It appears that Google isn’t the only tech giant that’s handing out huge compensation packages to entry-level engineers. Facebook and Amazon have also recently upped the ante in the competition over fresh recruits, though the former appears to be a bit more generous than the latter, at least on paper.
For the chart below, we compiled dozens of self-reported offers received by graduating computer science majors in the U.S., including salary, signing bonuses, equity awards and annual bonuses, courtesy of a giant new Reddit thread. As you can see below, Google barely squeaks by Facebook and Amazon when it comes to average starting salary ($115k vs. $111k vs. $108k), but Facebook more than makes up for the difference with an average signing bonus of $66k, roughly $12k more than Amazon and $22k more than Google, though the top end at Facebook ($100k) is the same at Google.
Digging deeper into the numbers, Facebook and Amazon seem to make relatively boilerplate offers when it comes to salary. For Facebook, every graduating student but two was offered $110k. The outliers appeared to earn another $5k because they previous interned at social networking giant. Meanwhile, there was no deviation at Amazon; every respondent reported an offer of exactly $108k, which is actually more generous when you consider the cost of living differences between Seattle and Silicon Valley (that’s not saying living in Seattle is cheap).
When it comes to signing bonuses, Facebook leads the way, though there is quite a bit of variance there ($25k-$100k) and at Google ($0 to $100k), with factors like education, internship quality and leverage to negotiate all playing a factor. At Amazon, the numbers are again rather boilerplate. Half of respondents reported being offered a $34k first-year bonus while the rest said they received $24k. All students will receive an additional $20k signing bonus for year two, while Google and Facebook provide all the cash up front.
It's the same story for stock awards. Amazon offered everyone the same package: $70k deferred over four years with a 5%, 15%, 40%, 40% vesting schedule. Shares take a full four years to vest at Google and Facebook, though the average totals are significantly higher. Annual bonuses at Google and Facebook can reach 15% and 10% of starting salary, respectively, while Amazon doesn’t give out cash bonuses. Instead, the e-commerce giant is said to offer “stock refreshers” based on performance reviews.
Any way you slice it, all three companies have stepped up entry-level pay packages to stunning levels. You’ll likely earn more at Facebook and Google, but cost of living differences bring Amazon into a similar ballpark. The main difference seems to be that you can negotiate more at Google and Facebook, while it may not even be worth trying at Amazon.
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