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How Much Does Disney Pay?

Looking for a job at Disney? Here's how much you can expect to earn.

Image courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
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5 minute read

Salary has been traditionally a taboo subject for most Americans to discuss. Most people would rather describe the most embarrassing moment of their lives than tell a coworker how much they make. But that is changing.

New regulations across the country, like New York City’s pay transparency law, slated to now go into effect in November 2022, are forcing employers to publish salary information for jobs publicly. While the information might not reveal an exact paycheck, it lets workers know where they stand relative to each other.

The average U.S. tech worker earned a record high of $104,566 in 2021. While that sum doesn’t take into account other forms of compensation, like stock options and equity, it does paint a picture of how lucrative working in the industry can be—by comparison, at the end of 2021, the average U.S. salary was just $1,010 a week or approximately $52,520 a year.

Disney’s Payscale

Unlike the large tech companies we have previously covered, The Walt Disney Company is a media and entertainment behemoth and its internal level system is nebulous at best. While it seems like Disney implements a level system throughout its organization, public information on its structure is hard to come by. Using confirmed offer letters from anonymous professional network Blind and compensation data source Levels.fyi, we can begin to piece together Disney’s internal level system for its tech team, which likely begins at P1 (Associate Software Engineer) before jumping to P2 (Software Engineer), P3 (Senior Software Engineer), P4 (Staff Software Engineer), P5 (Principal Engineer) and P6 (Senior Principal Engineer). In our research we also found hints that the level system extends to other departments — for example, M3 denotes a Senior Manager in the marketing department — however, it seems that seniority is widely denoted at Disney through job titles rather than rank.

Just as varied as Disney’s internal structure is its pay scale, which doesn’t just vary by rank; it also differs by location, with local cost of living taken into account.

Software Engineering

Disney’s software engineers are an increasingly important part of the company’s operations as it leans into its digital presence with its streaming platforms, including Disney+, ESPN+, Star+ and Hulu. But software engineers aren’t just pigeonholed into its streaming team, as the company also employs tech workers within its Parks, Experiences and Products business unit.

Entry-level tech talent will come into Disney as an Associate Software Engineer, with an average compensation package of $115,000 per year, broken down between $99,000 in salary, $7,000 in stock options and a $9,000 bonus, according to data from Levels.fyi. Engineers that show promise can be promoted to Software Engineer, making an average of $164,000, and Senior Software Engineer, making $202,000. After that techies can become a Staff Software Engineer, bringing in $263,000 in total compensation each year, before topping out at Senior Principal Engineer with a total pay package worth $434,000, on average.

As employees climb the ranks their compensation tends to become more incentive-heavy. For instance, a Senior Principal Engineer can typically expect around half of their compensation to be cash, with the other half consisting of a mix of stock options and bonuses.

Product Design

Disney’s product designers are the employees that oversee the process of building and improving features that enhance a user’s experience. At the Walt Disney Company a product designer can typically expect to start out as an Associate and with a year of experience can earn between $88,000 and $117,000, according to confirmed offers listed on Levels.fyi. As employees progress up the corporate ladder they can expect to bring in $180,000 in total compensation as a Senior Product Designer, with an average of 5 years of experience.

Marketing

Disney has a massive marketing organization that spans social media advertising, paid partnerships, billboards, websites, events and more. Members of Disney’s marketing team are responsible for keeping its never-ending stream of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars content on the minds of consumers around the world. On average, the typical Marketing Manager can expect between $64,000 and $154,000 per year, with the average salary falling at roughly $94,000, according to Glassdoor. Disney’s copywriters can expect to earn around $88,000 in annual pay, per Indeed.

Recruiting

Recruiters keep Disney stocked with top talent, which is a hard job, especially as they are competing with some of the largest tech companies in the world. The average Disney recruiter can expect their base pay to fall somewhere around $90,000, according to Glassdoor data. However, they are also eligible for large bonuses, with payouts ranging from $15,000 to $214,000.

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