Help wanted: $183K plus. Tool gives lowdown on tech salaries

Hoping to land customers, Silicon Valley money-management startup Wealthfront is empowering workers with rich salary data.

Wealthfront CEO Andy Rachleff

Anyone who works in tech is going to like this. Wealthfront, an online financial adviser based in Palo Alto, Calif., today rolled out an interactive tool (see below) that let's you see what tech jobs pay among private firms across the country.

You'll learn, for instance, that software architects make more than managers -- a mean of $183,000 a year plus equity compared with $163,000 plus stock -- and that cash compensation across all tech companies is $112,000. Another curious finding: Despite the huge demand for engineers in Silicon Valley, jobs in the northeast pay more, presumably because companies are competing with Wall Street firms for talent.

Wealthfront calls it a Startup Compensation Tool because, in Wealthfront's view, any tech company that is private is a startup. The data is based on surveys of 8,362 employees at 135 private companies, ranging in size from 6 employees to more than 100. For Wealthfront, the impetus for creating such a tool is obvious: The company is looking for new customers. The more tech workers earn, the better the chance that they will want a firm like Wealthfront to manage their investments.

Wealthfront, which competes with startups Future Advisor and Personal Capital, is trying to upend the old-school money-management model by replacing it with a system powered by software. You can read more about the service here. The company's strategy is to try to sign up people in Silicon Valley first, and then go for a wider audience. CEO and founder Andy Rachleff, a former general partner with venture firm Benchmark Capital, has been holding seminars inside newly public companies such as LinkedIn, Yelp, and Facebook. The response has been terrific, he says, though he won't say how many customers Weathfront has to date.

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