Salaries in Paris vs Full-Remote vs Province: any difference?

July 13, 2023
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Salaries in Paris vs Full-Remote vs Province: any difference?

Amongst employees with the exact same role and seniority level in France, based on Figures dataset, what do you think is the difference in pay between a Paris-based worker and a Full-remote one ?

Ready ?

4% (as in on average, a full-remote employee earns 4% less than a Paris-based employee).

That's it. It found it very low compared to the 10-15% expected difference I had in mind based on 10+ years of studying compensation in France.

Well, I can hear people saying that it makes sense as with equal roles should come equal pay ?

Well then, if so, we should expect a similar difference in pay between Paris-based employees and Province-based ones (as in, working from a Province-based office), right ?

Is that the case ?

Well..not so much.

The average difference, once again comparing person who hold the same job/seniority level, is now 16%. Province-based employees earn on average 16% less than Paris-based ones !

This number should not come in itself as a surprise to any HR with compensation experience, as my rule of thumb always was that salaries outside of Paris were 10 to 20% lower.

How can we explain that 4% vs 16% gap though ?

My take ?

Most employees in Full remote are tied to mostly-Paris-based teams, or used to work in Paris themselves, and therefore their salaries tends to gravitate towards Paris ones

Meanwhile companies with offices outside Paris usually align the salaries with the local market.

Understandable ? Yes. Justifiable, or sustainable ? Less so.

My take on what changes are coming in the next months/years:

  1. For non-remote roles, not first.
  2. For remote-compatible roles however: a change is gonna come!

In my opinion compensation for those province, remote-eligible roles will be subject to internal/external pressures pushing salaries upward.

Internally, how can you justify a difference between province and remote on remote-compatible roles? I think as that gap emerges in the spotlight, companies will want to harmonize their packages (upwards, surely).

For companies that only have province offices, no problem? Well if the market as a whole pushes remote and province salaries upward (especially as more and more Paris-based employees move outside Paris, keeping their salaries), their own employees will progressively be "under market" and therefore at risk of retention.

Therefore, external pressure might force those companies to adjust with a market-related increase.

Then afterwards, this pressure might apply to non-remote, province-based roles as well, for internal fairness reasons: if their colleagues in the same offices receive big increases, why not them?

So as a conclusion, I fully expect, within the start-ups & scale-ups market, remote-based salaries to keep on progressing to Paris-level ones, as well as province-based ones afterwards.

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