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The massive pay on offer to entry-level Google recruits

One of the prevailing theories as to why many investment banks struggle to compete with big technology companies over blue-chip engineering recruits is the difference in culture and working hours. While that may also be true, the most prestigious tech firm on the planet also outpaces Wall Street when it comes to compensation. Google seems to have pushed the pay envelope yet again.

Dozens of graduating computer science majors in the U.S. shared offers they recently received from tech companies, courtesy of one long Reddit thread. Google stood out amongst the pack, both in terms of lofty compensation totals and the number of offers. Fifteen upcoming or recent graduates volunteered the details of the offers as well their education background and internships. We’ve compiled the figures in the graph below to showcase the average salary, signing bonus, equity award and annual bonus.


Ignoring stock awards that take four-years to vest, the average take-home compensation for new Google hires in the U.S. sits at around $181k (if they hit targets that pay out a bonus of 15% salary). Annualize shares over the four-year vesting period and you’re looking at nearly another $35k per year – huge numbers for entry-level engineers, particularly considering only two of the 15 earned their master’s degree. The other 13 all had their bachelor’s degree in computer science.

When breaking down the stats in a bit more detail, a few trends appear. The highest-salaried fresh recruits all received offers for positions at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Four were offered a salary of $120k, with a fifth earning the top overall salary of $125k, though that person has their master’s degree. The lowest offer was $102k, based in the more affordable city of Boulder, Colorado. Three who reported being offered $108k all interviewed for positions in Seattle.

As far as signing bonuses, they ranged from zero on one occasion to $100k, with the latter recruit also having their master’s degree. But the vast majority fell between $15k and $35k. Top schools and prestigious internship programs appear to be a big differentiator when it comes to signing bonuses as well as stock awards, which ranged from $90k to $300k, though the majority will receive $100k in stock after the four-year vesting period. The outliers all had one thing in common: they previously interned at Google.

The other big trend is that the biggest bonuses tended to go to those who negotiated and shopped other offers. Several comments suggest Google may be more willing than some other companies to negotiate, at least when it comes to signing bonuses. The only person who reported not receiving one had no other offer to shop and less prestigious internships. One student had completed five internships, with the rest having at least two under their belt before interviewing. 

When it comes to pay, Google appears to have reset the market yet again. Salaries for entry-level engineers with no post-graduate degree at investment banks tend to top out around $80-$90k. Signing bonuses are usually reserved for those with post-graduate degrees and stock awards are never part of an offer for someone fresh out of university.

Meanwhile, over in the U.K., the average salary for all Google employees was $139k for the fiscal year ending June 2018, down slightly from $141k the previous year. The average bonus, however, was up 40%, to $124k.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: btuttle@efinancialcareers.comBear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by actual human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t).  

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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