Should I consider a position 1-2 levels down at AWS?

Thomson Reuters GNFl44
Jun 26 12 Comments

I’m waiting on next steps for a non-tech position at AWS. It’s posted as an L6, I believe which I think translates to a Senior Manager. I am currently a Senior Director (band J) at Thomson Reuters with a verbal commitment to be promoted to a VP (band K) within the year. I manage a small team but all manager, Director and senior director level.

I also have pretty low compensation for my level of contribution so in some ways am interested in a market level re-set and then continuing to progress from there. I like the position at AWS and think I could do well but worry about starting out reporting to someone that I feel like I could/should be a peer to.

Current comp is $145k base, $43,500 annual bonus target. I also have $25k in stocks due to best in December. I’m looking to match comp (or maybe slightly increase) in the new role.

1) What sort of comp could I expect for an L6 Amazon role?
2) What level are these roles considered and should I consider taking a possible 1-2 level downgrade for possibly same pay but better long term opportunity?

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TOP 12 Comments
  • Amazon / Mgmt sfqb31
    Job titles at Amazon are not important and sort of made up. Levels are important though. Also your team's scope plays a role. At AWS, I know L6 managers that own a public facing service. They'd likely be a Director or GM level at other companies. I know L7s who would be VPs elsewhere. I wouldn't get hung up on levels and just apply. If they evaluate you at a higher or lower level they can adjust the job req to your level. If you are right between an L6 or L7, you'll more likely succeed coming in at L6 as the bar for L7 is very high. Adjusting to AWS from TR will be challenging. If you easily raise the bar at L6, they can promote you to L7 any quarter. Promotions are quarterly and I've seen people get promoted within 6 months because they were misleveled. Best to be underleveled than over as you might not make a year being overleveled.

    Also, check your ego at the door (not saying you have one) as big egos don't translate to success at Amazon. If your manager is at your level or even lower, good for you. You'll be recognized if you raise the bar at Leadership Principles without showing ego.
    Jun 26 2
    • Amazon / Eng UJEk55
      Totally agree with this. The compensation reflects this as well. I’m an L6 Mgr and am paid as engineering directors were at my old company. (Fortune 100 company).
      Jun 26
    • Thomson Reuters GNFl44
      OP
      Thank you! Very helpful. I had my onsite interview yesterday. Hoping to hear on an offer soon!

      I think it went well and I really liked the team!
      Jun 26
  • Amazon fyhf jgx
    L6 is not senior manager, it’s senior engineer, senior product manager, senior marketing manager, etc. - all senior IC roles. Sometimes it’s used for manager of junior level ICs. L7 is Sr. Manage, which is first line manager of senior ICs.

    L6 IC roles will most definitely pay you significantly more than what you are making now. However, you should really think hard about coming in on an IC role from where you are (assuming it’s an IC role). L6 roles will be very challenging with broad scopes, regardless of the field, but it will be different from being a Sr. Director.

    It is common for Amazon to offer one or two level lower titles because of the need to bring highly experienced people at every level with higher salaries than what they make at other companies at 1-2 level above. However, you should make a conscious decision knowing what you are signing up for.
    Jun 26 2
    • Thomson Reuters GNFl44
      OP
      IC as in individual contributor, right? That is definitely an area of concern for me. I’ve gotten very used to managing layers and having influence over resources even if they are not within my direct line of management. I have no desire to be a one man/woman show. From what I understand though is that this group has contract resources to help cover the work.

      I touched on this idea briefly with the recruiter and asked if they ever change the level of the position based on the candidate and she indicated that this could be possible. This team is growing pretty rapidly it seems and I’m wondering if there could be an opportunity to move into a higher level role more quickly. In some ways learning the ropes first wouldn’t be too terrible.
      Jun 26
    • Amazon / Eng UJEk55
      You’re slightly off. L5 is entry mgr. L6 is mid and L7 is senior engineers/mgr of mgrs.
      Jun 26
  • LinkedIn mtn-view
    Verbal commitment to promote in a year is pure BS.
    Jun 26 0
  • Facebook / Mgmt vjuiu
    Why wouldn’t you take more money and a reset? Everyone knows it’s easier to get promoted at a junior level. This keeps your growth runaway longer before you hit a ceiling.
    Jun 26 3
    • Thomson Reuters GNFl44
      OP
      Good points. For me it’s maybe reconciling it mentally with feeling like I reached a certain level and then going backwards. However, in many ways I haven’t reached that level as the comp isn’t even close. And perhaps the skills that I’ve developed, experiences that I’ve had and confidence that I’ve gained will just help propel me to move up more quickly but in a more appropriate way. Internal compression is a real thing and I’ve moved four band levels in 10 years at TR, causing a large pay gap with each move. But I’ve played leadership roles on hundreds of million dollar transformation programs, worked closely with top senior executives, and have a wealth of experiences.
      Jun 27
    • Facebook / Mgmt vjuiu
      How valuable are those experiences if you aren’t willing to translate them to better pay? You probably got an offer because of those experiences. It’s really a choice between ego and hard cash here.
      Jun 27
    • Thomson Reuters GNFl44
      OP
      Update: I ended up not getting an offer. Must have misread the situation somehow so moot point, in the end!

      But totally agree. Got to check the ego, hadn’t realized it was creeping in but since I was having those doubts, it must have been. Disappointed for sure!
      Jun 27
  • Thomson Reuters GNFl44
    OP
    Update: no offer after all. Moot point but thanks all, for the sound advice. I appreciate it! I was all set to have accepted an offer if present one, but alas...
    Jun 27 0

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