compensation decline at Amazon? Refresh policy?

Akamai Technologies hpBF22
Jul 5 22 Comments

It seems like Amazon does not pay an annual bonus only a signing bonus that lasts 2 years from the date of hire. After the 2 year mark it looks like all income is either Salary or RSU. I know most here include signing bonus as part of their TC but i prefer to leave it out as it is one time in nature. RSU at many firms, due to generous annual refresh policies, is more reliable and therefore i am comfortable including that in my estimated TC.

What is the refresh policy at Amazon? The concern i have with joining is once the signing bonus runs out you are left with 2 years of the back loaded RSU package (40%/40% i think it is) and unless there are some good refreshers its likely that TC will decline after those 2 back loaded years end.

How generous is amazon at refreshing?

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TOP 22 Comments
  • Amazon amazons
    Um, lots of misinformation here - there are absolutely refreshers after year 4. It’s less common before that unless you’re top tier or the stock price is not increasing as expected.

    The main people see a cliff after year 4 is because their comp was inflated due to stock appreciation. If stock price exceeds our expectations, and you earn more than we targeted as a result, you’ll see a drop year 5 unless you’ve been promoted. Many of us have been in this case with the stock going up~5x over the last 5 years or so.
    Jul 5 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      Have you witnessed people leave for this reason?
      Jul 5
    • Amazon / Eng cayde
      Lol. That's like the main reason why people leave.
      Jul 5
  • Amazon / Eng cayde
    You get refreshers the year of your past vest.
    4 year vest, so you get refreshers in your 4th year to ensure that your 5th year has RSUs. Refreshers are weird in that, they are given fully for the next year and partially for the year after. Example:
    In 4th year, you may get stock worth 40k for your 5th year and 20k for your 6th year. Then in your 5th year, you will get 20k for your 6th and 20k for your 7th. I hate this model.
    Jul 5 4
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      do the refreshers result in yearly RSU = (initial signing bonus + initial RSU) /4 ?

      In other words, do the refreshers compensate for the loss of the initial grant and signing bonus?
      Jul 5
    • Amazon / Eng cayde
      Yes, but the big loss is stock growth.

      Your third and fourth year vests should be pretty big because they were granted at a time when the stock should have been far lower. Now you'll only get stock that's basically adjusted every year. So no more explosive bursts.
      Jul 5
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      What schedule are the refreshers on? 4 years 25% each year?
      Jul 5
    • Amazon / Eng cayde
      I mentioned above, they are 1 and 2 year vests. See example in my second paragraph.
      Jul 5
  • eBay sLxwA828
    No refreshers. It’s a reason why a lot of amazoners leave by year 4

    Edit: I meant no yearly refreshers
    Jul 5 2
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      Why bother join a company if the only career path is to leave at year 4 or else suffer a precipitous decline in TC?
      Jul 5
    • Bloomberg / Eng the1
      Why stay longer than 4 years? Chances are you will stop learning at that point.

      Change is good!
      Jul 5
  • IBM xlajduf
    Most of ppl at amazon worry about surviving another year rather than refreshers.
    Jul 5 0
  • Amazon sptk67
    Work your ass off and get promoted on Year 2, and on year 4. You ll get about +30% in TC at each promotion I've heard...
    Jul 5 3
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      What are the odds of that happening though?
      Jul 5
    • Amazon sptk67
      Check out the comments here [Blind] Check out this post! How much raise in TC between L4 and L5? (Amazon)
      https://us.teamblind.com/s/HsWVhrhP
      Jul 5
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      what are the odds to get promoted from SDE2 -> SDE3 -> principal ?
      Jul 5
  • Google topCon
    Unless you're way over TCT, you'll get refreshers every year after year 2. You won't get refreshers in year 2 because, as you pointed out, initial grants will vest in year 3 and 4.
    Jul 5 0
  • Amazon sstar55
    What is TCT?
    Jul 10 1
  • Does the refresh policy have anything to do with level? For example are L6s or L7s refreshed on a more reliable basis?
    Jul 5 1
    • Amazon amazons
      No - it’s calculated based on the difference between your projected TC and the target
      Jul 6
  • Weight Watchers / Eng xlax
    I understand that most people will see (or have in the past) a TC decline in year 5 due to the fact that they didn’t have 2+ years of stock appreciation to build into their vest. However, why is that a problem for people?

    The way I was looking at it, you should be pegging your expected earnings to the target number you were given and any stock appreciation is just a nice bonus on top. Is that not how most people look at it?

    Also, I was speaking with an Amazon recruiter who said that your TCT will never decline and will always have an upwards trajectory (although you might make less than your last year due to that appreciation issue). However, other threads I have read are contrary to this in that your TCT may actually go down depending on your rating. Is the recruiter lying?
    Jul 10 0