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Automattic

Equal?

There is this thread going around where the story of equal pay for equal work lives on.

It’s already been posted that salary is always adjusted by cost of living.

Another big differentiator is that 50% of Automattic’s employees are hired as contractors and as such they get no benefits (retirement savings, health insurance, etc) nor job security.

A contractor costs a fraction of what an employee costs; yet in Automattic’s case, zero of these savings go to the contractor.


If you’re not a tax resident of an English speaking country, you may be happy to know that here are several remote companies that in the same situation offer a solid benefit stipend to those they can’t employ through entities. And also that don’t bend reality as much in their marketing.

14 replies on “Equal?”

To be fair, it’s likely somewhat less than 40%. When I was there, the proportion of Automatticians in Canada and the US alone was around 60%, and that’s not counting the other countries who get benefits.

On the other hand, Automattic looked into incorporating in India and decided not to, despite having a fairly large population of people there.

40% is a huge amount! It’s not fair, those people should receive some compensation to be really something closer to what “equal” means and give them more respect.
Benefits, job security? None of my country workings laws were being respected when I worked there, use “equal” word on a company like that is a complete BULLSHIT!

> A contractor costs a fraction of what an employee costs; yet in Automattic’s case, zero of these savings go to the contractor.

Exactly what I have been thinking for months. When I leave Automattic it will likely be because I am not paid fairly as a contractor. I know of companies that pay almost double for remote workers.

I love the people and culture at Automattic, but the pay for a developer is not great.

This is absolutely misleading and wrong on SO MANY levels. I, as an international contractor, highly prefer that they keep it this way. Having an employment entity in many cases mean you will have to take a pay cut, taxes get complicated, cut for benefits etc. I much prefer this freedom.

Also, in my experience it is one of the few companies that actually do try to pay equally, regardless of someone’s location. Someone in a super cheap country gets to have a salary better than even some class of workers make in the US. Automattic pays better than what European and Asian companies will pay you if you were a local employee to them. In many cases, significantly higher.

Whoever you are, and not sure what beef you have, please don’t misguide others and misrepresent facts. You don’t know everyone’s story.

> You don’t know everyone’s story.
Neither do you. I am glad you consider your wage good.

If I didn’t engage in tax optimization by giving up all security benefits – my take home salary would be almost the same as working for a local company.

>If I didn’t engage in tax optimization by giving up all security benefits – my take home salary would be almost the same as working for a local company.

You seem to come from a country where local companies pay high for knowledge workers, equivalent to the US perhaps. Is that a bad thing? You get Automattic’s flexibility, remote work, no commute that a local company might require, and avoid a normally terrible corporate culture.

If I’m understanding the original comment correctly, they’re saying they take home a similar amount of money, but don’t get any of the retirement and social security benefits that are also worth something.

This was my experience at Automattic as well. Base pay was slightly less than what I could make locally, but did not include many things local companies offer. The result was that I took a 20-30% pay cut to join Automattic.

OP here.

My base pre-tax pay is higher than in my region. I am a contractor – I have to pay my own taxes. If I paid the taxes in full, my pay would be very similar to what people earn in my region, maybe slightly higher. This is because I live in a place with a high tax rate. That’s why I posted here – I agree with the original post – Automattic doesn’t care about my tax rate and enjoys my work for cheap. I get no benefits. “Unlimited” vacation is great, but will not buy me soup when I retire. (“Unlimited” is only as “unlimited” as your team lead and peers are okay with)

In addition to no benefits, my pay is 65% compared to some of my coworkers, and 80% compared to most. So my British peers are paid more and with benefits. I don’t consider that “fair pay”.

I love Automattic – it’s a great company to work in. But I will not be staying here long just because I have to think about my future too, and that makes me sad.

@—– : I don’t compare myself to my region – I will never work in my region. If I was aiming to work in my region, I would never have applied to Automattic. I want to work with the best, learn from the best and be treated equally, but sadly that is not the case.

I don’t know which podcast it was, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Matt say a big advantage of distributed work is that the company can pay people less.

> Another big differentiator is that 50% of Automattic’s employees are hired as contractors and as such they get no benefits (retirement savings, health insurance, etc) nor job security.

I feel like this is painting a misleading picture. And I’m saying that as a “contractor” working at Automattic for 5 years.

“Contractors” (Automatticians that are living in countries where Automattic does not have a subsidiary) definitely _do_ get _most_ of the benefits that Automatticians employed by the subsidiaries get. The _only_ difference I’ve seen/experienced is actually the health insurance and retirement savings. But that would be an issue if you were living in the US (where Automattic does employ everyone, of course) – in other countries there’s a proper public health care system. Retirement insurance? I prefer to save myself – it’s more profitable than what my country offers. Other than that, I never felt I was treated worse or different in any way than someone employed by a subsidiary.

The vacation policy is the same, meetups, computer replacements, office and coworking stipends and so on – lots of benefits.

Job security – yes, in the legal sense. But in reality it doesn’t matter – from my experience there’s a lot of communication and mitigation before anyone is fired.

And to add to that – as a “contractor” myself, I prefer (and many, many others as well) to stay employed as a contractor. It has its own benefits – related to taxes, most notably.

> definitely _do_ get _most_ of the benefits that Automatticians

We do get some benefits. We can use time off, maternity/paternity leaves, and we have life insurance.

The primary benefit is being paid well and being able to work from home. We also have the chance to contribute to WordPress and open source.

> from my experience there’s a lot of communication and mitigation before anyone is fired.

I left Automattic with a similar experience. But I was shocked after leaving by the number of people that had a completely different experience.

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