Oracle vs. SAP: Which Pays Higher Salaries to Software Engineers?

Oracle and SAP have been locked for years in fierce competition for business customers. Oracle co-founder (and former CEO) Larry Ellison has further fanned those flames with some well-timed trash-talking, including a salvo during a recent Oracle earnings call, when he said that one of SAP’s larger ERP (enterprise resource planning) clients was planning to migrate to Oracle’s cloud ERP.

“A few months from now, in Q1, in the calendar year 2020, one of SAP’s biggest customers will go live on Fusion ERP. Many of SAP’s largest customers are already working with us to develop plans to migrate the Fusion ERP,” Ellison said, according to a transcript.

SAP, meanwhile, insists that it’s “winning market share” (according to SAP co-CEO Christian Klein). Clearly, this has escalated into a corporate grudge match that won’t end anytime soon. (For journalists who cover the sometimes-dry world of enterprise software, this type of conflict is unusual and actually sort of fun, which is probably what Ellison—who has a showman’s sense for publicity—is banking on.)

In any case, victory or defeat is going to hinge on the respective companies’ tech talent, and a big key to retaining tech talent is compensation. In order to figure out the average software engineer salary for SAP and Oracle (for their respective levels), we turned to levels.fyi, a website that anonymously crowdsources compensation data. (And yes, anonymous crowdsourcing isn’t the most scientific way of determining salary numbers, but levels.fyi’s numbers align with those of other crowdsourced-salary sites, such as Glassdoor, leading us to believe that it’s at least somewhat accurate.)

Let’s start off with SAP’s various ranks of software engineers, and how much they earn in salary, stock, and bonuses:

Then, we’ll compare that to Oracle’s compensation for software engineers:

One thing to note: SAP’s highest software-engineering rank, T5, didn’t have enough crowdsourced data to compare it to Oracle’s IC-6, the top level on levels.fyi. That aside, the data here makes one thing clear: Oracle pays its software engineers significantly more than SAP.

For example, “beginning” software engineers at Oracle (i.e., IC-2) pull down roughly $164,944 in compensation, including $37,522 in stock. Compare that to SAP, where those at the T1 level earn an average of $107,500, including $4,375 in stock.

Of course, money isn’t everything, and there’s a lot that goes into a software engineer’s decision to work for a particular company—things like office culture, non-monetary benefits, and stability matter. What’s clear is that, whether an engineer works at Oracle and SAP, the money is still pretty good.   

4 Responses to “Oracle vs. SAP: Which Pays Higher Salaries to Software Engineers?”

  1. David Burg

    A big factor for some companies paying significantly more than the market average is their perceived decline in the minds of the software engineers. Highly specialized development environments present a significant career risk if they do indeed decline. Relearning different environment is a major time investment. It takes at least months to be productive in these complex ERP systems programming.

  2. UsefulIdiot

    From what I’ve seen 150 at Oracle is pretty high for an IC4 outside of Bay area / Seattle. And unless you get recruited at that level, there is no internal path to bridge the gap.