Joining a technology company like Google is a dream for many. It represents the pinnacle of big technology companies. Google is everywhere in our lives and builds products as GMail, GSuite and, of course, Google Search. It’s no wonder so many people aspire to work for the company. Time and time again, Google’s innovations have led to other players dropping out of the market.
Compensation is often top of mind for any software engineer. Every job needs to pay the bills and some jobs do so better than others. With a job at Google, you’ll have no trouble earning a good salary, but the question remains: what salary can you expect to earn at Google?
In this guide, we’re going to discuss software engineering salaries at Google. We’ll explore how much engineers earn, what benefits they can expect and how compensation differs between different levels at Google.
Google Software Engineering Salary Levels
Google, like many big technology companies, uses a tier-based system for compensation. This approach is often used by big companies because their hierarchy is larger and having a scale system ensures everyone at similar levels within the company earns a comparable salary.
To understand how much you can expect to earn as a software engineer at Google, you’ll first need to know the different levels of software engineers at Google. There are nine software development job titles at Google, which are as follows:
- Software Engineer II (L3 | 0-1 years of experience)
- Software Engineer III (L4 | 2+ years of experience)
- Senior Software Engineer (L5 | Manager I equivalent)
- Staff Software Engineer (L6 | Manager II equivalent)
- Senior Staff Software Engineer (L7 | Senior Manager)
- Principal Engineer (L8 | Director)
- Distinguished Engineer (L9 | Senior Director)
- Google Fellow (L10 | Vice President)
- Senior Google Fellow (L11 | Senior Vice President)
Most engineers at Google work in the lower brackets of the hierarchy. According to some former software engineers at Google, it’s very difficult to get promoted beyond the Staff Software Engineer level as jobs are scarce and only awarded to the best contributors.
How Much do Google Software Engineers Earn?
The average compensation you’ll earn as a software engineer at Google will depend on your experience and tier-based level. If you get started as an entry-level software engineer, your average total compensation will be toward the lower end of the scale. As you accrue experience and earn promotions, you can expect to earn a higher salary.
Google is definitely one of the top technology companies in terms of compensation. At lower levels, the compensation is equivalent to that offered by many other technology companies. But when you consider the higher levels, it’s clear Google favorably compensates their top-tier workers. Here are the average salaries you can expect to earn at Google by level:
|Level Name||Total||Base||Bonus||Stock (/yr)|
Data sourced from Levels.fyi.
As you can see, the salaries earned by Google software engineers are impressive at every level. Salary data was not made available for levels L9 to L11. To help you better understand these salaries, let’s break them down.
Base compensation refers to the standard salary you earn; it’s your initial rate of compensation you will earn per annum. Bonuses are offered to software engineers at Google on an annual basis and can vary from employee-to-employee. Stock refers to the stock options given to you by Google. All of these data points add up to create your total compensation package.
Google Software Engineer Stock Options
At Google, like in many other Silicon Valley technology companies, software engineers are issued Restricted Stock Units (RSUs). These are used by Google to compensate employees through company shares.
It’s important to note RSUs are subject to a four-year vesting schedule at Google. Each year, 25 percent of your stock is vested (roughly at a rate of 2.08 percent per month). This means you will unlock 25 percent of your stock each year.
Google sometimes refers to its RSUs as Google Stock Units (GSUs). In addition, the vesting schedule for RSUs/GSUs can vary depending on the number of shares you receive. For instance, if you earn less than 32 GSUs, your stock will vest annually, whereas if you earn between 64 and 159 GSUs, your stock will vest quarterly.
Benefits of Working at Google
Do those salaries impress you? Would you believe there’s more to Google’s compensation package than just monetary compensation and stock options? Well, as a software engineer you will also be eligible for a range of different benefits. Some of these benefits are unique to Google.
For instance, Google provides a subsidized on-site chair or table massage to their employees. The company also provides employees and their families international personal travel year-round. What’s more, Google software engineers receive $500 after the arrival of a new baby to take care of house cleaning, diaper bills and other related expenses.
Other benefits are standard among big technology companies and these can be divided into a few different categories. Let’s break down the main benefits offered to Google employees.
Insurance and Wellness Benefits
|Paternity Leave||12 weeks|
|Paid Time Off||15 days to start. Increases to 20 days after working for the company for four years and to 25 days after that.|
|Maternity Leave||18 weeks|
|Free Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner||5 days per week|
|Regional Transit System|
|Bikes on Campus||Used to navigate around Google headquarters and surrounding areas.|
Home, Financial and Other Benefits
|Phone Bill Reimbursement|
|Fertility and Adoption assistance|
|Mega Backdoor Roth IRA|
|401(k)||50 percent match available on all contributions up to $9,500. Google will match the greater of either: (a) 100 percent of your contributions up to $3,000 or (b) 50 percent of your contributions up to the $9,500 maximum.|
|Employee Discount||Varies between 5 to 15 percent off Google products.|
|Surrogacy Assistance||Reimbursement of up to $40,000 for fees.|
|Pet Friendly Workplace|
With all of this considered, it’s clear working at Google leads to significant benefits.
Google vs Other Technology Companies
How does Google fare when compared to the salaries of Microsoft and Amazon? That’s a good question. The below table includes comparisons between the compensation packages offered at Google and those offered by Microsoft and Amazon. This will help you determine at which company you can earn the highest salary:
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Entry-level||$179,000||$153,000|
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Second level||$256,000||$213,000|
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Third level||$343,000||$312,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Entry-level||$179,000||$156,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Second level||$256,000||$170,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Third level||$343,000||$218,000|
Google offers one of the most attractive compensation packages in the technology industry. As an entry-level engineer, you’ll command a significant salary. What’s more, as you gain experience at Google your salary and other compensation options like stock grants and bonuses will increase.
But salaries are not the only part of the equation. You’ll also receive benefits like tuition reimbursement, a favorable 401(k) policy, and free breakfast, lunch and dinner five days per week. If you’re thinking about working for a big technology company, Google is certainly worth considering.