Microsoft is one of the world's most influential tech companies. We took a look at how much it pays its employees.
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, 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.
Microsoft’s 144,000 global employees progress up a wider scale of levels than many other tech companies. The company’s internal structure begins at level 58 or 59 for entry-level white-collar workers and climbs up to 80—levels lower than 58 are typically reserved for support staff and retail workers. Employees that reach level 70 and beyond are typically Corporate Vice Presidents (CVPs), Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs) and C-suite executives.
In 2020, a group of the company’s employees collected over 1,200 salaries in a spreadsheet and leaked them to the public amid concerns over gender-based pay equity. The information revealed the average wages for many non-executive levels, including bonuses and stock options.
According to crowd-sourced data from Levels.fyi, Microsoft’s software engineering talent enters the company at level 59, collecting an average of $164,000 per year in compensation. Over the following ten levels, an engineer can climb from an intro role to become Senior Software Engineer (levels 63 and 64) and eventually a Partner (levels 68 and 69), earning $950,000 per year. However, it is rare to climb to the top of Microsoft’s salary bands. According to leaked data analyzed by Insider, software engineers across the company’s business units collected a median compensation package of $185,000.
Entry-level hardware engineering employees command a similar, though slightly lower compensation package as their software engineering counterparts and earn $151,000 per year at level 59. However, unlike software engineers, this number doesn’t grow as quickly as an employee progresses through the ranks. Levels.fyi’s data reveals that, on average, hardware engineers only gain a $3,000 pay bump when they jump to level 60. By the time they reach level 66, they’re bringing in $347,000—over $100,000 less than a software engineer with similar seniority.
Like most other technical organizations at the company, Microsoft’s product design team starts at level 59. These entry-level product designers can expect to bring in an average of $150,000 in total compensation upon joining the tech giant. As they progress, a product designer can earn approximately $159,000 at level 60, $179,000 at level 61, and eventually $376,000 at level 66. These compensation numbers place product designers at the lower end of Microsoft’s technical pay scale; an observation backed up by the company’s own leaked data.
Average pay figures drop considerably outside of Microsoft’s technical organization, though not as harshly as other tech companies. Entry-level applicants who join Microsoft’s recruiting team at level 59 can earn an average of $103,000 per year. This number grows steadily as a recruiter hones their skills and moves up the corporate ladder. Comparably, a platform that allows users to compare employers and salaries places the average Microsoft recruiter’s annual compensation at $122,308, while Glassdoor pegs it at $115,416.
Microsoft’s marketing department is in charge of evangelizing the tech giant’s wide range of products, from office tools like Teams to consumer products like the Xbox gaming console. Many of these staffers are hired as level 59 employees and execute the day-to-day operations that keep Microsoft at the front of consumers’ minds. On average, these entry-level employees earn $104,000 per year and can expect a pay bump of between $10,000 to $30,000 at each new level as they climb up the corporate ladder.
The sales team at Microsoft pushes its bevy of corporate tools, like its Azure cloud and suite of enterprise tools. While it can be challenging to place the average salary for a salesperson, Levels.fyi has ascertained that Microsoft’s sales staff earns approximately $152,000 at level 60, around $217,000 at level 61 and up to $789,000 at level 67. These numbers are heavily dependent on bonuses, especially at the lower levels, and stock grants in more senior roles—for instance, just $83,000 of a level 60’s total compensation can be attributed to base salary, and the majority of the remaining sum comes from performance-based bonuses.