- Remote work is here to stay, especially in tech
- Companies are adjusting salary ranges to the local markets
- We asked Gergely Haskó to share his insights on the remote hiring market
Could you tell us about your background and your current role at Remote?
Originally I wanted to be an engineer, but I haven’t coded since highschool-early university years - let’s say Turbo Pascal and C++ wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped. I accidentally ended up in the IT recruiter profession, which turned out to be a great borderline between IT and people. Careerwise I tried everything: started at huge multinational companies as an intern, then got my first full time job at a small headhunting agency. From there, I moved over to a software development agency, and lastly I now work internally at product development companies. Now at Remote I’m mostly responsible for engineering related roles, and helping our candidates from all over the world through the selection process from the first interview until the offer.
Have you seen any changes in the demand for remote work in the post pandemic period? Are companies more open to it now or are they moving back to the office?
From the candidates’ perspective I definitely can see a huge change: in many countries from Europe to South-America a lot of people moved to the countryside from big, expensive and overall less-livable cities. Or even more - moved back to their home country to be close to their family. They won’t go back to onsite - in fact, we get many applications from candidates who work at companies that are trying to force them to return to the office, and they refuse to go back. From the employer point of view we can definitely see an emerging need for remote workers, especially across small-mid sized companies. Most companies that went remote during the pandemic had an opportunity to see that it works really well, and people are capable of delivering the same quality remotely. Home office is no longer an alternative term for holiday. Also, companies realized that they could have a much larger talent pool if they are more flexible and if they do not restrict their hiring activities to the city they have an office in.
Have you observed any changes in the number of applicants for remote technical roles in the wake of recent layoffs in the tech sector?
We pulled down our application data and compared it to the layoff cadence last year to answer this question. There was a slight delay when the layoffs occurred, and when we started receiving more applications but the trend was definitely there. We think people had to process the news and regain some positivity before starting the job hunt. Also it is worth mentioning that usually engineering is the last one on the layoff list, so the influx we experienced was bigger in other domains.
Are companies adjusting salaries for remote employees based on local cost of living, or maintaining a consistent salary range regardless of location?
Usually companies with ambitious plans are adjusting their salary ranges to the local markets - so do we. Our strategy is to analyze the local bands, and pay slightly above the average. We have a few underlying reasons:
- being fair to our people. Imagine you are in San Francisco, and your salary is 120k USD. You can barely rent a flat and eat from that. Here in Hungary with that income you would be in the top 1%.
- avoiding the golden handcuffs. Imagine you have someone who is not happy in their job function and wants to make a change, but won’t be motivated to move to another place where they could be happy, because they would suffer a significant pay cut Location agnostic salary is usually a thing in smaller, very early stage firms - and they switch to location based salary as soon as they want to become profitable and sustainable, and they see the impact of local markets and how to make sure they're being fair to a wide range of costs of living. With that said, I honestly believe that remote work can reduce the difference between the salaries in different countries.
Based on your data, are there any notable differences in the job market for remote work between different regions or countries?
As much as I can tell these trends are related to the overall market landscape in different countries. There are emerging tech hubs everywhere, and companies also tend to hire in those countries where there is more available talent. We are getting a lot of applications from Brazil and Mexico, from Nigeria, from India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and in the EU Poland has become a significant player in recent years. It is worth mentioning that in those countries many people are already working remotely, mostly for USA based companies, which is a huge advantage when it comes to successful applications for other remote-only roles.
How do successful remote companies approach asynchronous work? Is it common?
I think it’s a must have if someone is building a truly remote company - meaning that they have people from all across the globe and not “remote” only from a certain country.
- First you need a great knowledge base - documentation, public slack channels, a culture of oversharing information.
- After that you need to provide the ownership and the trust for your people to do their job - focus on the quality and forget micromanagement!
- Use async communication tools - loom is a great example.
- If there is any necessary meeting, make sure it’s not mandatory and you make a recording We have great resources about async work in our public handbook if someone would like to create a more async environment at their company :)
Are there certain industries or work environments where remote work seems to be less effective? For example, how do junior software engineers fare in a remote setting?
As long as someone is working on a computer for their role, remote work is possible. Integrating new people is always hard - remotely the companies have to invest even more effort
into this process. They have to create a great onboarding process, make sure there are available mentors relatively close to the more junior fellows, make sure there are clear expectations, and most importantly build a supportive, encouraging atmosphere where any question is safe to ask. It’s always a trade off, for a junior as well. On the downside, they have to be able to set up their days to be productive. But, they can always find someone online to ask questions or just socialize.
What are the key skills or experiences that employers are seeking in candidates for remote positions? What sets certain developers apart in this context?
Regarding personality traits I can’t see much of a difference between the expectations in case of an onsite and a remote positions. Communication is obviously a key (introverts can be great communicators in writing). Ownership is also a huge piece of the cake, just like in any normal role. Experience with remote work is usually considered as a plus. A solid work from home setup - a separated place, comfy chair, fast internet connection, a good mic and webcam - as well as experience with async communication tools could be an advantage for sure, but I wouldn’t say those are hard requirements at the beginning.
Can you speak to your experiences working with Hungarian candidates for remote positions?
I had just a very few, it seems Hungarian engineers are still hesitant when it comes to remote work, or maybe we were unlucky so far.
What advice would you offer to Hungarian developers seeking remote job opportunities?
Be persistent. The Hungarian IT market is extremely candidate driven, and for truly remote roles they have to compete with a large number of candidates. Don’t give up if you can’t land at your dream job on the first try.