4-27-18 9:45 PM EDT | Email Article
By Douglas MacMillan 

Google parent Alphabet Inc. said its workers earned a median pay package of more than $197,000 last year, the fourth-highest pay among the hundreds of companies in the S&P 500 index that have disclosed those figures.

Alphabet's median pay was about 18% lower than at rival internet giant Facebook Inc., where employees earned a median salary of $240,000.

The relatively high pay at two of the world's biggest tech firms is a sign of the ongoing talent war in Silicon Valley, where talented engineers are in limited supply. Their pay numbers far surpassed most of the 379 companies in the S&P 500 that had disclosed compensation figures through Friday afternoon. The median figure among that group was $69,205.

Facebook and Google also dwarfed another tech giant in this category, Amazon.com Inc., where a median worker makes just $28,446. Most of the roughly half-million employees at Amazon unload trucks, drive forklifts and walk miles collecting products to fill orders -- all for around the same pay as workers in other retail companies' warehouses.

Companies in the technology sector as a whole are reporting higher figures, with half reporting median employee pay over about $85,000. But even within tech, there is a split, with software and services firms tending to report higher median income than semiconductor and hardware manufacturers.

The highest median pay reported in the S&P 500 so far was by Incyte Corp., a Wilmington, Del., biotechnology firm with 1,208 employees. Incyte's median pay was about $253,000. The third highest, below Facebook and above Alphabet, was Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. at more than $211,000.

The average worker at Alphabet earns far more than Larry Page, the company's chief executive, who takes a nominal compensation of $1, the company said in its 2017 proxy filing. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, by comparison, makes $8,852,366 in total pay, the social-networking company said in its proxy, released earlier this month.

Eric Schmidt, who stepped down from his role as chairman of Alphabet in January, earned the highest total compensation among top officers at Alphabet last year. His total pay was about $4.7 million.

In its proxy, Alphabet asked shareholders to vote against an investor proposal seeking a management review of potential abuses of Google's digital platforms, such as Russian interference in U.S. elections. The proposal was filed by Arjuna Capital and supported by The New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Also on Friday, in a letter to shareholders, Google co-founder Sergey Brin alluded to recent concerns, raised by regulators and the media, that technology's advances are posing new risks to society.

"There are very legitimate and pertinent issues being raised, across the globe, about the implications and impacts of these advances," Mr. Brin said. "This is an important discussion to have. While I am optimistic about the potential to bring technology to bear on the greatest problems in the world, we are on a path that we must tread with deep responsibility, care, and humility."

Theo Francis contributed to this article.

Write to Douglas MacMillan at douglas.macmillan@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 27, 2018 21:45 ET (01:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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