Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
In our current cultural climate, everyone has all the reasons they need to be as offended as they could ever want to be. Wage gaps have typically been pretty high up on the list of things that might cause us to get up in arms (without bearing arms) and go to war on our keyboards, but the newest wage gap might just be the least offensive one yet.
Wage gaps have existed for as long as there have been wages, but until now, the reasons for this have been far more unsavory things, such as lack of training and minimal work experience, with race and gender topping the charts on what causes wage discrepancies. It’s been a long fight and it’s far from over. Minorities and women still tend to be underpaid and we’re still mad about it, but today we are seeing a totally different, friendlier wage gap caused by the sudden surge of companies and employees shifting their office space from the office building to the home office.
In 2020, with the onset of the COVID pandemic, 88% of businesses, world-wide, either encouraged or required employees to work from their homes or other remote locations. This trend was already on the rise as our ability to work effectively, while away from the office building, has dramatically increased in the past decade or two. Now, with our “new normal” most companies are foreseeing remote work a permanent change in the way they run their businesses.
You might be asking yourself how this has anything to do with a new wage gap. This new, improved, less offensive wage gap is being created by the fact that employees are now freer than they’ve ever been to pack their bags and move to locations that may be far from their company headquarters, and in areas with a lower cost of living. Often, the employees are taking a rate of pay more suited to high cost of living, and bringing it to these low cost areas, thus creating the modern wage gap. It’s not a gap based on any perceived superiority, but rather based on a new possibility for transient living. In fact, statistics are showing that as much as 12% (14-23 million people) of US employees are expected to relocate due to remote work. That means a migration increase of 3-4x what it was in recent history. City dwellers are 2x as likely to move due to the cost of living in cities being much higher than the cost of living in more rural areas of the country.
Eventually, this wage discrepancy is likely to balance out (a lot faster than it’s taking for minorities and women!) Some companies are already adjusting employee’s salaries based on their new home towns. Still, for now, this wage gap is continuing to emerge and, with all the other things to be justly offended over, this gap might just be the least offensive wage gap we’ve ever seen.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked