an amazing example.

And others like Buffer have a publicly accessible salary calculator, so you can see how your potential salary could look like. They still apply reductions based on where you live, but these reductions are not that high (it could be better, though).

My point is, if you are an international remote worker, know what your work is worth and fight for the salary you deserve.


I think the cost of living in Bay Area or worst in San Francisco is not just 1.5 time the one of mexico. Education is very expensive as well as real estate. If you come working alone with 2 childs and sell you home in mexico for one in SF, you'll see it isn't just 1.5 time more.


Oh, I was never talking about SF, when I mentioned the 1.5 times increase in cost of living. I was talking about Smalltown, USA. @sam_ferree mentions Iowa, as an example. I'm doing the same.

Salaries in the Bay Area are crazy high, because cost of living is also crazy high. That was never in question.


I know that feel. And your are lucky for working in a foreign company. I live in Yucatan, and the average salary here is not more than 600 usd / month. I luckyly work remote too, but for a local agency in Mexico City.


Feeling your pain over here. Last year I worked for three months with an European startup, they paid me around 300 euros per month. It was a Java project, involving Spring, microservices and the whole shebang. 300 euros it's a lot of money in my country but they won't get an European or American developer to get out of bed for that amount. I knew it, they knew it, I needed the money, end of story.

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