Many software engineers want to end up in management. But how much does management actually pay, especially at the largest tech giants? You might be surprised at how much certain factors will influence take-home compensation when it comes to managers, particularly those overseeing software engineering teams.
Levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation data from a variety of sources, has a breakdown of pay for software engineering managers. Just for fun, let’s look at what relatively entry-level software engineering managers make at some of tech’s biggest companies (we’ll choose Amazon, Google, Facebook/Meta, and Microsoft for this tranche, because why not?). Here’s the chart:
One key thing to note (and we’ve noted it before): stock can make all the difference when it comes to radically boosting compensation. Take a look at Meta/Facebook, which is generous with its stock options, versus the other companies on this list; while salaries and bonuses are roughly within the same range, stock allows Facebook/Meta compensation to leapfrog competitors.
Of course, that also depends on the stock price continuing to rise. Over the past few years, as tech companies everywhere have enjoyed skyrocketing revenues and expanding businesses, market cap and stock prices have risen accordingly. However, companies like Facebook/Meta have lately made strategic decisions that have driven stock prices down. If you’re applying for a position at a company offering stock as a major component of overall compensation, you need to take the possibility of such swings into account.
What’s the best way to negotiate for more equity? If you’ve decided to make stock a priority, focus your raise or job-onboarding negotiations on that, rather than bonuses or salary. Have a target goal in mind before you speak to your manager, and pay attention to the details—types of equity can vary (time-based RSUs, for example, versus performance-based RSUs). Last but certainly not least, make sure you’re comfortable with the balance of your overall compensation—you might not like the risk that comes with having too much of your overall package wrapped up in stock.