Are Amazon’s engineers and technologists happy with their compensation?
That’s a critical question for the e-commerce giant, one it attempted to answer with an internal survey earlier this year. Some 46 percent of employees in “tech-adjacent” roles such as engineers and designers said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with current compensation, according to report in Business Insider.
However, 28 percent reported being either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” while 25 percent were “neutral.” Another 31 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of Amazon’s restricted stock unit plan, which is pretty close to the 37 percent who had a favorable view (29 percent were neutral); that’s potentially concerning for Amazon’s executives, who intended the stock program to help retain its most valued technologists.
Amazon has taken several steps over the past year to boost its workers’ happiness and retention, particularly corporate employees such as technologists. In February, it boosted its maximum base pay for corporate and technology employees from $160,000 to $350,000. “This past year has seen a particularly competitive labor market and in doing a thorough analysis of various options, weighing the economics of our business and the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent, we decided to make meaningfully bigger increases to our compensation levels than we do in a typical year,” the company wrote in an internal post reviewed by GeekWire.
And in August, The Information reported that Amazon was handing out “record amounts” of stock, including 138 million restricted stock units to employees in the second quarter of 2022.
Stock is a massive factor in Amazon technologists’ overall compensation packages. According to levels.fyi, which crowdsources salary data for a wide range of tech companies, an entry-level Amazon software engineer can expect to earn an average of $128,304 in base salary, stock worth roughly $23,163, and a bonus of $19,096, for a total of $170,563. As employees climb higher, stock options consume a much larger slice of the overall compensation pie: for an SDE III, the average base salary of $161,703 is supplemented by stock worth $171,054 and a bonus of $8,730, totaling $341,487.
In the past few weeks, Amazon has also instituted a hiring freeze for many roles, although it continues to recruit technologists for Amazon Web Services (AWS), its burgeoning cloud platform. But if crucial technologists who are unhappy with their compensation decide to leave, it could theoretically open up some slots for those with the right combination of skills and experience.