Firms dangle big bucks to lure employees out of big cities

Software firm Stripe offering $20K for workers to leave NYC, San Fran and Seattle, but there’s a catch

Stripe CEO Patrick Collison (JD Lasica via Wikipedia; Unsplash)
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison (JD Lasica via Wikipedia; Unsplash)

In an increasingly work-from-home world, those with the means have also been moving out of big cities in favor of roomier, perhaps more suburban confines.

Now, electronic payment company Stripe is offering employees $20,000 if they move out of cities including San Francisco, New York and Seattle, according to Bloomberg.

But even that comes at a price.

Employees who take the offer will see their base salaries cut by as much as 10 percent, according to the report. Other companies have tried to lure workers with similar deals.

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Like Stripe, workspace technology company VMware has offered workers big money upfront — followed by a pay cut — to move while Facebook, Twitter, and software firm ServiceNow have considered doing so. Stripe has more than 2,500 employees working at 14 offices worldwide.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced much of the office workforce to operate from home. Some companies have told their employees they can work remotely for the foreseeable future; the latest entrant being Deutsche Bank. With no need to live in expensive cities near their offices, some people have considered — or already are — moving to cheaper parts of the country.

That trend is already having an impact on some real estate markets, including notoriously expensive San Francisco, where Stripe is headquartered. Rents were down 9.2 percent year-over-year in May.

Manhattan rental inventory jumped 11.9 percent from July to August. Just two submarkets there, Chinatown and Midtown West, saw inventory drop during that period. Rents also fell in many Manhattan neighborhoods during that period as well.

But office workers appear split when it comes to efforts like the one Stripe is trying. Around half of the 5,900 people who responded to a survey on the professional network Blind said that a relocation shouldn’t warrant a pay cut if an employee was doing the same work. Around 44 percent said they would take the offer of a big payday then a pay cut. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch