Leaked Microsoft Data Shows Reported Pay for Software Engineering Levels

  • Hundreds of Microsoft employees self-reported their pay in a spreadsheet circulating in the company.
  • Insider analyzed the data to get an idea of what Microsoft pays across different seniority levels.
  • A representative said Microsoft had 190,000 employees and based its pay on a variety of factors.

A spreadsheet circulating among Microsoft employees lists hundreds of software-engineer salaries and bonuses. Insider analyzed the data to determine how much engineers report making at different levels of seniority at the company.

As of October, that spreadsheet, viewed by Insider, contained detailed self-submitted information on salary and bonuses from 1,200 employees across Microsoft, more than 600 of whom identified themselves as engineers at different levels.

Like many technology companies, Microsoft uses levels to indicate seniority for employees, including engineers. For instance, software development engineers generally come in at Level 59, senior software development engineers at Level 63, and principal software engineers at Level 65.

Microsoft’s level system for engineers goes up to at least Level 80, an esteemed title reserved for a select few “technical fellows” who often run big projects, such as the HoloLens boss Alex Kipman and the company’s chief scientific officer, Eric Horvitz. Some levels were not represented meaningfully in the spreadsheet.

This Insider analysis takes a look at the pay attributed to engineers across those levels, taking into account the base pay, cash bonuses, and stock awards that make up a total compensation package at Microsoft — showing the lowest, highest, and median salaries listed by employees in each unit. The median compensation package reported across the more than 600 self-identified engineers, not all of whom reported a unit, was $185,000.

Entry-level compensation packages started at a median of $132,900 in level 59, while senior packages started at a median $217,000 in level 63. This analysis doesn’t take into account special stock awards, which only about 60 of the self-identified engineers said they received and which therefore might have skewed the top of the compensation ranges in certain levels.

Insider was unable to independently verify the figures, and the submission form circulating among employees even says: “Share your anonymous info so we can all get paid more together. Round or fuzz data to avoid doxxing yourself.” Microsoft has nearly 190,000 employees, so the spreadsheet is unlikely to represent a comprehensive view. However, the data does appear to give a rare glimpse at actual pay rates within the company.

A Microsoft representative said the company based pay on factors like role, location, length in level, performance, and market competition.

Do you work at Microsoft or have insight to share? Contact the reporter Ashley Stewart via the encrypted-messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).