In news that will probably come as a shock to nobody, the median income at some of the world’s largest tech companies is eye-wateringly high, according to new data crunched by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Facebook topped this particular list, with median employee pay hitting $240,430. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) also doled out similarly generous salaries, with a median of $192,274. Also on the list: Netflix ($183,304), Salesforce ($155,284), and eBay ($122,891). Although Nvidia’s median salary reached $147,640—comparable to other tech firms—rival chipmaker Intel “only” paid out a median of $102,100. (And keep in mind that ‘median’ means roughly half of employees are making less; even at Alphabet or Facebook, not everyone is pulling down a cool six figures a year.)
The CEOs at all these firms made millions, of course, with the exception of Alphabet CEO Larry Page, who takes a salary of $1 (while sitting atop approximately $48.6 billion in wealth, the bulk of it in Alphabet stock). At Salesforce and Facebook, the CEO-to-employee pay ratio is “only” 30-to-1 and 37-to-1, respectively, thanks to a combination of high median salaries and relatively low CEO pay; contrast that to Wells Fargo, where the median employee pay stands at $60,446 while the CEO pulls down $17 million—a ratio of 291-to-1.
The gap between employee and CEO pay has grown over the past several decades; in the mid-1960s, it sat at 20-to-1. In mid-2017, the Economic Policy Institute estimated the ratio at 271-to-1. In addition to huge salaries and lots of stock options, many CEOs also enjoy luxurious perks such as private jets and security teams.
In tech, several factors elevate the median salary for many tech firms. For starters, highly specialized tech pros pull down extraordinary paychecks, dragging the salary line upward; if you have 100 A.I. experts in your company who make over a million dollars a year, that’s going to have an effect on the bottom line. And although hardware-centric firms may utilize huge factories and warehouses where workers earn just over minimum wage, software and Web companies tend to have a higher ratio of highly paid employees.
According to the most recent Dice Salary Survey, the average tech salary stood at $92,712 last year, well above the U.S. median household income but beneath the median pay at the aforementioned companies. Of course, income rises based on seniority, specialization, and location; if you want to see how much your skills and experience can potentially earn, check out the Dice Salary Calculator.