Business Insider analyzed salary data Microsoft discloses when it applies for visas on behalf of foreign workers to find the highest-paid roles within the company.
Granted, it's not a comprehensive look because it only includes salaries for foreign workers, but it gives rare insight into the otherwise-private pay practices at the $1.58 trillion tech titan.
We analyzed the federal data for Microsoft titles with the highest salaries, and provided a salary range for each role. Notably, the data doesn't include total compensation, such as potential bonuses or stock awards.
We focused on roles that pay $175,000 or more at the high end of the range, and categorized them based on information we found in job postings.
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Federal data provides a window into the highest-paid roles within Microsoft.
American companies have to disclose salaries when they apply for visas on behalf of current or prospective foreign workers. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification publishes the salaries every year. Business Insider analyzed the data to find the highest-paying roles within Microsoft, the $1.58 trillion tech titan.
Granted, it's not a comprehensive look because it only includes salaries for foreign workers. Still, it's the best look at salary data we have, because Microsoft — like almost every other company on the planet — generally doesn't disclose or discuss employee compensation, with the notable exception of its regulatory requirement to disclose the pay packages for top executives like CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft declined to comment for this report.
We analyzed Microsoft's more than 4,000 active foreign worker visas in 2020 to find the titles with the highest salaries, and provided a salary range for each role (the data doesn't include total compensation, such as potential bonuses or stock awards). We focused this list on roles that pay $175,000 or more at the high end of the range, and categorized them based on information we found in job postings. The highest we found pays $336,290.
Let us know if you think any titles are in the wrong place.
More than three-quarters of Microsoft's active visas are located in Washington state, where Microsoft is headquartered. The company has offices small and large all over America, including sizable outposts in California, North Carolina, and Texas. Note that offices in different cities may pay local employees at different rates, based on factors including the cost of living.
Internal Microsoft poll results obtained by Business Insider in May suggest a declining number of employees think their pay is competitive. Sources said that 55% of employees surveyed said their combined salary, bonuses, and equity is competitive with similar jobs at other companies — down from 57% in 2019, 61% in 2018, and 65% in 2017.SEE ALSO: Microsoft asks staff each year if they think their compensation is competitive. Leaked poll results show a declining share say yes.
Marketing: Up to $188,802
Microsoft hires for marketing roles across the business, and a few command some of the highest salaries within the company, including some related to Microsoft's channel partner network of resellers, systems integrators, and consultants.
Partner/channel marketing manager: $113,000 to $188,802
Group product marketing manager: $185,955.00
Channel executive: $183,095
Product marketing manager: $89,500 to $182,175
Architecture and service engineering: Up to $191,400
Many high-paying roles within Microsoft appear to relate to the company's Azure cloud computing business, including infrastructure service engineers and cloud solutions architects, but it's likely the company has service engineers and architects across the business.
Architecture and service engineering roles make up more than 13% of our list:
Partner technical architect: $138,430 to $191,400
Delivery management manager: $191,300
Senior service engineer: $145,397 to $190,305
Architect manager: $189,200
Principal solutions architect: $184,500
Cloud solutions architect: $93,750 to $183,116
Principal service engineering manager: $182,034
Architect: $113,800 to $180,100
Supply chain manager: $115,000 to $177,529
Sales and other customer-facing roles: Up to $191,920
Many of the high-paying jobs on the list had titles including the term "specialist," which Microsoft job postings indicate means a role within the company's sales organization. A "technical specialist" within Azure, for example, might help customers determine what cloud services they need for specific projects, and how to implement them.
Principal solution specialist: $191,920
Account technology strategist: $132,000 to $185,000
Technical specialist: $97,350 to $178,403
Specialist: $95,000 to $175,500
There were also a couple of additional customer-facing roles with a salary range above $175,000 — a learning development manager, which appears to help train Microsoft employees and clients, and an engineering role within Microsoft's customer support organization.
Learning and development manager: $186,056
Premier field engineer: $119,158.00 to $177,062
Finance: Up to $210,500
A few finance roles fetch high salaries within Microsoft, the highest-level of which is for a "controller manager," which appears to be basically a role in charge of financial management for a particular business, and is considered a member of the executive team for that business, according to a recent Microsoft job posting.
