Hybrid work vs the office: Tech workers earn more working from home

The average reported salary for hybrid-based cloud professionals is now $188,000, according to a new report.
Written by Pallavi Kenkare, Associate Editor
A confident Asian woman wearing business clothes speaks toward her laptop in her home office.
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Tech professionals who work remotely or as hybrid employees are taking home higher salaries than professionals who do the same job from an office, according to a report on salary and employment data.

A survey of 778 cloud professionals by O'Reilly found that demand for cloud professionals rose 4.3% during the past 12 months, pushing the average yearly salary to $182,000.

The survey also discovered that hybrid work was associated with higher overall salaries – the average reported salary for hybrid staff was $188,000, while full-time remote workers made $184,000. Professionals who work in the office full-time, meanwhile, reported the lowest average salary at $131,000.

SEE: Six ways to stay productive when working remote

This difference is in part attributable to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The necessity of remote and hybrid roles has allowed employers to downsize office spaces and eliminate employee commutes, setting a precedent for hybrid and remote roles to continue into the future. 

Mike Loukides, report author and vice president of content at O'Reilly, has an additional theory: "Companies who require their employees to report to an office often do not view remote work as effective, indicating little trust in their workers," Loukides told ZDNet.

"This leads to lower salaries, as these companies either don't see themselves as competing with other organizations over compensation, or they think their current employees are less likely to leave if they are required to come into an office."

The 'Great Resignation' continues to sweep the United States, with the Department of Labor reporting a record 4.53 million resignations in March 2022, and 4.4 million resignations in April 2022. Given the high demand for tech workers and the nationwide talent shortages, cloud professionals and other tech employees have found themselves in a strong position to seek better compensation.

O'Reilly reports that 20% of tech employees have already changed employers over the last year, and 25% have plans to search for employment with better compensation. Skilled candidates hold the power in this job market, the company said, and the impetus now lies with employers to offer higher salaries, better benefits, increased flexibility and other perks to potential employees. 

"Cloud professionals are currently the most sought-after tech talent and therefore have the ability to choose from an array of employment options that best fit their lifestyle," said Laura Baldwin, president of O'Reilly.

"With these workers in such demand, we anticipate the great tech exodus to continue unless employers step up with competitive pay, substantial benefits, remote work flexibility, and on-the-job learning and development."

SEE: Cloud computing dominates. But security is now the biggest challenge

Nearly half (48%) of cloud professionals surveyed by O'Reilly said they had participated in technical training or certification courses over the past year to learn new technologies (42%), improve existing skills (40%), or work on more interesting projects (21%).

Hours spent on learning and development programs were found to have a direct link to higher earning potential, O'Reilly found, particularly for professionals trained in one of the 'big three' platforms: Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure.

"The demand for skilled cloud professionals has exceeded the supply," said Loukides. "It's safe to say that if you're proficient in this area, your job opportunities are endless."

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