Location-Agnostic Wages

As a remote company, it has been hard for us to decide how to treat geography when it comes to compensation. One method used by Gitlab and others is to calibrate salaries to local cost of living. We find this compelling, but fraught. Two equal team members with the same responsibilities and output could be paid differently just because of where they choose (or need) to live. Some companies offer compensation according to the labor market of HQ, but this comes with similar awkwardnesses and potential biases.

Instead we have decided to consider "Remote" to be its own labor market, and to calibrate pay to the global market for high-end remote design and development work. We want to be competitive even with companies in relatively expensive labor markets, since there is concentration of great talent in those places. This catch-all approach has encouraged a great diversity of applicants, and has helped us build an unparalleled team of amazing people from around the world.

Our policy is to equalize the amount of money that leaves our bank account for any two employees paid at the same rate, regardless of location. For example, if a US W2 employee were to make a $50k salary, we would also have to pay the government about $4k in employer taxes. Since that is not the case for a Core Team member outside the US, we tack on the $4k we would have paid in the US so that our expenses are the same. This policy results in different take-home pay for different locations, which is reflective of local tax laws and wage volume, but is fair when it comes to the actual cost to Cantilever for team members at the same level of pay.