Technology giant Atlassian defends two-tier pay system for workers

Australian tech giant Atlassian has defended its two-tier pay system for workers who will be paid more in NSW and Victoria than those based in other states, noting it is a common practice.

Under Atlassian’s pay system, a worker in Sydney is paid more than their equivalent in Adelaide or Brisbane, for example.

Company co-founder Scott Farquhar told reporters in Canberra on Monday it was not discrimination.

“We have high-paying jobs in all locations, and we pay slightly differently in some of the major metro regions to recognise the cost of living there,” Mr Farquhar said.

“But these jobs have significantly increased (pay rates) on what local salaries are in local regions.”

Atlassian says it pays competitively for the right talent in the markets it operates in.

Most peer companies had a similar market-driven compensation philosophy, the tech firm added.

“We believe that the option to live and work from where you want is a huge benefit to employees and offers more flexibility than most employers, which will help us compete for the best talent to help drive team anywhere,” a spokesperson said.

The compensation structure is based on two zones – NSW and Victoria are Zone A, while all other states are Zone B.

“We opted for less granularity here so people have the freedom to work wherever is best for their family,” the spokesperson said.

“Our compensation policy is to pay based on cost of labour in a given market; there will be no change to this approach.

“This means paying the ‘going market rate’ for a job in any location based on factors including wage growth, supply and demand for the talent and skills, experience and qualifications to do the job in that specific location.”

It comes as Atlassian embarks on a massive recruitment drive, with the aim of hiring more than 1000 new research and development employees.

Atlassian is using a branded RV to drive across major cities from Adelaide to the Sunshine Coast, advertising its “work from anywhere” policy to attract new employees.

Some roles being advertised are in analytics and data science, engineering, marketing, customer experience and product management.

Atlassian was founded in 2002 by Mr Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes when they were at the University of NSW.

The business software provider boomed during the pandemic when many people began working from home.

Its Nasdaq-listed shares hit a record high price of $US483.13 in November last year, valuing the Sydney-headquartered firm at more than $US100bn.

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