Controller manager: $118,000 to $210,500
Director RM [risk management] manager: $185,500
Financial analysis and controls manager: $118,000 to $180,462
Hardware, electrical, and mechanical engineering: Up to $212,500
Hardware, electrical, and mechanical engineering roles made up more than 13% of the highest-paying jobs on our list.
While these roles are likely spread across the company, some land within Microsoft's "experiences and devices" team, which Microsoft recently reorganized in order to bolster the group with internal cloud talent.
Senior hardware engineering program manager: $160,000 to $212,500
Senior mechanical engineer: $160,223 to $213,012
Senior electrical engineer: $153,000 to $217,153
Principal hardware engineer: $200,000
Principal electrical engineer: $196,953
Senior hardware engineer: $94,000 to $195,000
Electrical engineer: $94,000 to $190,000
Senior NPI [new product introduction] quality engineer: $185,000
Principal development manager: $191,126
Business development: Up to $240,000
Microsoft recently lost its top dealmaker, former head of business development Peggy Johnson, who took over as CEO of troubled startup Magic Leap.
Losing Johnson hasn't mellowed Microsoft's M&A ambitions. The company is trying to acquire a chunk of viral video app TikTok's operations. A few business development roles are among the highest-paid titles within Microsoft:
Business development manager: $164,300 to $240,000
Business planner management: $188,800.00
Business development senior manager: $175,000.00
Business program manager: $91,500.00 to $175,000.00
Design, and design verification and validation: Up to $242,761
Design, and design verification and validation roles made up about 10 percent of Business Insider's analysis of highest-paid roles.
Microsoft employs design professionals across the business, from its Microsoft 365 suite of business applications, to its cloud and artificial intelligence businesses:
Director, hardware DVE: $242,761
Principal design verification engineer: $219,057
Senior design validation engineer: $205,000
Senior design verification engineer: $140,000 to $203,991
Designer: $108,000 to $195,020
Design verification engineer: $94,000 to $181,872
Senior designer: $145,000 to $180,000
Program management: Up to $255,368
A project manager's role within Microsoft depends a lot on the team, but as former Microsoft Program Manager Amanda Song once explained, "they develop and advocate for the product vision, build the roadmap, interact with customers to collect feedback, and work cross-functionally with engineering, design, marketing, customer support, etc., over the product or feature life-cycle, from ideation through launch and beyond."
Principal PM manager: $109,000 to $255,368
Principal program manager: $110,000 to $222,944
Senior program manager: $109,000 to $221,000
Senior PM manager: $168,880 to $179,927
Business operations and program management leader: $179,200
Software engineering: Up to $263,400
Nearly one-fifth of the highest-paid job titles on our list are software-engineering related, the largest share of any category:
Software engineering manager: $123,000 to $263,400
Software engineer: $85,842 to $235,787
Software engineering lead: $143,000 to $228,303
Principal software engineer: $155,000 to $212,000
Partner software development engineer: $205,000
Senior software development engineer: $135,000 to $205,000
Principal software development engineer: $190,224 to $204,874
Principal software engineering manager: $202,000
Senior software engineer: $118,000 to $200,000
Software engineer manager: $192,400.
Principal research software development engineer: $186,046
Senior software engineer lead: $182,575
Research, data, and science: Up to $336,290
Microsoft Research is the company's long-established think tank, responsible for technologies powering everything from quantum computing to underwater data centers to the HoloLens goggle.
While not all Microsoft researchers and scientists necessarily work for the company's research arm, it's clear they are highly paid across the company.
Research, data, and science roles make up nearly 15% of our list:
Distinguished scientist: $336,290
Principal researcher: $185,644 to $215,370
Researcher: $110,000 to $200,000
Senior researcher: $175,000
Data and applied scientist manager: $159,825 to $255,823
BAI [business analytics and insights] manager: $205,300
Data and applied scientist: $109,000 to $202,940
Senior applied scientist: $162,000 to $183,650
Senior product analyst: $180,000
Senior data engineer: $175,500