Which tech companies offer the highest percentage of stock-based compensation?
According to Blind, an app that allows technology professionals to anonymously report on their companies, “buzzy” tech companies such as Snap, Lyft, Airbnb and Instacart offer the most stock as a percentage of overall compensation. (Although many of the companies on this list are routinely referred to as “startups,” they have multi-billion-dollar valuations and their stock trades on public exchanges, meaning they’re well past the startup stage.) Take a look at the chart:
If you’re a technology professional who’s debating whether to work for a company with a high stock-compensation ratio, you’re making a pretty significant bet that the stock price will skyrocket (or at least stay level) over the next several years. If you’ve been involved in tech for any length of time, you know that bet has paid off spectacularly for some folks. The tech industry is saturated with stories of technology professionals who started working at Google, Facebook, or other tech giants during the early days—and who made millions as those companies grew and the stock price multiplied.
But there’s also a potential downside to stock-based compensation. If the company goes out of business, your options are worthless. Even outside of that catastrophic scenario, if you take most of your compensation in stock, and the stock’s price subsequently dives, you’re effectively taking a long-term pay cut. For example, if you joined Meta a few years ago and held onto your stock as it vested, the total value of that stock is significantly down.
Despite the twists and turns of the stock market, companies will continue to rely on it as an incentive for the foreseeable future. For example, recent reports suggest Amazon is giving out “record” amounts of stock to retain its technology professionals; Microsoft and Apple have also focused on significant stock payouts. Having stock as part of your compensation package always carries an element of risk—but perhaps owning any stock is better than owning no stock at all.