Remote Work Salary: How Much You Should Be Paying Your Remote Workers

Remote Work Salary: How Much You Should Be Paying Your Remote Workers

In the age of the Internet, many businesses are opting to hire remote workers, save on fixed cost, and access a larger pool of talent. At the same time, skilled professionals are opting for remote work, aiming at high mobility and planning their work schedule as they please.

However, it’s often hard to judge what is a fair pay for a remote worker depending on their skills, experience, and location. As an employer, you want your workers to be compensated fairly, but you also don’t want to spend more than you have to on payroll.

How much is it fair to pay remote workers? Check @Hubstaff's guide to remote salaries Click To Tweet

A report backed with real-life data on remote salaries is, thus, sorely needed. This post aims at offering a guide to salaries for remote workers in the most popular locations for outsourcing. Additionally, it segments the findings based on the most desired remote work types – virtual assistant, marketing, content writing, sales, development, design, and support.

Download our benchmarking report: Remote worker salaries 2016

What Type of Remote Worker Are You Looking For

When we talk about remote virtual assistants and which members of the team can work from a remote location, we are stepping into a large pool of professions. A remote worker can perform any job that does not require a physical presence in an office.

The most popular remote worker sought after by small and medium-sized teams are:

  • Virtual Assistants (VA)
  • Support Assistants (SA)
  • Digital Marketers
  • Content Writers
  • Web and Graphic Designers
  • Web and App Developers

And although this list is far from encompassing all the remote work opportunities out there, these are the types I will be focusing on in my research.

Where in the World to Look for Remote Workers?

In some cases, the talent’s location and ability to speak your language will play a serious factor in your calculations. For some, time difference is considered as a problem, for others not at all.

Remote workers can be found in pretty much any location as long as there is talent available and a strong Internet connection. But for the purpose of our research, we set on some of the most popular outsourcing locations – The Philippines, India, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, USA, and Bulgaria.

In the countries stated above, there is a lot of talent within the professions we are interested in – VA, SA, digital marketers, content writers, web and app developers, and graphic designers.  Additionally, in these locations the chances that you find someone who speaks English fluently are higher.

One point to consider, writing out of personal experience, is the proximity of the talent to your location. I think, we can all agree that time difference can be a critical factor in some high-paced situations.

What The Research Shows

One thing to keep in mind: There is a difference in the rates applied when you hire part-time vs. full time. One can expect to be paying greater hourly rates for the part-time remote worker than those for full-time employees.   

And here are the rates:

Hourly median salary level remote worker table screenshot

The rates are based on data fed by the ongoing effort of PayScale – a platform linking individuals and businesses to the largest salary profile database in the world. And since some of the numbers are originally offered in local currency and on an annual basis, we have applied the daily exchange rate and applied the following formula

Hourly Rate = (Annual Average Salary in USD)/2,112 average work hours per year (12 months * 22 workdays in a month * 8 hours per day).

As you can see yourself, the difference in the salary rate per hour by country is great. And when one looks at it from a regional pattern point of view, Asia offers better rates than Eastern Europe and the USA.

The USA, being a developed economy, offers stable, albeit high, rates when compared to the other countries featured in the table. Rates are 8 to 10 times higher than in the Philippines and India, and 2 to 3 times those in Eastern Europe. 

Hourly median salary level remote worker screenshot

In Asia, the Philippines lead by offering the lowest hourly rate for Virtual and Support Assistants ($1,95/hr), whereas India’s web and app engineers, designers, content writers, and marketers start at $1,43/hr. As mentioned above, the hourly rates differ for VAs working part-time and for those being employed full time. For example, for The Philippines, you can expect to pay around $4/hr for a VA when hiring remotely and on a part-time basis.

Both the Philippines’ and India’s talents are highly educated and with good proficiency in English. Communication should not be a problem.

In Eastern Europe, Russia offers the lowest rates starting at $4,44/hr. However, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria are not particularly more expensive. All these countries pride themselves on good education when it comes to foreign languages (English, French and German) and, most importantly, great knowledge and ability to produce quality code and designs. In the past decade, Bulgaria and Romania have been the ground for major outsourcing centers for tech companies like HP, IBM, CISCO etc. So, there is no shortage of tech talent there.

Check out this post by Chris Drucker, where he shares his experience with remote workers in the Philippines featuring some numbers. It was last updated in September 2014 and no doubt things have changed since then, but it’s still a good source of data. The numbers Chris Drucker mentions are higher than the median salary levels PayScale shows, which shows the variability in payment depending on skill level, experience, etc.

