How much do some of the nation’s largest and most prominent tech companies pay their employees? The data might surprise you—thanks to their respective employee mixes and business lines, some of these tech giants might not pay as much as you think.
This data comes from a new Wall Street Journal analysis of median salaries for companies in the S&P 500 (for some inexplicable reason, it excludes Microsoft). We’ve isolated tech companies from that overall list; as you can see from the chart below, many pay their employees handsomely:
Hold on, you might say: How can Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and IBM pay their employees so little compared to Facebook/Meta, Twitter, Netflix, and others? In the cases of Apple, Amazon, and Tesla, the answer is a simple one: warehouse, retail, and factory workers. These employees make less than highly compensated technologists, pulling down the companies’ median salaries in the process.
IBM is a bit harder to explain, since it doesn’t have massive retail or manufacturing footprint of these other companies. One possible conclusion is that IBM’s consulting and business-services divisions don’t pay employees nearly as much as they might earn at other firms (other consulting firms such as Accenture pay similar amounts as IBM, backing up this idea).
By contrast, companies largely filled with technologists and executives—such as Alphabet/Google, Salesforce and Facebook/Meta—offer extraordinarily high median salaries. Even at companies with lower median pay, it’s important to remember that technologists with the right mix of skills and experience can earn quite a bit; earlier this year, for example, Amazon raised the maximum base pay for its technologists and other corporate employees to $350,000.
With tech unemployment notably low, and demand for many tech roles so high, technologists everywhere have more leverage to negotiate for the pay and benefits they want. Even if a company can’t pay you a Google-level salary, chances are good they’d be willing to talk about other kinds of compensation, including stock options, money for training, and flexible schedules.