As tens of thousands of residents in large California cities flee in search of freedom, sensible government, and lower living expenses, their Big Tech employers are looking for ways to cut their salary as punishment.
VMWare, Facebook, Twitter, and ServiceNow Inc. are some of the leading tech companies that are telling workers that their chosen city or state of residence could have an impact on their annual salary.
VMWare, for instance, now has a policy stating that workers who move out from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles will face an 8% salary reduction. Those who dare to move to Denver will have to leave behind nearly 20% of their annual salary.
Facebook has told its workers that any employees who leave large cities such as San Francisco will face a pay cut. The rate of the cut has not been determined, but the next year’s annual salary will be calculated based on one’s city of residence on January 1, 2021.
Tech companies are excusing themselves by stating that salary adjustments are made based on “cost of labor” in other cities, and complaining that employees who move out of town without input from management are making it hard for companies to hold their culture together.
Let’s be honest here: Silicon Valley companies have the resources and ability to plan virtual activities and events to keep their culture together — even though workers live in different states. One has to wonder if these companies are simply trying to keep their workers in large, liberal cities for a hidden reason, or if they’re simply trying to save money.
This isn’t really a stretch, either. There is ample evidence that leading tech companies have supported Dreamers not out of compassion, but because it’s cheaper than hiring American workers.
It’s not easy to determine if the salary reductions will cause workers to re-think their plans. However, it’s safe to say that the exodus from large, expensive California cities will continue for the foreseeable future. There is no reason for tech workers to stay in town now that many companies are switching to a permanent work from home set-up. Schools are offering online-only classes due to COVID-19, and many businesses and restaurants are shut down due to the governor’s restrictive lockdown orders.
Those who skip town are not only going to save large sums of money, but may also be able to once again enjoy daily pleasures of life such as going out for a haircut, eating a meal in a restaurant, or taking their kids to the local playground.
The one thing that is certain here is that tech workers will not be the only people to make an escape from one of the most authoritarian states in the country.