The Anatomy of An Amazon Job Offer

David got a job offer from Amazon in April 2013. His job level is Software Development Engineer (SDE) level 2.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, and he had 8 years of work experience before he joined Amazon’s office in a major city in the east coast.

Below is his job offer details:

  • Base salary: $150,000
  • Sign on bonus: $142K for two years. He received half of it when he started, and received the second half in the beginning of year 2.
  • Restricted Stock Units: 550 Shares. Vesting Schedule: 5% year 1, 15% year 2, 40% year 3 and 40% year 4

Amazon’s historical stock price:

DateAmazon Stock Price
04/30/2014$304.13
04/30/2015$421.78
04/30/2016$659.59
04/30/2017$924.99

Let’s calculate David’s total compensation:

Assumptions:

  • David sold his RSUs at end of each year immediately after the shares were vested. He could have made a lot more because Amazon’s shares had appreciated 3X from 2014 to 2017 but nobody could predict the future.
  • David will get a small salary increase each year. We didn’t include any salary increase. Unless he gets a major promotion, the salary adjustment is probably around 3%.
Total Compensation YoY Growth
Year 1 $229,363.58
Year 2 $255,796.8511.5%
Year 3 $295,109.8015.4%
Year 4 $353,497.8019.8%


A few observations:

  • David’s total compensation has grown very nicely due to the tremendous appreciation of Amazon stock.
  • Amazon’s stock vesting schedule is very different from most other high tech companies. The 5%/15%/40%/40% vesting schedule is designed to keep people stick around.
  • The sign-on bonus is another feature of their job offer to lock people in (if you leave early you have to pay back portion of the sign on bonus.)
  • If David has kept all of his stocks without selling anything until end of year 4, his 550 shares would have worth $508,744 (half million dollars)!

No wonder recently Warren Buffet admitted he missed investing in Amazon — here is his quote — “I was too dumb to realize. I did not think [Bezos] could succeed on the scale he has,” Buffett said, adding that he “really underestimated the brilliance of the execution.”

Each month, I share updated Amazon/Google/Facebook/Microsoft/Apple offer information (base + sign on + stock options/RSUs) with my newsletter subscribers. This is based on real-time data and insights I collected from my coaching clients who recently landed offers at these top-tier employers. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

If you want to get hired at Amazon, check out 2019 edition of How to Get A Job at Amazon!

Comments 21

  • Hey Andrew,

    I think you may have made a typo when displaying his sign-on details/offer. You initially state in year 4 that 50% of his stock will vest when it should be 40% as stated later in the page.

  • Are these real numbers? Or just grossly inflated? (I am pointing to the base salary and signing bonus). Thank you.

  • how often these 550 RSU’s are given ? is it one time ? or 550 RSU’s every year

    • This is one-time and vested over 4 years (5%, 15%, 40% and 40%). Each year, if your performance is good enough, you will get a little bit more additional stock grants but its vesting dates will be further out.

  • Thanks Andrew/Admin for this post. It really gave me a good insight in Amazon’s pay structure. Can you please tell me what is typical salary package at amazon for Customer Solutions Manager/Senior customer solutions manager ?

    • Where is the position based? Is this level 5, 6 or 7? I need some specifics to give you a range.

      • Thanks Andrew..the location is in PA, USA and level 6.
        Also, any idea What is typical salary for level 7 Sr Customer Solutions Manager?

        • For level 6, the total comp (base + sign-on bonus + RSUs) would be in the range of $200K – $300K. If it’s level 7, it can be as low as high 300s to high 400s.

  • Thanks Andrew for the reply..it matches what I was thinking for level 6. I wasn’t aware about level 7 range.

    If I may, where are you based and where do you work?

  • Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for providing such valuable information! I am currently in the interview process for an L7 Principal position with AWS. I’m from the Chicago area, with 20 years of relevant experience. Do you have any information about whether they ask you what your expected salary is before making an offer? If so, what do you think would be a good number for me to start with?

  • Great article! Very helpful for breaking down their comp structure.

    Do you have any insight into Amazon salaries for non-technical roles? I’m currently interviewing for a Senior Communications Manager role based in Seattle for AWS and trying to assess what is reasonable for total compensation expectations. I have 10 years of experience in the field. I don’t know the level though I believe a level 5 or 6, possibility for a few direct reports.

    • Hi Jeanett,
      Amazon has a wide range of total compensation at level 6 (I assume your role is level 6 but correct me if I’m wrong.) I’d need your background, resume and job description to give you some guidance. Feel free to email me (andrew@nailyourjobinterview.com).

      Andrew

  • Hi Andrew,

    I was just told an offer will be extended to me for an Area Manager position in San Jose, CA. I’m wondering if you have an idea of how many stock options are often provided for this role and which part of the compensation package is most beneficial/realistic to negotiate. Is it best to negotiate on the spot or consider the package first and have a second conversation in later days? Thanks!

    • Yes I have some ideas of RSUs (not stock options). I recently advised an Area Manager. Can you email me (andrew@nailyourjobinterview.com)?

  • Hi Andrew,

    Not sure what level the position is but the question is for a Finance Manager role in CA. What should be the expectation for total comp?

    • The total comp for finance manager in CA could have wide range. I’d need to need your background, job description and resume to give you my thoughts. The bay area does have higher base salary than Seattle due to cost of living, but it’s not that much. Drop me an email (andrew@nailyourjobinterview.com) with details and I can give you some ideas.

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