Australian Remote Workers Receiving Lower Compensation

Shouldn’t employees receive equal pay for the same job, regardless of where they live?

Recent research indicates that Australians who work remotely in regional areas may be earning less than their counterparts in urban areas.

According to a survey conducted by specialist recruiter Robert Half, over 40% of Australian employers reported paying lower salaries to remote staff due to the lower cost of living in regional areas.

Australian Remote Workers Receiving Lower Compensation
Australian Remote Workers Receiving Lower Compensation

Interestingly, an almost equal percentage of employers (41%) who hire remote workers do not differentiate pay based on location.

Cities with higher costs of living tend to offer higher pay. For instance, Sydney, known as the country’s most expensive city, has employers in New South Wales (NSW) more likely to pay city workers a different rate than remote workers. Almost half (49%) of NSW employers stated that they pay city-based staff more, and an additional 24% have plans to implement such pay differences.

Western Australia (WA) employers are also inclined to adopt a two-tier pay system (47%), given the rising cost of living in Perth.

In Queensland, there is an equal split between employers who use a two-tier pay system and those who do not (41% each). This distribution likely reflects the highly regional population already present in the state.

Victoria, which encompasses major regional centers like Ballarat and Geelong in close proximity to the metropolitan area, displays the lowest percentage (36%) of employers with a two-tier pay system.

The fairness of paying workers differently based on location remains a point of contention. Nicole Gorton, the director at Robert Half, acknowledged the evolving nature of work and the corresponding adjustments businesses need to make. She emphasized that remote workers should consider various factors, including how their salary might be affected by the company’s pay policy, when evaluating their overall job satisfaction and work-life balance.


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