Main image of article Will Big Tech Companies Continue Paying 'Mega Salaries'?

Tech’s biggest companies are famous for paying high salaries to tech professionals. Senior engineers, data scientists, and project managers at giants such as Google and Microsoft can earn six- or even seven-figure compensation, including salaries, bonuses, and stock options. But can this “mega salary” trend sustain itself?

Over at Blind, which queries the tech industry on a number of issues, a new survey suggests tech professionals are divided over the prospect of mega-company salaries staying high. When asked whether the days of $500,000+ salaries are over, some 51.6 percent of the 14,178 respondents said “yes,” and that a “rebalancing” is inevitable; another 48.4 percent disagreed:

“Tech is still extraordinarily lucrative,” wrote one anonymous tech pro who works at Amazon. “The salaries are here to stay, but ridiculous overpaying is over. I doubt we’ll see Meta/Google/Doordash etc. throw 500k at someone who’s making 200k currently.” (Blind verifies users’ companies via their work email, so we have a higher degree of confidence that this individual actually works for the e-commerce giant.).

“I’m curious whether they’ll just cut the highest paid engineers or offer them less money,” wrote another, hinting at the mass layoffs at some of the biggest names in tech.

Headcount is associated with the work that is outlined for the year or so. No more hiring redundant engineers because of whatever reason,” offered someone from Salesforce. We’re still paying $500k+ (myself included) to the right person. If you aren’t able to prove your worth, you’re let go in 4-6 months.”

Given the fierce competition for talent among tech’s biggest companies, it seems unlikely that compensation will steeply decline for in-demand roles such as data scientist, software engineering manager, product designer, and software engineer. For example, Google pays out six-figure salaries for entry-level software engineers and data scientists; if it doesn’t, chances are good a competitor will. Industries beyond tech (including retail, manufacturing, and finance) also want these tech pros, adding to the upward pressure on salaries.

It’s a similar issue when it comes to highly specialized talent. A highly monetized tech giant is more than happy to pay a seven-figure salary for a prominent A.I. researcher. Over at Meta, salaries for VR developers working on the mission-critical “metaverse” can likewise earn more than a million dollars per year. As long as two or more companies want a tech pro with unique skills, compensation still remain elevated—and tech pros are more than happy to use current salary rates as leverage for getting what they feel they deserve. What, if anything, could actually make specialist compensation decline?