Microsoft Ranks Tops for Starting Salaries

Susan Hall

Last week I wrote about Microsoft's all-out wooing of summer interns, asking whether the software maker was still a cool place to work.

Turns out, it offers the best starting salaries in PayScale's look at 21 top technology companies. It found that Microsoft workers with 0 to five years experience make an average of $91,500, compared with its closest rivals Google, $87,500; Oracle, $78,100; and, $88,900.

Google's a better bet for mid-career salaries, though, offering $158,000, followed by, $150,000; and Yahoo, $141,000.

For sheer happiness on the job, try LinkedIn, where 100 percent of workers said they're satisfied with their jobs. Compare that with Facebook at 88 percent. Apple, AOL,, Nvidia, Sony, Google and were ranked at 75 percent or above. Just 68 percent of Microsoft workers said they're happy with their jobs.

Facebook took the prize for offering the most flexibility, and led as the most stressful.

Thirty-three was the typical age for tech workers, with a tenure of three years at their current jobs. Not surprisingly, Facebook's staff is younger — average age 26 — while Microsoft's crew averages 34 years old. The "Battle Over the Geeks" infographic's fine print says that retail workers were excluded from the rankings, but everyone else — "from software developers to financial analysts to marketing  assistants" — were included. After all, "it takes more than IT to make a business run."

As for who's getting hired, here are the top schools:

  • Stanford University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Washington
  • Santa Clara University
  • Rice University
  • University of Texas-Austin

And the most common majors:

  • Computer engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Supply chain management
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Information systems
  • Finance and marketing
  • Business and information technology

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