Why we pay equal salaries, wherever you work

Remote work is here to stay and location-independent salaries are our simple, transparent and fair compensation framework for it.

Written by
AvatarThomas Paul Mann
Published on

At the end of 2021, we set ourselves a goal to have a simple, transparent, and fair compensation framework for our fully remote company. So at the start of 2022, we began paying location-independent salaries. No matter where you’re based, we pay the same salary for a role – and here’s why.

The pandemic changed the way we work forever

Of course, the topic of how to compensate remote employees fairly isn’t a new one. But when we started to grow our team in April 2020, it coincided with coronavirus, lockdowns and global uncertainty.

It seemed a natural first step to make our team fully distributed. This allowed us to expand our search from London to Europe, and hire our first employees in Norway, Germany, and Belarus. Back then we took the more traditional or conservative approach and adjusted salaries based on location, using GitLab’s compensation calculator for reference.

But as we grew the team during 2021, we saw that salaries in Europe vary heavily within countries and even cities. It was time-consuming and error-prone to research fair market values. This was frustrating for candidates and us. Plus, it felt at odds with our values to be transparent and straightforward. So we decided to pay location-independent salaries, using London - which is amongst the highest salaries for tech companies in Europe - as a reference.

Why location-independent salaries fit our culture better

We aspire to be one of the most attractive workplaces for product-minded people in Europe. To live up to this we need to attract the best people, and compensation is a big factor. We want to be upfront about this with candidates, so we share our salaries publicly when we’re hiring.

On top of that, a location-independent compensation framework better fits our company culture because:

  1. We focus on outcomes. Everything we do at Raycast is optimised to deliver an outstanding product. It doesn’t matter where someone lives or when they work. The outcome of every day, week, or month is what makes a difference. From our perspective, people who do the same work should get the same salary.
  2. We value simplicity. Hiring a remote workforce is complex. Even with tools like Deel which simplify the process, it’s still tough to align on compensation. Accurate and fair market values are time-consuming to research and often no longer represent in the hiring market.
  3. We’re transparent. We value transparency internally and externally. In the past, we aligned on compensation in the first interview call. We want to be upfront to set the right expectations. This goes both ways; we get folks excited who may have earned less in their countries but may deter talent from higher salary regions.
  4. We aim to be fair. Somebody who can negotiate well shouldn’t end up with a higher salary for doing the same job. Instead, performance and work etiquette should define compensation. So we do what we can to deliver a fair compensation model, whilst acknowledging some parts are outside our control, like local taxes.

We’re operating in a heated job market

The tech job market is very heated right now, and remote working is here to stay after the pandemic. This forces companies to expand their search radius for talent, which in turn impacts local hiring markets. People looking for work have a bigger pool of opportunities to choose from, and local salary expectations get bent. As a fully distributed company with roots in Europe, we want to be ahead of this curve.

As always, everything has trade-offs

We know this approach doesn’t come without downsides. Competitors might outbid our talent, companies in the Bay Area might pay more than us, and high salaries might impact diversity.

But compensation is only one part of a job and we believe we can offer a lot more than that at Raycast. We work on something that we use every day, hack on new things every Friday and get together on retreats once a year. We haven’t figured everything out yet, but we’re always improving our performance framework, company culture, and everything else that makes Raycast a meaningful place to work.

If this sounds interesting to you, check out our open positions. They’re all fully remote in the UTC ± 3 hours timezone.