Tech Companies: Which Pay Employees the Most?

Which tech companies pay their employees the most? That’s a hard question to answer, especially since technologist compensation is often linked to things like equity or stock options that might not translate immediately to cash. Nonetheless, Glassdoor has taken a stab at crunching the numbers.

“The three highest paying employers in 2019 were all tech companies paying a median total salary over $160,000 a year,” Glassdoor wrote in a blog posting accompanying the data. “The highest paying company is Palo Alto Networks, where the median total compensation is $170,929.” (In a surprising twist, the Bay Area’s median base pay is $73,128: No wonder so many people complain that living a comfortable lifestyle in San Francisco is becoming impossible, given the rising cost of housing and pretty much… everything else.)

In addition to Palo Alto Networks, all the tech companies you’d expect sit on this list, including Twitter (which came in third, paying its employees a median total salary of $162,852), Google (in fifth place, with a median salary of $161,254), VMWare (in sixth, with $158,063), LinkedIn (seventh, $157,402), and Facebook (eighth, $152,962). Check out the chart:

In terms of its methodology, Glassdoor claims that it took forms of compensation beyond salary into account, including bonuses, commissions, and tips. Because Glassdoor’s compensation information is crowdsourced, there’s always the possibility that a few outliers could sway a company’s numbers one way or another (for example, a cluster of extraordinarily well-paid software engineers could skew a company’s results by a few thousand dollars), but the tech companies on this list are presumably big enough to mitigate at least some of that potential effect.  

Of course, software engineers at those tech companies can make much, much more once they’ve spent a number of years at their firm. For example, at Google, engineers at the L7 level can expect to pull down $256,059 in annual salary, $286,176 in stock, and a bonus of $83,294 (according to data crunched by levels.fyi). Over at Microsoft, engineers who hit level 67 (i.e., principal software development engineer) can make roughly $222,714 in salary, along with $226,000 per year in stock options and a bonus of $73,143.Here are some other tech-firm payouts for software engineers:

Tech companies that didn’t place on Glassdoor’s list, such as Amazon, are nonetheless willing to pay big for technologists with the right mix of skills. Amazon engineers at the SDE 2 ranking (who generally have a degree and a few years’ experience) can expect to make an average of $141,860 in base salary, along with stock worth roughly $56,208 per year, and a bonus of $14,701. Walmart Labs, the retail monolith’s tech incubator, pays those at the Software Engineer 3 level (roughly equivalent to Amazon’s SDE 2) around $137,250 per year in base salary, along with $11,250 in stock and a bonus of $18,250 (again, according to levels.fyi).

In other words, working for a tech company is just the start if you want to land high pay; in the right role, with the right mix of skills, your earnings can skyrocket. 

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