The Economics of A Microsoft Engineer

Salaries at big technology companies can vary greatly depending on skill, experience, education levels, seniority, and other factors. Companies usually do not publicize what they pay, so how do employees know if they are getting a fair deal?

According to OneZero, which focuses on the technology and science industry, about 400 Microsoft employees, out of the more than 150,000 it employs, are allowing colleagues to get a glimpse of their paychecks. Using a private Facebook page and a Google spreadsheet, they are putting their annual salaries, sign-on bonuses, yearly bonuses, and stock options out there for others to see.

This data shows that Microsoft, one of the largest and well-known technology companies in the world, pays the typical engineer with a level 62 software background and three years’ seniority, a yearly base salary of $150,000, plus a $20,000 bonus, and $15,000 in stock., a company that anonymously crowdsources salary data from multiple technology companies, reports slightly different amounts but, overall, not that far off. It reports the average Microsoft engineer with the same background earning around $137,00 in salary, a little over $26,000 in stocks, and a yearly bonus of about $18,000. This data only included a small sample of 147 people, which can often skew results.

Employees at Microsoft also state that although stock-based compensation significantly increases for engineers rising through the company ranks, cash bonuses stay relatively the same. To get around this, some members leave Microsoft to work for another company and then return as a higher-level employee to obtain better compensation.

Overall, though, Microsoft reportedly pays higher salaries and bonuses and issues more stock than other technology companies such as Oracle, Workday, and IBM. For engineers looking for jobs, it is important to evaluate not only these factors but other non-monetary perks such as flexible hours, telecommuting options, and generous vacation days.

Engineers have more leverage right now due to the record low unemployment rates in general and especially in the tech industry.