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Methodology for Top Tech Employer Comparison

1. Overview

Using PayScale.com's extensive database, we examined the characteristics of the following large/well-known tech companies: Adobe Systems, Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., AOL, Inc., Apple Computer, Inc., Dell, Inc., eBay, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corp., International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., LinkedIn Corp., Microsoft Corp., Monster.com, Nokia Corp., Nvidia Corp., Oracle Corp., Salesforce.com, Inc., Samsung Group, Sony Electronics, Inc., and Yahoo! Inc. These characteristics include:
  • Job Details: common jobs, typical pay, typical tenure at the company, and typical years of experience within a career/field.

  • Demographics: typical age and gender breakdown.

  • Job Soft Features: These are measures of the satisfaction level, stress level and flexibility level of employees at a given company.

  • Benefits and Perks: common perks relative to the average employer, commonness of health benefits, and typical weeks of vacation.
In examining the characteristics of these companies, we eliminated retail workers from the sample:
  • Some of the large tech companies examined have a large or growing retail presence (e.g., Apple, Microsoft, etc.).

  • For this reason, we eliminated retail workers and retail managers from our sample to keep the data focused on the corporate employees.

  • Note: We did keep in all other workers from software developers to financial analysts to marketing assistants and thus did not further limit the sample to just IT workers, as it takes more than IT to make a business run.
2. Definitions

Total Cash Compensation (TCC):
TCC combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable. Total cash compensation does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or value of other non-cash benefits (e.g., healthcare).

Median Pay:
The median pay is the median (50th Percentile) annual total cash compensation. Half the people doing the job earn more than the median, while half earn less. This also is referred to as "typical pay."

Range in pay within a job can be very wide depending upon job choice, years of experience, scope of responsibility, number of employees, location, etc.

Pay Premium/Loss: Overall, when holding all else constant, this is the percentage difference in pay from working at the specific company over similar workers doing similar roles at other companies.

Profitable tech companies tend to pay a premium. For example, workers at the tech companies examined here earn pay, on average, 11 percent higher than similar workers holding similar roles at other companies.

Note: This percentage includes all workers (not just IT workers) with the exception of retail workers and retail managers.

Years of Experience: These are the number of years the respondent has spent in their field or career. Therefore the years of experience will incorporate all applicable jobs in the field, not just the current job.

Starting Median Pay: This is the national median pay for starting employees, which are full-time employees with five years of experience or less. For workers included in this data set, the typical starting employee has 2.5 years of experience.

Mid-Career Median Pay: This is the national median pay for mid-career employees, which are full-time employees with at least 10 years of experience. For the workers included in this data set, the typical mid-career employee has 15 years of experience.

Age: This is the median age of full-time, non-retail workers who work at the given company. The national median age for all full-time (non-retail) workers is 35.

Percentage of Male/Female Workers: This is the percentage of workers within a job that report their gender to be male or female. The average percentage of female workers across all full-time (non-retail) jobs and all employers is 52 percent.

Years with Employer (Tenure): These are the number of years the respondent has worked for their current employer. The average tenure across all full-time (non-retail) jobs at all employers is 3 years.

Common Benefits: These are benefits common to the specified company relative to their commonness at all employers overall. We chose to look at benefits in this way since the overall top benefits for all the companies are the same: 401(k), paid vacations/holidays and life/disability insurance.

By comparing benefits at a company to the typical benefits overall, we can observe benefits that are more common at a given company relative to the national average even if they aren't the most common benefits overall at the company.

Median Weeks of Vacation: This is the median number of weeks an employee receives each year for each employer.

Percent of Workers with Medical/Dental/Vision Benefits: This is the percentage of all employees for each company that have medical, dental and/or vision insurance.

Job Soft Features: These are measures of the satisfaction level, stress level and flexibility level of all employees at a given company.

Each percentage is based on the amount of employees at the company who answered the 2 most extreme answers for a given question, which has 5 answers overall. The percentage for satisfaction level is the percent of respondents who indicate they are either "extremely satisfied" or "fairly satisfied," the flexibility percentage is represented by the percent of respondents who are able to fully determine their own schedule and time off with or without advanced notice, while the meaning percentage is calculated from the answers of "yes" or "very much so" to the question "does your job make the world a better place?".

 
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