- A survey of nearly 2,000 Bay Area tech workers showed that more than one-third of them would consider leaving if they could permanently work remotely — even if they had to take a pay cut.
- The survey was conducted on Blind, a work-focused social network that allows employees of companies to participate anonymously.
- Another third said they’d be interested in leaving if they didn’t have to take a pay cut.
- The results highlight how pandemic-related work-from-home policies may help radically reshape the home of America’s tech industry.
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More than one-third of tech workers in the San Francisco Bay Area would consider leaving if they could permanently work remotely — even if that meant taking a pay cut.
A new survey of nearly 2,000 workers in the region showed that huge numbers of people were keen to relocate elsewhere and would be willing to take a financial hit to do so — highlighting how the pandemic may help to radically reshape the center of the American tech industry.
The anonymous work-focused social network Blind surveyed 1,820 workers in the region about their attitudes on remote work and pay. Thirty-five percent said they would consider relocating even if they had to take a pay cut, and another 35% said they would consider relocating only if their pay remained unchanged.
The results, which Blind shared with Business Insider, came after an earlier survey by the company of 2,800 Bay Area workers also showed that two-thirds would consider relocating permanently.
The pandemic has forced companies around the world to abruptly transition to an entirely remote workforce, and some high-profile San Francisco-headquartered tech companies — notably Twitter and the bitcoin startup Coinbase — have since announced they will allow most employees to work remotely after lockdowns end.
The tech industry has long had a troubled relationship with the Bay Area. The region is beset by issues — and the industry contributes to many of them — including a high cost of living, a major housing crisis, and terrible traffic. Now that its offices, shops, bars, and other amenities are off limits because of the pandemic, some tech workers say they have no reason to stay and are considering leaving the region, and some real-estate professionals in rival regions have said they’ve seen an uptick in interest.
On Thursday, Facebook announced it was aggressively ramping up its remote hiring and expected up to 50% of its workforce of tens of thousands of employees to be remote by 2030 — but that employees who relocate to states with cheaper living costs will face pay cuts.
It’s unclear if other companies will follow this model: Coinbase said it was still working out its policies, and Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. But it raises the question of whether workers would still find the idea of leaving the Bay Area appealing if it also meant leaving their sky-high California tech-sector salaries behind.
According to Blind’s survey, the answer for a lot of workers is yes — within limits.
Of the respondents in the survey who said they’d accept a pay cut to leave, 40% said they’d be willing to accept only a decrease of less than 10%. Forty-six percent said they’d accept a cut between 10 and 20%, while 8% said they’d take one between 20 and 30%, and only 6% said they would accept a more than 30% reduction.
The results indicate Facebook’s adjusted-pay model will reduce demand among tech workers to relocate but that a very sizeable minority of workers would still think about abandoning the region if they were able to, even if doing so hurt their bottom line.
There are limits to Blind’s data that are important to note. It can survey only users of its app, and the people who take the survey have to choose to do so. This means its sample isn’t reflective of the population and may not even be truly reflective of the entire technology industry.
But even its limited window indicates a significant interest in leaving the Bay Area among some segment of tech workers — an interest that may help transform the region in years to come.
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