It’s OK to adjust pay
Illustration: iStock/Getty Images Plus; Protocol

It’s OK to adjust pay

Source Code

Good morning! The shift to remote work has some employees asking what it might mean for location-based pay. According to a new Carta report, adjusting compensation based on location is more common than you might think.

What happened to ‘geo-neutral’ pay?

Companies love talking about their plans to go remote-first. Fewer companies talk about what that means for pay. Carta released a report on the state of startup compensation, which looked at what companies’ shift to remote work means for pay.

Adjusting pay based on where workers live is happening quite frequently, especially among startups, according to the report. All the handwringing over geo-neutral compensation might have been premature.

  • Carta found that most startups (around 84%) adjust compensation based on location. Startups with bigger valuations are more likely to keep pay the same across the board.
  • Tweaking comp based on location is only going to become more common as the number of remote employees grows. Around 62% of new hires were based in a state outside the company’s HQ, up from 35% in 2019.

But what if workers think location-based pay is unfair? Some people at larger tech companies, like Google, don’t like location-based pay, and some companies, including Airbnb, decided to keep the same pay across the board for the sake of retention.

  • The debate is different for startups, though. They don’t have as much cash as Big Tech, and employers are likely more concerned about making sure pay between new hires and current employees is equitable, Carta’s Peter Walker told me.
  • Walker said some startups have talked about not adjusting pay by location anymore. But as the market tumbles, that’ll be a harder call to make. “Money is going to be a little tighter,” he said.

Some companies are still divided over whether to adjust pay based on location. But startups seem to have settled the debate, at least for now.

— Sarah Roach (she/her/hers)

Reading the tea leaves

Two gaming companies announced layoffs this week, but that doesn’t mean the writing’s on the wall for the industry as a whole.

Niantic and Unity both had staffing cuts this week. Niantic cut 8% of staff, or between 85 and 90 people; Unity laid off 300 or 400 employees, sources told Kotaku.

  • Niantic CEO John Hanke said in an email to staff that the company’s “facing a time of economic turmoil.” Niantic also cut four upcoming projects.
  • Unity also reportedly instituted a hiring freeze across all departments.

Unity and Niantic’s businesses are struggling to weather the economic downturn. But they weren’t doing that well to begin with.

  • Unity’s share price is down more than 70% year to date and reported a loss of 8 cents a share in its latest earnings report. The company made staffing cuts despite CEO John Riccitiello telling employees weeks ago that the company was on solid financial footing and wouldn’t need to resort to layoffs, according to Kotaku’s sources.
  • Since Niantic released Pokémon Go in 2016 — which rakes in $1 billion in annual revenue — nothing else it’s put out has achieved the same success. The company was cutting projects left and right before yesterday’s announcement.

Other gaming companies, however, are doing all right. Gaming stocks have taken a dip in recent months like the rest of tech, but companies seem to be weathering the economic storm just fine. At least so far.

— Nat Rubio-Licht (they/them/theirs)

SPONSORED CONTENT FROM SAP

The competitive edge of digital solutions: For the last 50 years, SAP has worked closely with our customers to solve some of the world’s most intricate problems. We have also seen, and have been a part of, rapid accelerations in technology in response. Across industries, certain paths have emerged to help businesses manage the unexpected challenges over the last few years.

Read more from SAP

People are talking

Ben Tarnoff thinks Web3 advocates have the right idea but the wrong approach:

  • “Web3 represents a further privatization of further commodification and further marketization of the internet, in different forms.”

Dmitri Alperovitch said cyberattacks don't need to end in chaos:

  • "If you're prepared, you can survive through it. And practice makes perfect."

Making moves

Javier Soltero is leaving Google Workspace. Aparna Pappu, Workspace's VP of engineering, will take over as general manager after Soltero leaves July 15.

Alicia Boler Davis is Alto Pharmacy's new CEO. Boler-Davis was on Amazon's S-team and last served as SVP of global customer fulfillment.

Blizzard acquired Boston-based game studio Proletariat, shutting down its fantasy battle royale game Spellbreak as a result of the deal.

Simon Segars joined Permira as a senior adviser to its tech team. Segars spent over three decades at Arm.

Meaghan Lynch is joining Airbnb as public policy manager. Lynch is currently HUD’s press secretary.

In other news

App developers in South Korea can finally use third-party payment systems. It's a response to South Korea's new law targeting payment methods on Google and Apple's app stores.

Celebrities don’t want to talk about NFTs anymore. Jimmy Fallon, Reese Witherspoon and other big names have taken down their NFT avatar profile pictures.

An OpenSea employee misused their access to Customer.io, the NFT marketplace's email vendor, by sharing customer email addresses with a third party. It's been reported to law enforcement.

Substack cut 14% of its staff, affecting around 13 employees.

The EU wants crypto providers to give identifying information on digital asset transactions in spite of industry backlash.

Tesla’s wondering why employees haven’t been in the office. Some workers are getting automated emails asking them to explain themselves.

AWS is on track to be worth $3 trillion, triple Amazon’s entire worth right now, a Redburn analyst said.

Yuga Labs is suing an artist for Bored Ape Yacht Club copycats, alleging that they are “trolling” and “scamming consumers” in a federal court.

Taiwan officials are calling for the U.S. to pass its chip subsidy bill as TSMC begins building a factory in Arizona and hiring engineers.

Three Arrows Capital was ordered to liquidate after it was sued by creditors for unpaid debts.

Where’s Elon? Axios noticed that Musk hasn’t tweeted in a week (even on his birthday!), which is highly unusual.

Bring your dog to work (every) day

If you’re struggling to get anyone back in the office, tell employees they can bring their dogs. More workers are starting to bring their pets to work, and lots of dog owners said in a survey that being able to bring dogs to the office helps them take breaks and interact with co-workers. If everyone can keep the barking down, dogs in the office sounds like a dream.

SPONSORED CONTENT FROM SAP

The competitive edge of digital solutions: When companies invest in maintaining their “green ledger” with the same commitment they have to their financial ledgers, they will be able to connect their environmental, social, and financial data holistically so they can steer their business towards sustainability. At the end of the day, what gets measured, gets managed.

Read more from SAP

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

Recent Issues

Your holiday book list

A tale of two FTXs