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Salaries in the remote age

It's interesting to see so much debate about "wages" in the era of remote work. I've always felt there were three ways to think about pay.

Salary is either

1) Compensation

2) Market pricing

3) Value recognition.

1) Compensation

If you see salary as compensation you expect their troubles to be “compensated” with a quality of life as an exchange. It's a rather depressing word and way to think, the idea is "oh wow, work must be a bit crap, we need to ensure you're not too miserable by giving you enough money to make you stay

2)Market based

Market pricing means you don’t care so much about the person, or value roles very much on outputs, not character nor quality. This happens more often for roles that are more easily compared. A star football striker doesn't really have market pricing because he or she may be way better than others, but in most jobs wages are set to markets. The idea is we can swap one car mechanic with another, or one nurse with another. It's not a very fair way to look at things, but it's now many "companies as machines" operate

3) Value recognition means you see that person as a contributor to your work and as an individual. If they are happier or work less hard or save time , it’s of no consequence, you see them as someone providing great benefit. This is the way to think of people who are extraordinary. Top musicians, top coders, top sports players, top CEO's feel they really get rewarded for how uniquely they are able to create value

So what, how does this relate to pay in the remote world

Well, if we take this as a theoretical and not emotional question, which is unfair, unwise but realistic.

1) Compensation

In theory,if compensated people move somewhere cheaper, you don’t expect them to have a better life. Since you are compensating people, there is a school of thinking that it's acceptable to cut their salary as it’s a mutual acceptance of “work as sacrifice”

2) Market

In market based compensation, wages suffer massively from remote work. Those out of the office for most of the time are in theory and in essence now comparable with anyone on the planet

3) Value based

These are the people who can more readily work and make any salary demands, asking to be paid 10% of the value you create is quite easy IF you think you are uniquely placed to do this.

The lesson of course in all of this is to consider the value you create. Are you a safe pair of hands, are you easily replaceable and easily considered equivalent or are you driving clear value with what you do.

The modern age is likely to be unfairly skewed

Prior to "records" singers of a variety of standards would earn a good living, the best singer alive in 1900 couldn't sing to more than 200,000 people in a year, so the 100,000th best singer on the planet earned a nice wage. But in the digital age it's only the top 0.00002% of musicians who can earn money, but those can earn 90% of the entire worlds music money

Most fields are similar, try to be a star

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