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:

Date Amazon 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  $255,796.85 11.5%
Year 3  $295,109.80 15.4%
Year 4  $353,497.80 19.8%


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!

32 thoughts on “The Anatomy of An Amazon Job Offer”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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 ?

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

      2. 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?

          1. Each year, depending on your performance review rating, you will get additional RSUs (i.e. “refresh grants”). These RSU’s vesting starts a few years later.

        1. Hi Andrew,

          I have a verbal offer for a level 5 data engineer at Amazon in Irvine, CA. I have 15 years of experience. Any idea how much data engineers at Amazon make?

        2. 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?

        3. 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.

          1. 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

        4. Hi Andrew

          I am interviewing for L5, Partner Development Manager oil and Gas in Houston. I have 15 years of experience in non IT related experience in Oil and Gas. What are my chances of success? What should be the comp expectation?

          Thanks

          Raj

        5. 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!

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

        6. 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?

          1. 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.

        7. Hello Andrew,

          Thank you very much for all your insight! Would you be able to tell me at what level an Ops Manager, Operations in New Jersey (Mahwah), and New York City is if there is any difference? And also what is the base salary and total compensation for the two areas? Thank you for any help!

        8. Hi Andrew, I recently had an onsite (virtual) interview at Amazon for a level 6 Sr. BIE position. BIE is business intelligence engineer (it’s now a stats/tech role). I have 10 years of experience. I wanted to check what is the Total compensation (and breakdown) I can expect. I appreciate your response.

          1. Amazon’s RSU vesting schedule is 5%, 15%, 40% and 40%. Use the current stock price multiplies by the number of shares, then multiplied by 5%, 15%, 40%, and 40% to calculate how much your RSUs worth for each year. Add your base and sign-on bonus on top of that.

            Now, you can also assume some stock price appreciation. For example, you can assume 10% appreciation each year (which is probably on the lower end).

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