What Companies Get Wrong about Remote Salaries

As companies had to adjust to remote working last year, many were open to hiring outside their location. When deciding what to pay a software engineer, most do a quick search for market rates in that area and then offer a salary around that rate.

I have been working remotely from Mexico for years and have also hired freelance software engineers and designers. I have had no shortage of work at multiples of the market rate (a few thousand dollars a month) in my area, Guadalajara, for years. If you make me an offer at market rates, I will never accept. Neither would many other engineers I have met in Guadalajara who also earn significantly more than the market rate.

Companies that are known for adjusting heavily for the cost of living, such as GitLab, tend to offer low salaries even considering market rates. Whenever I encounter this situation, I can guarantee the company is not hiring the best engineers in the area.

I recently received an email for a job that pays in the range of 110k - 170k USD. If I actively search for a job, I know I can find more offers of a similar, or better, salary range. I was 22 when I was no longer "employable" in Mexico because of the salary I demanded.

I have learned that there are two types of companies that hire remotely. The first type looks to hire engineers at a cheaper rate. The second type wants to hire the best engineers. Be the latter.