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HR/BENEFITS

Silicon Valley Salaries Hit the Roof

With 22 U.S. tech execs earning more than $20 million in total compensation last year, securing top talent is tougher than ever.
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UPDATED at 2:20 p.m. to include comments from Lover.ly CEO Kellee Khalil.

Escalating pay levels for tech executives have made the market fiercely competitive and a huge draw for international talent, according to data compiled by Equilar, a research firm.

Equilar found 22 tech execs in the U.S. made more than $20 million in total compensation in 2013, which includes salary, bonus, stock, and other benefits. As a result, more high-profile execs are decamping to Silicon Valley in lieu of going abroad. 

The escalating compensation packages at large tech companies make it difficult for small businesses to attract top talent. If you do manage to snare a coveted executive, expect to pay a hefty price. "It's a competitive market," Tim Sparks, the president of San Jose consultancy Compensia, told Bloomberg. "It's amazing what companies will do to go after people."

According to Equilar, tech titans such as Apple and Google offer flexible schedules and unlimited vacation to entice workers, while other companies promise a healthy work-life balance, along with considerable equity to complement salaries and bonuses.

"More tech companies will pay above $20 million a year than any other industry," Aaron Boyd, director of governance research at Equilar told Bloomberg. 

With U.S. tech profits at an all-time high, Silicon Valley is looking like the new Wall Street. However the huge packages have widened the income gap in Silicon Valley, where some members of the tech elite are making a fortune even when their companies fare poorly. 

Henrique de Casto, whom Marissa Mayer dismissed as chief operating officer at Yahoo in January, will reportedly take home $109 million, including severance benefits and equity awards, for a mere 14 months of service. 

Startups shouldn't seek to hire executives who are fixated on commanding giant salaries anyway, says Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO of New York-based Lover.ly, a search engine for weddings. "It's difficult when you compete against companies like Google and Facebook that have a tremendous amount of resources and perks," she says. "But if people are coming to a startup just to get money, they're not the right person. At the end of the day, anyone can offer them more money." 

 

 

Last updated: Feb 20, 2014

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.




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