More Salaries, now including Twitter and LinkedIn

This article is a follow-up analysis on our Open Source Project on salary data, which now has 1,700 data points.  It includes new software engineering compensation data for Twitter and LinkedIn along with updated data for Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.

For product manager compensation, check out our other post on Product Manager Salaries at Microsoft and Amazon

We continue to look for more data points across all types of companies. You can contribute here: Anonymously Post your Compensation


We started our Open Source Project on salary data with 689 salaries shared on Hacker News.  We now have 1,700 data points and counting from people who’ve anonymously shared their compensation .  With the additional contributions, we were able to include data about LinkedIn and Twitter software engineers (below), as well some data for product managers.

For the original post, see Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft salaries.

Summary of Results

We expanded our analysis to include LinkedIn and Twitter salaries as well as more data points on Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. We standardized the engineering levels to the best of our abilities to compare compensation across companies for each level. We welcome any feedback or corrections to improve our analysis.

We found that Total Annual Compensation is still generally the highest at Google, mostly due to cash+stock bonuses.  For Levels 1 and 2, base salaries are comparable across companies, with the exception of LinkedIn which appears to have a much higher base salary. At higher Levels, Twitter and LinkedIn salaries are lower than the other companies. However, at Level 4, Twitter takes the lead with bonuses and total compensation.

Median Annual Compensation Per Level  

Median annual comp per level 20160609


A Closer Look at the Data

Here’s the underlying data to the chart. You can also view the raw data here.

Count Annual Comp (Median) Salary (Median) Bonus (Median) Stock Bonus (Median) Signing Bonus (Median)
Level 1
Amazon SDE1 62 $117,500 $95,000 $1,500 $16,638 $25,000
Facebook E3 20 $152,250 $107,000 $11,000 $25,000 $75,000
Google T3 13 $179,000 $110,000 $17,000 $46,000 $15,000
Microsoft SDE1 (59 or 60) 51 $122,000 $106,000 $11,300 $12,500 $15,000
LinkedIn Software Engineer 2 $171,500 $139,500 $12,000 $20,000 $27,500
Twitter SDE1 1 $208,000 $108,000 $100,000
Level 2
Amazon SDE2 43 $ 165,000 $122,560 $39,000 $25,000
Facebook E4 24 $ 188,400 $138,500 $14,000 $33,750 $30,000
Google T4 33 $ 215,000 $ 135,000 $21,500 $50,000 $ 20,000
Microsoft SDE2 (61 or 62) 93 $143,000 $124,000 $14,000 $10,000 $20,000
LinkedIn Sr. Software Engineer 11 $246,000 $160,000 $15,000 $75,000 $25,000
Twitter SDE2 6 $173,500 $136,000 $35,000
Level 3
Amazon SDE3 18 $ 183,750 $140,000 $0 $49,484 $57,500
Facebook E5 29 $ 254,000 $168,000 $25,100 $30,000 $50,000
Facebook E6 13 $ 415,000 $205,000 $41,000 $150,000 $20,000
Google T5 18 $ 325,500 $ 165,600 $30,000 $112,500 $ 27,500
Google T6 3 $ 377,000 $ 195,000 $42,000 $150,000 $ 16,000
Microsoft Senior SDE (63 or 64) 13 $144,600 $26,500 $26,500 $24,500 $15,000
LinkedIn Staff Software Engineer 1 $329,000 $155,000 $24,000 $150,000
Twitter Sr. Software Engineer 4 $285,000 $167,000 $119,000
Level 4
Amazon Principal Software Engineer 1 $ 445,000 $160,000 $35,000 $250,000
Google T6 3 $ 377,000 $ 195,000 $42,000 $150,000 $ 16,000
Microsoft Principal SDE (65, 66, or 67) 9 $285,000 $182,000 $50,000 $50,000 $10,000
Twitter Staff Engineer 3 $475,000 $155,000 $300,000
Google's T6 straddles Level 4 and Level 5, which is why it appears in each band
Bonuses and stock amounts were all annualized straight-line. In reality, Amazon's vesting schedule is 5%, 15%, 40%, and 40% over the 4 years, but we ignored this for comparison
Signing bonuses were not included in the Total Compensation calculation


We also looked at each company to see how Total Compensation changes across engineering levels. Compensation growth is still highest at Google and Facebook, while LinkedIn may have the smallest increase now, although our data on LinkedIn and Twitter is more limited.

Reported salary ranges for each level varied significantly.  This may reflect different seniority and performance within a level, the value of the company stock when equity was awarded, or other supply and demand factors.

Total Compensation Ranges Per Level

Total Comp Ranges per Level 2


Breaking down compensation between Salary, Equity, and Cash Bonuses, we can see that Twitter, Facebook, and Google offer the largest opportunity for salary and equity value growth with increasing engineering levels. LinkedIn growth in salary is relatively flat, although there’s growth in equity value.

