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Aussies being paid less for working remote

If you’re doing the same job, shouldn’t you be paid the same no matter where you live?

A composite image of office workers and a person working from home looking stressed.
Aussies bosses have said they pay remote workers less than those who live in the city. (Source: AAP / Getty)

Aussies who work remotely in regional areas may be earning less than those who live in the city, according to new research.

More than four in 10 Aussie employers surveyed by specialist recruiter Robert Half reported paying their remote staff less due to the lower cost of living in regional areas.

That said, an almost equal percentage of employers who hire remote workers (41 per cent) do not pay differently based on location.

If you live in an expensive city, you’re likely to be paid more

Sydney holds the crown for the most expensive city in the country, and that may be why bosses in NSW are the most likely to pay city workers a different rate than remote workers.


Close to half (49 per cent) of NSW employers said they paid staff who lived in the city more, while another 24 per cent planned to.

WA employers are almost as likely as Sydney to have a two-tier pay system (47 per cent) as the cost of living in Perth increases.

An equal percentage of Queensland employers use the method as those who do not (41 per cent each), which may reflect the highly regional population that already exists in that state.

Victoria, where large regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong are closely located to the metropolitan area, is where employers are least likely to have a two-tier pay system in place (36 per cent).

How is it fair to pay workers differently?

“The simple truth is that the way we work has changed. Naturally, with that change, comes adjustments to how businesses operate,” Robert Half director Nicole Gorton said.

“In a world where decentralised workforces are now widely adopted, remote workers need to take many factors into account when considering their overall job satisfaction. Being able to work remotely has a big impact on work-life harmony, and job seekers interested in remote opportunities should have a sense of how their salary might be impacted based on the company's pay policy.”

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