Do remote jobs pay less that onsite jobs? Get the facts about remote jobs and find out how you can get paid what you're worth.

Do Remote Jobs Pay Less Than Onsite Jobs?

Working remotely comes with a variety of advantages. Flexibility, work-life balance, and lower environmental impact are just a few of the benefits that come along with cutting the commute. But what about pay? Do a quick internet search, and you’ll find inconclusive results. Some publications reveal that employees are accepting lower pay to work from home while others show an increase in wages for the everyday telecommuter. So the question remains: do remote jobs pay less than onsite positions? Find out why you might — or might not — be making less in the home office.

Do Remote Jobs Pay Less?

The answer is a resounding maybe. Several factors impact whether remote jobs pay less or more, and individual experiences may be vastly different. Whether a remote worker makes more or less depends on the type of job and industry, the employer’s financial situation and policies, and how much workers value working from home.

A Quick Look at the Statistics

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t compile earnings stats for remote workers, but the median wage for all U.S. workers was $1,070 per week as of October 2022. This equates to an annual salary of $55,640, which is the highest ever recorded.

Finding median remote work pay isn’t nearly as easy; it’s mostly based on survey results instead of hard data. Still the results are certainly interesting:

  • One statistic from Ziprecruiter approximates the average annual remote worker wage at $63,227 based on survey results from thousands of participants.
  • Hired’s State of Tech Report shows that remote IT workers earn $3,000 more than onsite workers.
  • Professional services firm Gusto reported that remote workers earn 17% to 58% more than onsite employees.

So do remote jobs pay less? The statistics may not be a 100% accurate representation, but according to these, they don’t. Remote workers may actually earn more than their onsite counterparts. However, there’s more to the situation than meets the eye.

Variance Among Industries and Employers

Certain IT workers — such as developers — can earn up to 40% more working from home than in an office. Other workers may see the same earnings as when they worked in the office, but this can lead to more income as things like commuting, gas, and car maintenance no longer add to annual expenses.

However, other industries are far more likely to employ hybrid work arrangements or eliminate remote work altogether based on their policies, office space, and fiscal responsibilities. Some employers may offer remote work, but only if the employee agrees to a pay cut.

In a new turn of events, employers might compensate workers based on the cost of living in their area. This means that a worker living in New York City doing the same job as someone in Boise would make more — but it’s all relative to living expenses.

The Employer Perspective

Wage growth has been a hotly contested issue in the United States for decades. When adjusted for inflation, wage growth has only been about 6.2% from 1960 to 2020. However, this only tells half the story. In the post-COVID era, employers are dealing with much more than employees who want higher wages. They also have to strategize how to overcome inflation, supply chain issues, and skilled labor shortages in certain industries.

From the employer perspective, the only true way to keep costs reasonable without taking losses or having dips in revenue is to moderate wages. However, many companies also have buildings that they own or lease, adding to overhead. In addition, some companies have deeply rooted conviction in the benefits of having people at the office — regardless of the changing opinion on remote work.

As a result, employers are far more likely to use remote work as a bargaining chip to moderate wage growth. Whether they’re actually for or against remote work is moot. It’s all about limiting costs on the balance sheet.

The Employee Perspective

After getting a taste of the work from home life during COVID, employees can’t get enough. With work-life balance, flexibility, and a comfy wardrobe, the idea of a relaxing remote schedule has become a top priority for around 90% of workers.

But some eye-popping stats show that employees want to work remotely so badly that their earnings may suffer. Around 50% of employees are willing to take a 5% pay cut to work from home, yet some workers have stated they would take up to a 50% reduction in pay.

The key is to find a comfortable medium. Even in two-income households, taking a 50% hit to your pay just to stay home probably isn’t the best idea for your career or your finances. Even a 5% pay cut during a 10% increase in inflation over one year and an impending recession isn’t all that savvy of a move either.

Remote work is certainly an important perk, but the key is balance. Obviously, your happiness and well-being trumps money, but you still need to strike a comfortable medium to ensure your mental state and financial situation remain steady.

How to Maximize Your Earnings as a Remote Worker

Although experience, education, and referrals play an integral role in your earnings, you can make a few other adjustments or changes to maximize your salary. Here are a few tips and hacks to get you started:

  • Always negotiate your salary for a new job. Use websites such as, PayScale, or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • If you didn’t negotiate your salary, the next step is to ask for a raise if you’re making less than you want or anticipated initially. On average, you should ask for a raise every one to two years, especially if your current employer doesn’t automatically give you one.
  • Don’t accept a pay cut just to work at home. In general, most employers are willing to negotiate a remote work arrangement without you taking a hit on your earnings. You can bring up things such as lower utilities, office supply usage, and overhead as reasons why you’re actually saving the company money by working remotely. You can also talk about what you bring to the table in terms of experience and contributions — two of the most vital aspects to an employer.
  • Discuss other forms of compensation. Maybe your employer is more receptive to a hybrid work arrangement, perks, or other benefits. You never know if you don’t ask.

You can use any or all of these tips to help you earn more, or you can come up with other selling points on your own. Do remote jobs pay less? Only if you let them. It’s entirely up to you.

Let Virtual Vocations Find a Job With the Pay You Want

Hopefully, you’ve found your answer if you’ve been asking, “do remote jobs pay less?” So if you find that your current employer isn’t meeting your salary requirements, testing the waters may help you find the compensation you desire. Thankfully, Virtual Vocations enables you to search for jobs while also harnessing the power of remote-work-related tools. With a job board with tens of thousands of listings, a career center, and career services, you have everything you need to turn a higher-paying job into a reality. Sign up today to see how Virtual Vocations can help you realize your earnings potential.

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