Median Total Compensation Breakdown

Median Total Comp Breakdown

Contribute to the Analysis

We pulled this data together from a few sources listed at the bottom of this post, and we’d like to build on it and make it better.  We could use more data points for the four companies, particularly at the higher levels, as well as compensation data for other companies and tech roles. This would allow us to map levels and compensation across the larger companies or see how compensation for each role changes with company growth at smaller companies.

Share your compensation:


All answers will be anonymous and posted to a public sheet for anyone to view and download.  We’ll also update our findings and analyses for different companies, tech roles, etc.

Step.com is a salary discovery platform that lets software engineers and product managers find out what companies think of them and how much they’d pay them. Estimates and feedback are based on hiring criteria and anonymized profile data. Step is 100% anonymous and free. For more information, check out www.step.com.


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Product Manager Salaries at Amazon and Microsoft

We recently posted compensation data for Software Engineers at Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter. While we have far fewer data points on Product Managers than Engineers, we compiled the information we do have and wanted to share our findings. We hope that it spurs more product managers to anonymously share their compensation (regardless of company) as there clearly isn’t enough data yet to draw any significant conclusions.

What We Learned

Similar to what we did with engineers, we focused on Product Manager compensation at Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. We standardized the product manager levels to the best of our abilities to compare compensation across companies for each level (see the details below).

We have the most information from Microsoft employees. And though we only have a few data points from Amazon, it looks like PMs earn similar total amounts between Microsoft and Amazon.  Microsoft PMs, however, receive higher base salaries and Amazon gives larger cash and stock bonuses.

Median Annual Compensation Per Level

Median annual comp per level 20160609

Normalizing Levels Across Companies

The following table represents our attempt to normalize the PM levels across the four companies. We welcome any feedback or corrections to improve our analysis.

  Amazon Google Facebook Microsoft
Level 1 Level 4 APM PM3 Level 59 or 60
Level 2 Level 5 PM PM4 Level 61 or 62
Level 3 Level 6 Senior PM PM5 Level 63 or 64
Level 4 Level 7+ Group PM, Director PM6 and above Level 65, 66, or 67

The Data

Here’s the underlying data to the chart above. You can also view the raw data here.

Count Annual Comp (Median) Salary (Median) Expected Cash Bonus (Median) Annual Stock Bonus (Median) Signing bonus (Median)
PM1 1 $95,000 $80,000 $15,000
PM2 3 $150,000 $115,500 $20,000 $20,000 $28,500
Senior PM 3 $170,000 $128,000 $20,000 $30,000 $50,000
PM4 1 $167,500 $140,000 $27,500 $25,000
APM 1 $149,000 $110,000 $19,000 $20,000 $5,000
PM 1 $245,000 $150,000 $35,000 $60,000
Senior PM 1 $295,500 $195,500 $100,000
(59 or 60)
17 $127,000 $110,000 $10,250 $13,500 $18,000
(61 or 62)
14 $148,550 $124,000 $13,000 $10,000 $10,000
Principal PM
(65, 66, 67)
2 $264,000 $181,500 $37,500 $45,000 $185,000
Senior PM
(63 or 64)
6 $175,000 $150,000 $20,000 $12,000 $15,000
Cash bonuses and stock amounts were all annualized straight-line. In reality, Amazon's vesting schedule is 5%, 15%, 40%, and 40% over the 4 years, but we ignored this for comparison
Signing bonuses were not included in the Total Compensation calculation

Contribute to the Analysis

Our data currently consists of 1,700+ data points. Over 600 of these were contributed by professionals who anonymously submitted their compensation so that we can all benefit. But we need more data points so that we can provide better information to everyone.

Share your compensation:


The rest were pulled from a few sources listed at the bottom of this post. All answers will be anonymous and posted to a public sheet for anyone to view and download.  We’ll also update our findings and analyses for different companies, tech roles, etc.


A short survey for developers

If you’re a software engineer or other tech professional and you have two minutes to spare, we would greatly appreciate it if you could take our short survey. Your answers would help us refine our product and messaging as we prepare for launch early next year. At the end of the survey, you’ll also have the chance to sign up for early access once we launch.

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Startup Equity and Stock Options: What’s It Worth to You?

This is Part One in our series on startup equity compensation .

Startup life isn’t easy. But the perks often make up for it. Casual dress, free beer, and dog-friendly offices are drawing more employees away from the corporate world. “Work hard, party hard” philosophy aside, startups offer something America’s megacorps don’t—equity.

By giving out equity, startups can, in theory, align employees’ incentives with those of the company where those those long hours could lead to a much bigger payoff. But just how much perceived value does equity have to employees? How much does it matter when it comes to evaluating a job offer?

As part of our commitment to bringing more transparency to both professionals and employers, we decided to write our first article on the nebulous topic of employee equity and stock options. We polled over 200 professionals with startup experience, and interviewed several to find out how they feel about it. Not only did equity rank low on the list of reasons for joining a startup, but most didn’t fully understand it.  Startups just aren’t forthright with information, with the majority not even disclosing the number shares outstanding to prospective employees. And that lack of understanding seemed to affect the perceived value of equity, as those that did understand it placed more importance on it.

