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Quantum computing salaries aren't that high yet, but they're likely to rise.

This is your pay in quantum computing

It's not just Google that's going big on quantum computing. Amazon web services (AWS) announced a selection of measures to accelerate its use of quantum computing yesterday, including a solutions lab, an academic quantum computing center and an AWS service that will allow users to experiment with computers from quantum hardware providers. Quantum computing is slowly becoming a reality.

It's a transition that hasn't escaped the attention of investment banks. As we reported in October, Goldman Sachs has been looking for someone to lead its quantum computing unit, which already employs Stanford PhD Rajiv Krishnakumar. JPMorgan has a quantum recruiting researcher in the form of Nikitas Stamatopoulos (a Dartmouth PhD) in New York and hired a quantum computing researcher in New York in March on a salary of $150k according to the H1B database.

One of the biggest recruiters of quantum computing talent in the U.S. this year, however, has been IBM (which recently cast aspersions on Google's claim to have achieved quantum supremacy). The technology company employs hundreds of people in a quantum research lab and is preparing to launch a 53 qubit quantum computer. It's reportedly already using quantum computers to generate games reminiscent of Minecraft. In September, it opened a quantum computation center in New York City and is running quantum internships. It's also partnering with Wells Fargo...

How much can you earn working in quantum computing for IBM? The H1B salary database offers a few pointers: IBM recruited five people on H1B visas to its quantum recruiting team this year. 

They include: three quantum solutions developers in Yorktown Heights, on salaries of between $120k and $125k, one quantum applications researcher in San Francisco on a salary of $250k, and one quantum computing applications researcher in San Jose on a salary of $145k.

The H1B database (which may understate the average as visa holders could be willing to accept lower salaries simply in order to enter the U.S.) suggests salaries of between $120k and $150k are currently the norm for quantum computing expertise. However, this is likely to rise as quantum computing develops and real-world applications proliferate.

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Photo by Felix Wegerer on Unsplash


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ci
    4 December 2019

    "The H1B database (which may understate the average as visa holders could be willing to accept lower salaries simply in order to enter the U.S.) "

    The underpayment of H-1B workers is well-established fact, not rumor, anecdote or ideology. It has been confirmed by two congressionally-commissioned reports, and a number of academic studies, in both statistical and qualitative analyses. Underpayment of H-1B workers leads to depressed wages overall in the STEM fields that use these destructive visas, hurting domestic workers

    An employer survey conducted by the GAO (GAO, 2003) found that some employers readily admitted to paying H-1B foreign workers less than comparable Americans, but noted that they were nevertheless paying the legally required wage (i.e., the "prevailing wage"), thereby illustrating that the latter is indeed below the market wage.

    The GAO found that, “some employers said that they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified U.S. workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.”[1]

    This jibes with a previous employer survey[2], commissioned by Congress, that found, "…H-1B workers in jobs requiring lower levels of IT skill received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses, and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did."

    So two employer surveys, one by the government and the other commissioned by the government, had employers actually admitting to underpaying their H-1B foreign workers. And the GAO shows that the employers admit that the prevailing wage, the legal wage floor for H-1Bs, is a joke. The data in the paper shows the underpayment statistically as well.

    [1] H-1B Foreign Workers: Better Tracking Needed to Help Determine H-1B Program’s Effects on U.S. Workforce
    GAO-03-883, US General Accounting Office, Sept. 2003

    [2] Building a Workforce for the Information Economy.
    National Research Council. 2001.

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