Brandon Manitoba is one of the most affordable small cities in Canada. And employers know it. In cities where cost of living is lower, wages can be often lower. It costs employees less for housing, food and transportation, especially compared to large cities like Vancouver or Toronto, so salaries can often be less. But what happens when a pandemic allows you to work from home, and inexpensive living gets even cheaper? Or in the case of Vancouver or Toronto, expensive living, simply becomes more affordable? Salary adjustments. That's what. And those adjustments are coming for everyone working from home.
Recently Mark Zuckerberg hosted a town hall with Facebook‘s 48,000 employees, most working from home. He said this: "if you plan to stay, expect a change to your pay. That means if you live in a location where the cost of living is dramatically lower, or the cost of labour is lower, then salaries do tend to be somewhat lower in those places,” he said on the videoconference, where he announced more employees would be allowed to work remotely permanently. Only one-third of Canadians working remotely expect to resume working from the office like they did before the pandemic. One in five say they'll stay at home, according to a June study from the Angus Reid Institute. Like Facebook, Canadian technology companies Shopify Inc. and Open Text Corp. have already announced more employees will soon have the option to permanently work remotely.
When GitLab offered permanent remote work it built a compensation calculator, combining a worker’s role, seniority and a rent index reflecting rent prices in the area. GitLab’s junior data engineers, for example, make between $50,936 and $68,913 if they live in Whitehorse, Yellowknife or Iqaluit, where the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the average rents for a two-bedroom home last October were $1,695, $1,100 and $2,678, respectively. That salary shoots up to anywhere from $74,359 to $100,603 for those living in Toronto, Vancouver or Victoria, where CMHC reported the average rents for a two-bedroom home last October were $1,562, $1,748 and $1,448 respectively. Thankfully in Brandon, our rents at 2/3 of that in Vancouver or Toronto.
At the end of the day, it's great to live in an affordable city like Brandon. But that affrordability could soon be reflected in your paycheck. Especially if you work from home.