Whatever the long-term goals are, most graduates covet a position in a FAANG company. FAANG is an acronym for America’s largest technology companies: Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), and Alphabet (GOOG) (formerly known as Google). These tech giants make up 13 percent of the S&P 500 market capitalization.
The tech five is among the world’s most admired technology companies. They consistently rank among the top companies for employee and leadership training and development. Their employee recruitment and retention programs are famous worldwide for handpicking the top talent. And for good reason. These companies credit their success to the quality of the people they hire.
Owing to their global reputations for nurturing employees who develop the world’s most popular technology products, FAANG employees are highly coveted by other companies worldwide. Many graduates view a FAANG job as a springboard to a more promising corporate career. Or if your plans are to launch your own startup, investors will be impressed if you have FAANG experience on your team.
Given all the career benefits of working for a FAANG company, here’s a question to ponder? Would you take a FAANG job at minimum wage over a position offering an annual salary of $200k elsewhere? In other words, how much future value would a FAANG job add to your career?
Fortunately, you do not have to face this pay dilemma as FAANG companies generally pay among the highest salaries. It’s well worthwhile, though, to consider the future career value of FAANG experience when comparing salaries and job opportunities among these top tech companies.
When evaluating FAANG compensation structure, you should not only consider the salary, bonus, and stock options, but also value of a FAANG job to open up future career opportunities.
FAANG Salary Comparison
The following analysis compares FAANG salaries across three key positions: software engineer, product manager, and marketing manager.
FAANG Software Engineer Salary Comparison
For software engineering positions, the entertainment media company Netflix pays a 31 percent higher salary than the highest paying technology company Facebook. Netflix is known to make large investments in its marketing analytics to target its videos and marketing based on customer preferences.
The major technology giants — Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google — pay a higher software engineering salary than competitors. The chart below shows Tier 1 technology companies pay higher entry level salaries than Tier 2 companies, which include IBM and Cisco.
The software engineer salary ranges below show Alphabet has the highest starting salary and potential earnings potential, at over $1 million annually.
- Facebook $180k–$890k
- Amazon $164k–$642K
- Apple $176k – $719k
- Netflix $499k
- Alphabet $191k – $1.02 million
As FAANG companies focus on new technology platforms, salaries could rise to bring new technology skills and competencies onboard. Facebook plans to invest heavily in its next computing platform based on its immersive computing platform. This virtual/augmented reality (VR) development centered around the Oculus platform is taking place in Facebook Reality Labs around the world.
Alphabet raised $2.5 billion in June to finance its autonomous driving technology in its Waymo division. Like the Google Cloud division, Waymo faces intense competition from other deep-pocketed tech and automative giants and will be hiring many software engineers to keep up with fast growth ahead. Meanwhile, Apple is giving out more grants to schools training hardware and software engineers as it introduces innovative new health, wireless and other features to its popular product lines and invests more in its own self-driving car project, Apple Car, which recently lost several managers.
FAANG Product Manager Salary Comparison
The next two charts show Netflix also pays the highest Product Manager and Marketing salaries. This likely reflects the super competitive market for streaming video, with a dozen major brand names recently entering the market including Walt Disney and Apple.
Product manager is a key position for innovative FAANG companies. They oversee the designs, engineering and business teams to bring new products to market. Alphabet (Google) pays the second highest product manager salaries. Alphabet is in constant need of product managers to support a broad technology platform in highly competitive areas, including search internet, online shopping, cloud computing, and self-driving cars.
Facebook is seeking “entrepreneurial” product managers with generally five years of experience in the consumer and enterprise software space. Product managers with experience in scaling and localization could find a position on the Amazonian team as the e-commerce company expands globally.
FAANG Marketing Manager Salary Comparison
Of the FAAG companies, excluding Netflix, Apple pays the highest marketing salaries and Amazon the lowest. LinkedIn lists 3,000 plus Apple Marketing jobs, 101 of which are new. Apple has many product lines seeking to fill a wide variety of marketing positions (social media, product marketing, design) to support rapid global growth, including Apple TV+, Music, Apps and Health. Apple is famous for selling experiences not only products. An Apple marketing stint could greatly enhance your own marketability in the job market.
Amazon’s lower marketing salary may reflect the maturity and success of its advertising and marketing platform. Marketing experience at Amazon opens doors in the digital advertising and e-commerce world.
FAANG Compensation Structure
The compensation structure of technology companies includes salary, bonus and stock. The company is assuming but not guaranteeing some stock growth when they negotiate your pay package. Stock options typically vest over four years at 25 percent per year. Amazon’s vesting schedule is 5/15/40/40. Retirement packages can add significant value to a pay package. FAANGS offer a 401k matching bonus (50 percent at Alphabet).
Bonuses are often used to entice new employees to relocate. Generally, FAANG salaries are competitive with other technology companies. You should, however, take into consideration the higher living expenses to work at Apple, Alphabet, or Facebook in Silicon Valley. San Francisco has the 16th highest cost of living in the world.
Alphabet (Google) provides $9k in housing costs and a shuttle service. At Amazon, which pays $2,500 in housing allowance, Jeff Bezos plans on using a hyper loop to speed employees to work from areas with a lower cost of living.
Stock options could potentially make up for the higher cost of living. FAANG stocks significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 10 years with a 38.2 percent annualized return. At Facebook nearby in Menlo Park, the $100k signing bonus could offset several years of higher living expenses. In 2022, Alphabet executives will begin to receive a bonus partly tied to their ESG performance.
Adding Up the Perks
No FAANG salary comparison is complete without reviewing the perks. Perks are generous at FAANG companies. Though following the COVID work-at-home orders, many fringe benefits like gourmet meals and yoga classes were reportedly cut back or offered online. Both Google and Facebook have scaled back food catering. To lure remote workers back to the office, FAANG is offering new and better perks.
If you get a job offer from a FAANG, do verify all perks directly with your potential employer.
In addition to health insurance, matching 401ks and wellness programs, following are some FAANG perks to get excited about.
Facebook offers a gym membership, parental leave, adoption assistance, a baby cash bonus and up to $3,000 in babysitter reimbursement. New employees receive a generous relocation package and job training. Food has been cut back at Facebook but you now get a free VR headset. If you do decide to work at home, Facebook will give you an allowance to subsidize your new work digs.
Apple will reimburse your educational expenses and match your charitable donations, and throws in free meals, commuter benefits, and gym memberships. Perhaps the best perk is the 25 percent plus discount on Apple products, as well as discounts for family and friends.
Amazon employees get to shop at a discount in the Amazon Extras marketplace, which includes hotels, entertainment, insurance and more. The average employee saves $4,900 a year. Bring your dog to work. Enjoy the gaming room, free classes, free audiobooks, and discounts on Amazon Prime.
Netflix ensures employees have lots of time to watch streaming videos. The company provides generous maternity leave of up to 12 months, unlimited vacation days, and open working hours. You also get mobile phone discounts.
The Googleplex does not hold back on perks, though gourmet food and snacks have been cut back. Man’s best friend is welcome. Also offered are free rides to work, free massages and ridiculously generous death benefits, which include immediate stock vesting, life insurance and half of the spouse’ salary for 10 years (plus $1k per month per child). Google plans to entice its workers back to the office with its megacampus, combining living accommodations and work space.
In response to COVID, most FAANGS have implemented more generous leave to take care of family members and allowance for child caring.
So when comparing FAANG coaches and salaries, be sure to hunker down and compare the healthcare copays, vacation and maternity leave time, 401k matching funds, and employee discounts. They can add up and make a big difference in your total pay package.