Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Google's parent company, paid its employees an average of nearly $200,000 last year, the fourth highest median compensation of S&P 500 Index companies that disclose pay.
Citing Alphabet, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2017 it had median pay packages of more than $197,000, some 18% below Facebook Inc. (FB) where the median salary was $240,000 in 2017. Excluding the two, which are embroiled in a talent war with other technology companies, the median salary for companies in the S&P 500 was $69,205, noted the Journal. Google's and Facebook's compensation is higher than Amazon.com's (AMZN), the e-commerce giant, which pays a median salary of $28,446. The paper noted that the majority of Amazon workers are employed in warehouses and command salaries that are in line with the pay rate at other retailers’ warehouses. (See more: Alphabet Stock Pops Then Drops Following Earnings Report.)
The highest median pay for an S&P 500 company last year was Incyte Corp. (INCY), the biotech firm, which paid $253,000, noted the newspaper. Behind Facebook and ahead of Alphabet was Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) which had a median salary of $211,000. In general the tech industry pays employees more, with around half the companies saying they pay a median of about $85,000. Software and services companies tend to pay more than semiconductor and hardware companies, noted the Wall Street Journal. (See more: What Did the FAANG CEOs Make Last Year?)
At the same time that Alphabet is paying out lofty salaries, its chief executive Larry Page has committed to a pay rate of just $1. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook also is paid $1 but had overall compensation of $8.8 million last year, with a lot of it going to travel and security. Alphabet’s former Chair Eric Schmidt had a compensation of $4.7 million in 2017, which the Wall Street Journal noted is the highest among the big executives at Alphabet.
Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet’s Google search-engine unit received $199.7 million in compensation for 2016, in addition to a salary of $650,000, and another $372,000 toward costs for personal security services and air travel, reports news.com.au. In 2017, his salary was dropped to a token of $1. Over at Amazon, Jeff Bezos, was paid a total of $1.7 million in cash compensation in 2017. It’s comprised of $81,840 as his base salary, while the remaining $1.6 million covered expenses toward his security. Bezos also owns around 78.89 million shares of Amazon as of March 2018, representing a little over 16% ownership. He was just named the richest man in the world by Forbes.