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How Six Figure Job Offers in Tech and Pharma Really Work – Base Salary, Bonuses, Equity and more!


Have you ever felt the pressure to chase someone else’s success, only to lose sight of your path? It’s time to diminish the myth of effortless six-figure job offers in tech and pharma. 


So, you’ve seen countless people flaunting their six-figure job offers on social media, making it seem like an overnight success story. But hold on, the truth is different! A six-figure job isn’t as simple as it seems. There’s more to it! Let’s face the reality of how these offers truly work and avoid the pitfalls that come with unrealistic expectations.


Elements of Compensation in 6-figure Salary

  1. A) Base Salary – in $280,000 Job Offer

The first part is the Base Salary, a yearly salary for working around 40 hours a week. The pay is usually given every two weeks.

For instance, let’s consider a $280,000 job offer. People might say they make $280,000 annually, but that’s untrue. The total compensation package consists of more than just the base salary. To illustrate, let’s say someone is offered $150,000 as the base salary. This is still great money, especially in San Francisco, though not as impressive in Los Angeles or other parts of the world.

  1. B) Bonuses & their 3 Types

In job offers for tech and pharma positions, besides the base salary, there are different bonuses to consider.

  • Annual Bonus – This bonus is given yearly based on your performance. Larger tech companies often offer 10-20% of your base salary as a target annual bonus, but the actual amount may vary depending on your performance and seniority.
  • Sign-on Bonus – Some companies offer a sign-on bonus when you join them. It’s a one-time payment, usually within the first two pay cycles. But be cautious, as some companies may require you to pay it back if you leave within a specific timeframe.
  • Relocation Bonus – If you’re moving for the job, the company might provide a small bonus to assist with moving, especially common in larger tech companies.

Let’s look at an example of a $150,000 base salary with a 20% bonus.

A job offer often includes a bonus, which you receive around three months after the new year starts. For example, if you worked for a company throughout 2021, you’d get the bonus by March 2022. However, you must work the whole year to get it; some people mistakenly think they get it even if they only worked for a few months.

If your job offer has a 20% bonus on a $150,000 base salary, it’s amazing because that’s $30,000 extra. But remember, you won’t get the full $30,000. Taxes, especially in places like California, will take a big portion. Depending on your tax rate, your actual amount might be around $15,000 to $20,000.

So, bonuses are great but remember that taxes can reduce the final amount you receive.

  1. C) EQUITY 

Equity is like having ownership in a company. 

  • Equity in Public Companies

In public companies, it’s linked to the stock price. They often offer RSUs (Restricted Stock Units) as part of the compensation package. RSUs are stocks you can’t fully sell until certain conditions are met, usually after a vesting period. The idea is to align the company’s interests with yours, making you work harder to boost the stock price. After vesting, you receive the equivalent shares you can sell on the stock market.

  • Equity in Private Companies

Private companies, like startups, also offer equity, but it’s riskier. They might give you options to buy shares at a discounted price (the strike price). If the company succeeds or is acquired, your options can become valuable shares. However, startups often fail, so it’s like a lottery ticket. Be cautious about dilution, where new shares reduce the value of existing ones.

Equity can be a huge part of your compensation. For some, it amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. CEOs of big companies like Tesla, Amazon, or Google often receive substantial equity as part of their pay. In a $280,000 per year offer, around $100,000 might be in the form of shares.

However, getting equity is different from bonuses. You won’t receive all the shares at once. Companies often have a vesting schedule, spreading the shares over several years. For example, if you have $100,000 in shares, they might give you $25,000 worth after completing each year for four years.

But there’s a catch – if you don’t stay for the whole vesting period, you won’t get the full $100,000. So, it’s essential to consider the vesting schedule and how long you plan to stay with the company when evaluating your compensation package. Negotiating and understanding the fine print can help you maximize your job offer.


Negotiating the best offer for you

Various aspects regarding job offers in the tech and pharmaceutical industries are to consider. If you’re thinking strategically about your career, you might have a specific time frame for how long you want to stay with a company.
For example, you may plan to work for just a year or two. In such cases, you can negotiate a higher salary without insisting on equity or ask for only a portion of the equity since you’ll be leaving relatively soon. Some companies are open to these negotiations, and it’s good to keep this in mind to get the best possible package based on your career plans.On the other hand, if you’re looking to build a long-term career, staying with a company for an extended period can be beneficial. Many companies offer equity as an incentive to retain employees because they don’t want high turnover rates. Equity provides a stake in the company’s success, which can encourage you to stay committed and motivated. When making career decisions, it’s crucial not to compare yourself with others on social media or elsewhere. Each person’s situation and career path are unique, so it’s not productive to base your decisions on someone else’s experiences. Stay focused on your goals and career lane without getting distracted by what others are doing or achieving.


Securing a six-figure job offer in the tech and pharma industries typically involves a combination of factors, including competitive base salaries, performance-based bonuses, equity incentives, and other benefits. Employers aim to attract top talent by offering comprehensive compensation packages that reward skills, experience, and contributions.

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