Equity Ranks Second to Last

We asked people to rank the factors driving their decision to join a startup, and we were surprised to learn that that equity ranked as low as it did. Equity came in second to last, just above investors.

Top reasons for joining a startup

How equity ranks for startup employees


The chance to work on something great, the team, and career advancement landed among the top reasons for joining a startup. Unlike an established company, a startup offers the opportunity to help shape the product, company culture, and public image while learning the ins and outs of the business.

As Donnie, the marketing director of an online gaming platform told us, “I always wanted to start my own business, and working at a startup seemed like a good compromise. It seemed like a good way to learn about running a business before trying it myself.”

Limitless possibilities and quicker career advancement are also part of the appeal. “It was the company’s potential that attracted me,” said Michael M., the director of an online media company. “I was also interested in working somewhere in the early stage because there are so many different areas of business that you get to touch.”

Most Employees Don’t Understand Equity

But why don’t more employees see equity as an added bonus? It may be because they don’t fully understand it. Surprisingly, over half of our respondents, 54%, didn’t fully understand their equity offer.

   54% of startup employees didn’t fully understand their equity grants.

Why? Most said they didn’t know what to ask, nor did they know what the company should tell them. But shouldn’t startups be more forthright with this information? As YC’s Sam Altman wrote on his blog, “Most startups do a bad job of helping employees think about the value of their options. At a minimum, any startup should tell a prospective employee what percentage of the company the equity grant represents (number of shares is meaningless).”

Our survey reflects Altman’s statement. While most employees knew their equity terms before joining a startup, only about 39% were told the fully diluted shares outstanding and how much of the company their equity represented.  Considering how little information companies provide, it makes sense that employees, with or without startup experience, are unsure about their offers.

Transparency Makes a Major Difference

When companies are transparent about salary and equity, 45% of employees say they were confident that their compensation package was fair compared to 8% of those at companies that did not disclose the information.

After digging into the data further, we found huge gaps in the level of transparency provided to senior and junior employees.  Executives and directors are at an advantage when it comes to equity because they’re typically given more information. In fact, half of our senior respondents said that the company told them the number of fully diluted shares outstanding. Only 25% of junior employees were given the same information.


Employee confidence in understanding their equity offer

Employees' understanding of equity compensation


Maybe this is why more executives, about 59%, understood their equity offer. Conversely, only 14% of junior employees reported understanding their equity offer. Senior employees also tend to view equity more favorably, with 38% of executives and directors seeing it as a chance to make a lot of money compared with just 14% for junior employees. If given the choice, just 18% said they would have negotiated a higher salary in exchange for less equity. Of the junior employees who responded, 56% said they would prefer more salary and less equity.

What equity means to employees

What equity means to employees

This may be because senior employees generally have more experience with equity and know what to ask, giving them a better understanding of their equity grants.  67% of executives and directors we polled had previous startup experience.  Michael M. told a similar story. Before accepting his most recent position, he worked at another startup for nearly five years and went through the company’s acquisition. “I didn’t know much about equity the first time, but I was more informed the second time and was willing to take the risk,” he said. “I was also in a better [financial] position to take on more risk the second time around.”

However, lack of transparency seems to be the norm at startups. In part two, we’ll explore company transparency and how you can learn more about an offer before you accept.

Cash Is Still King

Lack of transparency may explain why salary ranks above equity in the decision to join a startup.

   Over the last 5 years, compensation structures have shifted to favor cash over equity. 

Over the last five years, compensation structures have shifted to favor cash over equity. According to Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures, some non-founder startup executives have seen up to a 26% increase in cash compensation, while their equity grants have dropped by as much as 31%. Tunguz notes that this trend may be due to the recent cash rich startups or demand by new hires for a greater cash/equity split. Our respondents rank salary above equity, which seems to support the latter explanation.

This was definitely Michael N.’s experience. Michael, who works in operations and logistics at a social media company, told us, “One thing I’ve noticed is how different Silicon Valley is from when I first started out. Employees no longer need to sacrifice anything at a startup. They don’t have to take a hit on salary, and they still get equity. If I started a company in Silicon Valley, I’d have to offer higher salaries to stay competitive.”


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As part of our goal of giving professionals more transparency in the marketplace, we thought we’d conduct a survey about startup equity, a topic that has always been a bit fuzzy for a number of reasons.  We were curious about how much new hires and employees at startups knew about their equity, and how much startups should tell them.  We’ve polled about 200 people so far, and we’ll be putting out the results of the survey soon.

If you have startup experience and would like to contribute to the survey, you still can!  It would help make our results even better.  All survey respondents will get a sneak peek of our site before launch.  Feel free to share the survey with others too.

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