Salaries at Slab

We're sharing our salary policy and how we've designed it to be transparent, fair, and competitive across geographies.

by Jason ChenNovember 7, 2022

Remote work has been a part of Slab's roots since our earliest days. One reason we started Slab was to work with the best people—and we've always recognized that the very best talent doesn't necessarily all reside in one city in California. Two of the most capable individuals we've been able to work with call Poland and Australia home. Not being limited by location has allowed us to build a team that is more capable and diverse.

Working with great people is one way we live our value of "Stay Lean," where we strive to make the greatest possible impact with the fewest number of employees.

Our compensation policy is designed to be transparent, fair, and competitive across geographies. As part of that transparency, we're sharing our salary policy and why we think it's both fair and competitive.

Policy

We benchmark salaries with the San Francisco job market for companies at our valuation range, targeting the 75th percentile. We then multiply this by one of four geographic tiers of job market demand, from 0.7x to 1.0x.

DemandLocationMultiplier
HighestSan Francisco and New York
US tech centers
1.0x
HighSeattle, Austin, Los Angeles
London, Sydney, Tokyo, Vancouver
International tech centers, major US cities
0.9x
MediumBarcelona, Beijing, Milan
Major international cities, rest of the US
0.8x
OtherRest of the world0.7x

Philosophy

San Francisco is one of the largest and most robust job markets in our industry, making it the ideal source of consistent job data and baseline for calculations. We target the 75th percentile to be competitive, but this means we will often not deliver the highest offer a competitive candidate receives. We don't want scant compensation to be a problem, but we also don't want the salary to be the main reason candidates choose to join Slab. We want teammates who identify with our mission and values, are excited by the challenges ahead, and take pride in building and delivering a high-quality solution.

Why we have tiers at all

Perhaps the most contentious decision we made is to scale compensation according to geographic tiers. We acknowledge it can feel unfair for similar work to be paid unequally. But we believe our approach strikes the best balance of practicality and fairness for most people, while remaining competitive for all.

Aside from just the work aspect, taking living conditions into consideration shows the reality that different locations offer drastically different prices. For the cost of a 400-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, a much larger and more luxurious apartment could be found in Charlotte, North Carolina. If we asked for the same work from two engineers living in those places, one would be considerably more comfortable than the other—which can also feel unfair.

By adhering to a budget, paying one person more means having to pay another person less. Companies with uniform salaries across geographies may have unlimited budgets, or are choosing to be uncompetitive in top-tier markets like San Francisco. Since we believe great talent can be found anywhere, we aim to manage our finances with discipline while also staying competitive in top job markets.

Selecting our tiers

We chose four as the goldilocks number of geographic tiers. There needs to be a minimum number of tiers to accurately represent job markets worldwide. However, a high number of tiers is impractical since market data is highly imperfect. Even if it was, it would be extremely fluid and would mean disruptively moving cities between tiers too often.

Companies that accept being less competitive in San Francisco are often more competitive elsewhere. To still remain competitive with them, we set our lowest tier to 0.7x. This artificial floor does skew our competitiveness in some markets, but because our aim is the 75th percentile to begin with, this gives us enough wiggle room to still effectively achieve our competitive aim.

Progress

How we compensate and reward our Slab teammates is one of the most important demonstrations of our core values. Remote work—and even the concept of work itself—has undergone rapid developments in the past short years. We've designed our policy to meet these new realities in order to realize our "Stay Lean" value and attract top-tier talent in today's job market. As work dynamics continue to evolve, we'll continue to observe and adapt to stay competitive and fair.

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