Microsoft Program Manager Salary

How much does a Microsoft Program Manager make? Well, there are lots of, shall we say “speculative” answers to this question online. The goal of this page is to cut through the noise and provide the real data based on our experience with 100s of tech negotiations and 1000s of submitted offers. Below, we’ve listed the top of band compensation for multiple Microsoft Program Manager levels. There is also a bonus section at the bottom with info on negotiating Microsoft PM offers.

Microsoft Program Manager Offer Components

  • Microsoft base salary:

    Microsoft’s base salary component is fairly standard. However, its comp band is narrower compared to FAANG companies, especially at junior levels
  • Microsoft equity (RSUs):

    Microsoft vests equity equally across 4 years - 25/25/25/25. There is a 1-year cliff, which means you don't receive the first set of shares until the end of year 1. After that, your equity will vest every 3 months (6.25% every 3 months). Your initial grant will be quoted as a dollar value, and the actual amount of shares you receive is calculated by dividing the dollar value by a "share value". The share value is usually the trailing average closing stock price of the 30 days before your start date
  • Microsoft signing bonus:

    Microsoft typically only gives signing bonuses in year 1. However, for signing bonuses over $50K, they will default to splitting it over 2 years. The percentage split can be negotiated. 1 year signing bonuses are paid within 30 days of your start date, which is preferrable vs. companies that pro-rate your sign on bonus over the first 12 months
  • Microsoft performance bonus:

    Microsoft's performance bonuses can be very misleading. Many recruiters will quote the high end of the range. For example, if the recruiter says 30% of base salary, that usually means 15% is the target, and in order for you to get 20%, someone else on your team will get 10% (zero sum). Performance bonuses vary by level and are not negotiable
  • Microsoft stock refreshers:

    Microsoft does have stock refreshers but they are much smaller than companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple. L63 target was $17K in 2020 vs $150K at Facebook for the equivalent level. Stock refreshers at Microsoft also unforunately vest over 5 years vs. the standard 4 year vesting period


Note: program manager and software engineering positions technically had the same comp bands at Microsoft in 2021. However, the average PM offer was unfortunately lower, and it is very difficult to hit top of band.

63 Microsoft Program Manager Engineer Salary

2021 Seattle Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$170K

Equity (4 years)

$275K

Signing Bonus

$50K

Performance Bonus

15%

SF/NYC both pay better than Seattle (listed above).

64 Microsoft Senior Program Manager Salary

2021 Seattle Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$185K

Equity (4 years)

$350K

Signing Bonus

$80K

Performance Bonus

15%

65 Microsoft Principal Program Manager Salary

2021 Seattle Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$205K

Equity (4 years)

$450K

Signing Bonus

$100K

Performance Bonus

20%

As a reminder, we have seen these numbers for PM offers, but it is much less common than SWE. Equity is particularly challenging at this level.

66 Microsoft Principal Program Manager Salary

2021 Seattle Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$225K

Equity (4 years)

$750K

Signing Bonus

$150K

Performance Bonus

20%

The range at this level is very wide. The segment of the band you land in depends on interviews, but then getting to the top of that segment requires an excellent negotiation.

Microsoft Program Manager Negotiation

So now you've got the compensation data, are you ready to negotiate? Not quite.

First off, comp data is constantly changing. Early 2022 numbers are already coming in higher than the 2021 numbers listed above (though Microsoft's increases have been smaller than other tech companies), and it’s critical to know the full range for each component to optimize your negotiation. But even more than that, many people think knowing the compensation data is the most important part of a negotiation, but it’s not. This is particularly true at Microsoft which is known for paying below market and rarely gives top of band offers. You can go tell your Microsoft recruiter that $X is top of band and that you want that number, but in 90% of cases that won’t work. So what will?

Companies negotiate when they believe you won’t accept their offer. But, since you just finished a long and arduous interview process with them, they know you are likely to accept the job unless you have higher competing offers from other great companies.

This means you need to create leverage and make it believable that you are considering other options but would prefer Microsoft if the compensation is comparable. This sounds easy but quickly becomes challenging if you don’t have other offers or if your other offers aren’t higher than the top of band comp numbers you are targeting.

Even if you are in a perfect situation where you have a competing offer with comp just slightly higher than the top of band numbers you are targeting, the negotiation can still get complicated. Microsoft will often inflate numbers using stretched performance bonus and stock refresher targets, and therefore claim they have matched the competing offer. Or, they may simply say they are unable to match your specific competing offer. We've tried a wide range of tactics to handle these objections and depending on your specific situation the success rate can vary from 30-80%. It's critical to choose the right approach. There are dozens of rules at Microsoft that can completely de-rail a negotiation. Think of the system like a black box where a series of inputs can be reliably turned into a specific output, but you need to know how to perfectly setup the inputs

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1:1 Salary Negotiation Support

We've negotiated more than $20M in Microsoft offers in 2021. Our largest Microsoft increase was $575K.

Negotiation strategy

Step 1 is defining the strategy, which often starts by helping you create leverage for your negotiation (e.g. setting up conversations with FAANG recruiters).

Negotiation anchor number

Step 2 we decide on anchor numbers and target numbers with the goal of securing a top of band offer, based on our internal verified data sets.

Negotiation execution plan

Step 3 we create custom scripts for each of your calls, practice multiple 1:1 mock negotiations, and join your recruiter calls to guide you via chat.