Download the spreadsheet: Remote worker salaries report

Where Can Remote Workers Be Found

With the Internet, you have an easy access to find a number of resources and reach out to remote workers from around the world – online job boards, social media etc. Here’s a selection of our favorite online job boards where you can look for any type of remote workers:

Hubstaff Talent

Hire Freelancers & Remote Workers For Free - Hubstaff Talent

Hubstaff Talent is a resource for finding remote work talent. You can browse the directory by desired skills, availability or by country. Additionally, there are agencies there as well for those looking to solve more complex problems that need more than one marketer.

Hubstaff Talent is completely free – no fees, no mark-ups, no middlemen.

Find great remote contractors

Hubstaff Talent is completely FREE!

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder is specializing in providing access to dedicated and experienced remote worker Filipino virtual assistants in various fields – web development, digital marketing, graphic design, etc.

We Work Remotely

How to Find Quality Remote Developers - A Guide

We Work Remotely is a job board provided by the same company (37Signals), which is behind the remote project management tool Basecamp. Their purpose of existence is exactly what you are looking for – a place where you can post your job ad and find a remote virtual assistant. It will cost you 200 USD for 30 days’ display.

fiverr

outsource on Fiverr

fiverr is more on the micro level remote virtual assistance work, meaning that you can go project by project with a freelancer. The great thing about this is that it allows you to try a remote VA and later on, if you are happy with her work, to hire her on a regular remote work basis.

Authentic

Authentic Jobs How to Find Quality Remote Developers - A Guide

Authentic is a great job board for remote work designers, hackers, and creative pros. There are also jobs for remote marketers featured. Additionally, a Pro directory features the profiles of remote workers you can browse through. Posting a remote marketer job ad there will cost you 150 USD for 30 days.

Guru

Guru

Guru offers a huge freelance pool of talent in a variety of virtual assistance categories. You will be able to view previous work done by potential candidates. You can also post a job there for free.

Hired

Hired.com How to Find Quality Remote Developers - A Guide

Hired is a talent board with an innovative approach to hiring.  As opposed to other websites, Hired features a big pool of talent to which companies are applying to get them work for them.  It is indeed a marketplace where companies make job offers to the talent. It is used by companies like Facebook, Uber, Zappos, Groupon, Evernote etc.

Freelancer

Freelancer.com

Freelancer is a platform aiming to connect small businesses with a variety of remote work talent. You can post a job and watch how remote marketers bid on it. This is also a great platform to first try and then hire virtual assistants.

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a job board focusing on virtual assistant micro jobs such as cleaning data and code, collecting phone numbers and website information, categorizing lists, gathering Google keywords, content writing, getting relevant feedback, and more.

Social Media

Additionally, to the job boards, social media networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are also a good place to look for remote virtual assistant talent. LinkedIn, in particular, offers a pretty good search function that will allow you to narrow down to location and experience. It might take a bit of time, though. Especially when you compare it to simply going through the online job boards and posting your job there.  

Final Words

Economies change, exchange rates and salary levels too. However, the above post should be helping you to get the picture and consider your outsourcing efforts.

Clearly, the Philippines and India offer unbeatable rates. Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine are also attractive, especially for those who are looking for a smaller time difference and regular communication.

Additionally, you might want to read a couple of other blog posts on Hubstaff’s blog – “7 Awesome Virtual Assistant Companies in the Philippines”, “The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Remote Marketer for Your Business” and “The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Hiring the Best Remote Developers”.

What’s your experience with outsourcing and salaries? How do you set salaries for remote workers – let us know in the comments.

  • It’s fascinating (and slightly unsettling) that freelancers from countries outside the U.S. are willing to work for such an incredibly low rate. Being a U.S. based freelancer, I can attest to the fact that we typically charge a much higher wage.

    I wonder how many of the people outside the U.S. are worth the prices the U.S. workers are charging, and vice-versa; which is the better deal? I’d imagine most foreign freelancers aren’t the best English speakers/writers, so perhaps that gives us U.S. folk a leg up.

  • Ana

    Hey Dave,

    Again, great article. In addition, according to A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index™ Top 20 – Eastern Europe is in fact rising as the next IT Outsourcing Dream Destination – for many reasons, one of them being significantly lower wages than Western Europe.

    Also, great and in-detail analysis of the market. Look forward to more of your awesome stuff!

    Cheers!