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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 17, 2007 at 3:48 PM

Clarity on Microsoft’s average pay

I should have used a better word in Monday’s column when I described the average pay at Microsoft.

In the column, I said it’s no wonder the local housing market held strong for so long, since salaries at the company average more than $145,000.

That figure came from Dick Conway’s study of Microsoft’s economic effect on the region. It said annual labor earnings at Microsoft averaged $145,000 in 2004, not including stock option income. If you count options, “average Microsoft employee compensation came to $188,900.”

A lot of Microsoft employees e-mailed me and asked about the figure, presumably since they’re making less, so I went back to Conway and asked for more detail.

Conway said the “annual labor earnings” include salaries, wages and “non-wage benefits” such as bonuses, insurance, retirement contributions and healthcare.

Microsoft wages and salaries alone averaged $115,500 that year, Conway said. That’s based on data Microsoft gave him: In 2004, the company paid salaries and wages of $3,262,137,743 to 28,237 employees.

For comparison, wages and salaries throughout the state’s software industry averaged $104,700 that year.

I should have said compensation instead of salary, although it’s a little tricky because compensation would include stock options and stock awards. The company shifted from options to awards, and awards can be counted as annual labor earnings while options are counted separately.

The point was, and remains, that the housing market has benefited from Microsoft’s pay.

Apologies for any confusion. If employees read the column and demanded a raise, I hope the conversations were productive. The local economy’s counting on you….

Comments | Topics: Microsoft

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