California Pay Transparency Reveals Big Tech Salaries

Senate Bill 1162 requires employers to post a salary range for California positions, and offer a salary range for current employees when requested.

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Gizmodo took a look at the salaries of some open positions at Apple, Meta, and Tesla in California.
Gizmodo took a look at the salaries of some open positions at Apple, Meta, and Tesla in California.
Image: Apple Campus in Cupertino, Justin Sullivan (Getty Images), Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, Justin Sullivan (Getty Images), Tesla Factory in Fremont, Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

California’s salary transparency law has officially gone into effect as of January 1, forcing companies to unveil the wages they pay to their workers. As such, the curtain is being pulled on the mystery behind the cash flowing through some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.

This past September, California Governor Gavin Newsom officially signed Senate Bill 1162 into law, which requires California companies with more than 15 employees to post a position’s salary in its job posting. Likewise, current employees can request the pay scale of their position from the company.

New York City enacted a similar pay transparency law earlier this year, with only minor hiccups, and New York State has also signed a statewide pay transparency law. Senate Bill 1162 was specifically designed to tackle gender pay gaps, according to quotes from Governor Newsom, but an unintended side effect of the state’s transparency law is that it now sheds light on how much some of the world’s largest tech companies pay their workers.

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Gizmodo took a look at three random job openings each from Meta, Apple, and Tesla to find out how much these companies are paying for different positions. While job posting websites like Indeed do offer salary estimates, these salary ranges are likely more accurate as they are straight from the horse’s mouth.

California-based jobs at Meta pay:

  • Software Engineer (Leadership) - Product at Meta requires 12+ years of programming experience and 8+ years of experience with web or mobile technologies: $205,000 to $281,000 per year;
  • Data Scientist, Machine Learning at Facebook requires at minimum a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Statistics, related technical field, or equivalent practical experience and a minimum of 8 years of experience (minimum of 6 years with a Ph.D.): $197,000 to $269,000 per year;
  • Research Scientist Intern, Computer Vision and Machine Learning for Messenger requires that the applicant either has or is in the process of getting a Ph.D. and Meta says that internships last anywhere from 12-24 weeks long: $7,313 to $10,250 per month.
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California-based jobs at Apple pay:

  • Shipping, Receiving and Mail Lead requires 5 + years’ experience in a fast-paced Shipping, Receiving, and Mail team or similar environment: $29.04 to $43.59 per hour ($60,403.20 to $90,667.20 per year assuming a 40 hour work week for 52 weeks);
  • Display Technologist “generally requires” a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree with more than 5 years of experience in relevant field: $113,500 and $207,000 per year;
  • WiFi Quality Engineer is an entry-level position that requires at least two years of experience with both 802.11 protocols and/or Bluetooth and software quality assurance methodologies and practices and only requires a Bachelor’s degree: $113,500 and $171,000 per year.
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California-based jobs at Tesla pay:

  • Solar Maintenance, Lead Roofer requires general hardware and wiring expertise along with customer service skills and a valid driver’s license: $14.63 to $52.62 per hour ($30,430.40 to $109,449.60 per year assuming a 40 hour work week for 52 weeks);
  • Automotive Painter requires at least 5 years experience in refinishing cars and you must be 18 years or older: $18.24 to $82.08 per hour ($37,939.20 to $170,726.40 assuming a 40 hour work week for 52 weeks);
  • Associate Quality Engineer requires a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related technical field and a willingness to travel: $57,600 to $309,600 per year.
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The salary ranges on some of the positions are comically massive, which probably isn’t great for the potential employee if they’re being offered a job on the lower end. But it does give both the company and the job seekers wiggle room to negotiate. Each of these corporations had hundreds of job openings in California alone and Gizmodo took at look at a few more from each company. On the surface, it appeared that Meta offered less entry-level positions than Apple and Tesla. Tesla, meanwhile, seems to be leaning heavier into positions that pay hourly as opposed to annually. And while Tesla has positioned itself as a tech company, there’s been recent pushback among investors, labeling it a carmaker, not a tech firm.