Why Returning to the Office Could Be the Secret to a 20k Pay Rise

Going back to the office full-time isn't for everyone, but if you can make it work then you could be in for a pay increase.

As April rolls around and heralds the start of a new financial year, many workers will be preparing to ask for a pay rise. The secret? In the US, it might be a willingness to return to the office (RTO) a full five days a week.

That’s according to new 2024 data from ZipRecruiter, which reveals that salary increases are jumping for those who reembrace pre-pandemic norms and go back to fully in-office roles.

With more and more companies ending fully remote work, the move to actually incentivize a 100% return to office is a welcome one, especially  compared to more punitive approaches like “quiet firing” where a full RTO is demanded by organizations as a condition of continued employment

Salaries Rise by 33% for 5-Day Office Jobs in 2024

The data from ZipRecruiter, as first shared by the BBC, illustrates the huge potential benefit for workers willing to go back to working full-time in their company’s office.

According to the job marketplace’s study, workers who went all-in and swapped fully remote jobs for a five-day office week received an average pay increase of nearly 30% (29.2%) last year.

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Taking into account all of ZipRecruiter’s data through March 2024, that figure rises to an impressive 33% pay rise versus 2023 for employees willing to attend the office every day of the week.

Full Return to Office Could Net You $20k+ Pay Rise

Translated into hard salary figures, the boom in compensation for full-time office roles is even more pronounced.

ZipRecruiter’s data shows that companies advertising for five-day office jobs were now offering an average salary of $82,037, compared to just $59,085 in 2023 – a surge of 33% that amounts to a pay rise of over $20k.

Salaries for hybrid roles pales by comparison, with more flexible working set-ups offering average annual pay of just $59,992, though to our surprise (and pleasure) fully remote positions don’t sit at the bottom of the table.

Fully Remote Jobs Still Have High Earning Potential

With many companies now turning their back on fully remote working, at least as the norm, it comes as a welcome surprise that ZipRecruiter’s findings reveal that such roles have average compensation of $75,327

It’s not as much as fully in-office working, but still a healthy amount more than hybrid roles, which could be emerging as a no man’s land for employees, failing to offer either true flexibility or superior pay compared to the alternatives.

One explanation for why fully remote jobs pay more than hybrid ones are that a number of highly skilled, technical professions lend themselves to 100% home working, such as software developers.

It also underlines the fact, as highlighted by our recent Impact of Technology in the Workplace report, that fully remote companies are more productive than those working in perhaps more traditional ways.

Whatever the case, for those of us chasing a good-sized pay bump this year, the message is clear: going back to the office can pay huge dividends, but fully remote working is nearly as lucrative in many lines of work .

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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