Silicon Valley’s Unique Wage Database


When Steve, a thirtysomething engineer, launched a software program firm in San Francisco just a few years in the past, he and his cofounder confronted the daunting activity of hiring a crew, from low-level engineers to a brand new VP. Novices, they nonetheless had a bonus: entry to Possibility Impression, an unique database of tech salaries that has grow to be a go-to reference for Silicon Valley startups. That insider data, Steve realized, has immense worth. “You get into the venture capitalist club and get all the magical data, which puts you in a power position,” he says. He remembers strolling away from negotiations with a newly employed worker pondering, “Man, this guy is underpaid—we got a good deal.”

In contrast to widespread self-reported wage websites like Glassdoor or Stack Overflow, Possibility Impression is reserved for elite customers—VCs and the executives on the startups they again (plus authorized and consulting companies). And whereas wage surveys are routine throughout industries, Possibility Impression is exclusive in its specificity and accuracy. Corporations share their staff’ anonymized salaries in change for entry to the vault, which is searchable by job title, location, firm dimension, income, and funding stage. Executives are required to replace their entries each six months, and Possibility Impression vets its knowledge often.

It’s now the world’s largest wage knowledge set for begin­ups. Roughly 2,600 personal, VC-backed firms use it; Radford, its largest competitor, counted 2,115 private and non-private firms in its newest expertise survey. Likewise, the vast majority of prime VC companies—Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital amongst them—have entry to the database.

Common wage estimates

  • QA ENGINEER
    1 to three years’ expertise
    Possibility Impression: $101,955
    Glassdoor: $71,004

  • DATA SCIENTIST
    four to six years’ expertise
    Possibility Impression: $132,536
    Glassdoor: $129,118

  • PROJECT MANAGER
    four to six years’ expertise
    Possibility Impression: $137,000
    Glassdoor: $82,403

  • DESIGNER
    four to six years’ expertise
    Possibility Impression: $126,125
    Glassdoor: $74,591

How that knowledge is used is determined by the shopper. “We view data as a commodity,” says Dee DiPietro, CEO of Superior-HR, the corporate that developed Possibility Impression. The distinction between what an applicant thinks they’re price and what an Possibility Impression–outfitted boss is aware of will be important. In accordance with Glassdoor, a software program engineer with 4 to 6 years of expertise at a midsize San Francisco tech startup earns a median of $120,000. Possibility Impression pegs the wage nearer to $141,000. When competing for expertise, that $21,000 cut up can present the leverage wanted to recruit candidates.

However in line with Steve—who requested to make use of a pseudonym for concern {of professional} repercussions—the system additionally invitations abuse. Whereas closed databases like Possibility Impression can be utilized to make sure honest pay, they will likewise be employed to lowball less-savvy recruits, says David Burkus, an affiliate professor of management and innovation at Oral Roberts College. “Information is the key to being able to confidently ask for more money,” Steve says.

He ought to know. After leaving his startup final 12 months, Steve was provided a brand new place as a software program engineer. The wage was $180,000—not dangerous. “Honestly, I probably would have taken the original offer,” he says. However Steve had an edge. Utilizing his earlier firm’s login information, he checked Possibility Impression’s charges. What he discovered made him inform his potential bosses they’d need to do higher. His eventual beginning wage: $205,000.


Rachel Nuwer (@­RachelNuwer) is a contract author residing in Brooklyn.

This text seems within the June concern. Subscribe now.


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