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Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Have you ever heard of a “triple peak day”? As Derek Thompson summarizes it, desk workers traditionally have two productivity peaks: one before lunch and one after. Now, post-pandemic, people are seeing a third peak in the hours before bedtime, according to new research from Microsoft. It’s hard to deduce what’s behind the shift, though. What do you think?Today: the state of software engineers, how VR might be able to fix sexual harassment and how money worries affect people at work.

— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)

Hire from anywhere in the world

Josh Brenner is the CEO of Hired, an AI hiring marketplace that matches people looking for jobs in tech and sales with companies — like Dropbox, Meta and Coinbase — that want to, well, hire.

Brenner and I spoke this month about Hired’s “2022 State of Software Engineers” report. I wanted to know the most surprising trends from this year’s data, which includes more than 366,000 interactions between companies and software engineers on the platform, as well as survey results from more than 2,000 candidates.

Companies are hiring outside of their core markets, with the biggest impact on job seekers in cities including Austin, Seattle and Chicago. That shift is being reflected in their pay.

  • Austin, for example, saw a 9% increase in salary year-over-year on average; the average salary for software engineers rose to $151,000 in 2021.
  • Compare that to the national bump of 0.8% on average, which Brenner rightly pointed out is “not very high.”
  • That being said, San Francisco is still No. 1, with average remote pay at $168,000.

Companies are also hiring more globally than they ever have before. They’re able to do that because of a “recent evolution” in the infrastructure available to hire and payroll people from “anywhere in the world,” according to Brenner.

  • Global PEOs like remote.com and letsdeel.com make what used to be a huge logistical nightmare completely turnkey. It’s much easier now for companies to “spin up a new employee in any country,” he said.
  • Growing talent markets include Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, which benefit from being in the same time zones as the Eastern part of the U.S., as well as having government investments in STEM education that are paying off in terms of volume of tech talent.
  • Despite the increased cost of adding employees in a new market, compare that to the cost of talent, which can be anywhere from 30% to 70% lower than what companies would pay for a U.S.-based engineer.
  • As a result, a lot of companies on the Hired platform now are almost completely location-agnostic, simply putting on a time zone filter in their talent searches.

Salaries for startups are catching up and, in some cases, surpassing those of the big tech companies.

  • Historically, big tech companies of over 1,000 employees were paying more. But according to Hired’s recent data, startups that have fewer than 300 employees are starting to surpass those companies in average annual pay.
  • Brenner ascribes the bump to the massive rise of startup funding. Companies are raising big rounds, and “they know that the team is the most important thing they can invest in.”

But there’s hope yet for companies struggling to hire right now, which is basically all of them. Brenner’s No. 1 piece of advice is knowing what motivates engineers and investing in the tech stack that they want:

  • When asked about what drew them to their careers, 72% of engineers surveyed responded “new challenges and continuous learning.”
  • What does that mean? For Brenner, that means making sure they’re working in a framework that they find challenging and stimulating. What’s hugely popular right now is Google’s Go programming language. Companies that run on Go have nearly double the interview requests on Hired.
  • Hire for skills, not pedigree. The people who are the most qualified aren’t always going to have gone to the right school or worked for the name-brand company, said Brenner. A lot of capable software engineers are self-taught and are “getting just as much action as people with CS degrees.”

I’m curious: Are you more open to hiring internationally now than before? Does the cost-benefit analysis check out for you? Does being in the same time zone matter, or is it possible to work completely asynchronously? Are you seeing more candidates enthusiastic about Go? Let me know: mma@protocol.com.

— Michelle Ma

Can VR fix sexual harassment?

Here’s one thing everyone can agree on: Sexual harassment training seminars at work suck. They’re cringey, outdated and laughably unengaging. Even the most well-intentioned employee might find they’re clicking through the slideshow to get to the end.

But can virtual reality make it better? That’s what the founder and CEO of one VR training company, Vantage Point, seems to think. She walked my colleague Nat Rubio-Licht through how a Vantage Point training works. In short, the company uses photorealistic characters to create “a sense of immersion” as well as heighten the “emotional stakes” of the scenario. Would you test it out?

Read the full story.


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Today's tips & tools

Google Docs has expanded its Markdown capabilities, which allow you to format documents using plain text. For example: Typing * followed by a space creates a bullet point. Now, you can use shortcuts to autocorrect for headings, italic, bold, strikethrough and links. To use Markdown, go to Tools → Preferences and click “Automatically detect Markdown.” It may take a few days for the feature to show up for everyone.

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email| twitter)

Money on my mind

U.S. workers are really stressed about money, according to new research published yesterday by SoFi at Work. In a report titled “The Future of Workplace Financial Well-Being: 2022 Employer and Employee Perspectives,” the employee benefit program business surveyed 1,600 employers and HR leaders on how their finances affect their work.

  • Three out of four U.S. workers are facing at least one source of major financial stress, and more than half felt more stressed about their finances in 2021 than ever before.
  • Employees are spending a weekly average of 9.2 hours dealing with their personal financial issues while at work.
  • Meanwhile, employee expectations of employer support aren’t matching up with reality: 84% believe their companies should be responsible for their financial well-being, whereas only 55% feel their companies are actually concerned about their financial wellness.
  • This was surprising: 36% of workers want to be able to receive part of or all of their paycheck in crypto, and 42% would like to receive NFTs as a performance reward.

Making moves

AuditBoard has hired Courtney Cherry Ellis as senior vice president of People. Previously, she was the VP of People at Ironclad.

More stories from us

Loom CEO Joe Thomas on his company’s mission to fix your company culture, one video at a time.

Is tech still failing Black communities? A new report from the Kapor Center and the NAACP found only a 1% increase in Black representation within technical roles in large tech companies between 2014 and 2021.

Google is coming for Calendly.

Anita Sarkeesian says the video game industry’s fight against sexism is far from over.


Better connect your teams and customers with phone, meetings and messaging, all in one app. RingCentral makes it easier for you to run and grow your business, from anywhere. Experience simpler communications that are reliable, secure and let people do their best work.

Learn more

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

“It isn’t just Tom Brady — more people are coming out of retirement.”

Here are the 10 companies with the best workplace cultures, according to a new report from Comparably.

How clean is the air in your workplace? Probably not as clean as you’d like.

Ukraine is a hotbed of tech talent, now disrupted. Companies like Google and Microsoft are relying on Ukrainian tech workers.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great day, see you Sunday.

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