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Show HN: Benefits comparison across tech companies (benefits.fyi)
49 points by tifa2up 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

I imagine comparing benefits across companies is hard, but there are some weird, arbitrary things here that don't make sense. Example:

Looking at Salesforce, it's got three big red X's next to "Free Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner". Ok, so I guess Salesforce doesn't have these things (and notably, the red X makes it seem like Salesforce is being "dinged" for this). But then I look at Microsoft, and it has "Free Snacks" and "Free Drinks" listed with green check marks next to them. But then it doesn't list "Free Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner" at all. Does Microsoft offer free meals? If yes, why isn't it listed? If no, still why isn't it listed, but with a red X next to it, like Salesforce? This is the case for a lot of companies and benefits.

Other stuff seems wrong or very situational. Stuff like "On-site gym" is highly dependent on your office location, and I see companies that have a red X next to it when I know for a fact that many of their offices do have gyms, while I know that some of the companies that have it listed with a green check do not have gyms at all office locations.

Also, all of the health insurance stuff is pretty meaningless without more info about the actual insurance offered, and there's a lot of missing information about supplemental insurance, or other uncommon forms of insurance like legal group insurance.

edit: I see now that the way this works is based on user submissions, and you can choose "Null", "Benefit Available", and "Benefit Not Available". IMO, "Null" shouldn't be an option at all. Either a company offers some form of the benefit or it does not. There is no "blank".

I'm from Levels.fyi. You're right, benefits are fairly hard to compare as it can vary by location and specifics of various perks. We're still working on gathering more data. The red X's appear when we've gotten a report confirming the benefit is not present. If we don't have a report for a specific benefit, nothing is shown. While it is true 'null' should not be an option, we wanted to be able to collect some data even if a contributor does not know the full scope of benefits which is often the case.

The initial set of companies was sourced directly from employees / HR / recruiters at these companies. We're working on adding more details around location for each benefit. You can also contribute here: https://www.levels.fyi/benefits/add.html

This is just a start. We appreciate the community contributing and are continuously updating the page.

Once I saw what the data collection form looks like, this makes more sense to me. My feedback as a user is that if you don't have a report for a benefit, you should still show it but indicate that its status is unknown. As it is, showing a red X next to a benefit for one company while not listing it at all for another company seems like you are unfairly "punishing" the first company while giving the second one a pass, when in reality you just don't have enough data (which is fine and understandable, but should be shown).

Also, this may or may not be true, but I wouldn't be surprised if showing "Unknown" next to some benefits encouraged people to actually submit their knowledge of if that benefit exists or not. As the saying goes, if you really want to get someone's input on the internet, just put something that might be wrong and wait for someone to correct you ;)

Excellent points - I'll work on adding this in the next few days.

Looking at this dataset, the balance of benefits here seems more tailored to deferring children (eg. egg freezing) vs. embracing children and providing benefits to make it easier to have them (eg. in-office daycare, part time work schedules). I wish these employers would focus more on the latter and build upon benefits they already offer like parental leave instead of incentivizing the delaying of children to further one’s career.

Edit: upon reflection, even free meals outside of lunch are not really a meaningful benefit to parents who want to have those meals with their families.

Too many people especially in high income fields like tech have partners making comparable amounts of money. If they do choose to have kids tons of them leave the normal workforce.

When they do come back after kids to how do you keep them on a comparable promotion/management track as their peers? Unless you give them a ridiculously small amount of time off by the time they come back there peers will be a year ahead of them, all their networking will have atrophied, and they will have no major project to push to show off or will have to be sharing credit with whoever took over when they were gone.

Incentivizing not having kids early instead of making having kids easy sidesteps a ton of these issues. These companies goal to get a good gender balance not necessary facilitate the life choices an employee wants to make.

well, benefits are intended to attract talent but designing ones that also provided added value to the company is a real bonus. I worked high end consulting in an earlier life and never paid for a dinner, drink or cover charge. The team also worked out of town weeks on end until 9pm+ before eating and often went back to the client's office afterwards. A few grand a month spent by the company equated to hundreds of extra billable hours. EA sports had foosball, an arcade and onsite meals which was a great way to encourage you to spend 12-14 hours at work.

Now I want as much vacation as I can get. I'd happily trade 20% salary for 12+ weeks of vacation. THis doesn't fit with how most of these compoaniesoperate though.

Some information about how good the benefits actually are would be useful. It always made me sad how much of my day I had to waste standing in line to get the "free food". On most days I just got a grab-and-go sandwich to eat at my desk, while other people would spend 20 minutes waiting in line and 40 minutes eating it (and then waiting another 20 minutes to get coffee). I didn't mind doing that on special occasions, but an hour lost per day to get "free" food was just too much for me. ("They're only hurting themselves by making them wait, they're paying for that hour" I hear you say. That is not really true. It really depends on whether or not your team is okay with losing an hour a day, and if you think you can get a good performance review by working 7 hours a day instead of 8. They are happy to keep you around "meeting expectations" at level 4 on some boring project that doesn't matter. If you want more pay or a better project, you have to find time sinks and eliminate them. The power is in your hands, and yours alone.)

I also ran into a fun experience with the health insurance. I needed surgery, and had it pre-approved. It was in fact approved. When the bill showed up, they decided they weren't going to pay it. I opened a ticket to get the issue fixed, and they dragged me along until the deadline for further appeals was reached, at which point the case was closed and I wrote a check for $30,000 to my doctor. Bet they don't mention that caveat when Fortune is reviewing them for "best place to work".

All of these benefits sound good on paper, but there is always a caveat. There is no such thing as a free lunch!

Which company was it? Your experience with health insurance sounds nuts.

FAANGs have changed the compensation game in SF Bay Area, making joining startups for potential financial gains pointless. Benefits are just icing on the cake.

I wonder what techniques startups are using to recruit quality talent in the Bay Area.

Mission, fun work, and responsibility in my experience.

Being a tiny cog in a huge machine just doesn’t sound appealing to some people. Despite the financial rewards.

Benefits can be a lot more than icing! I live in a low CoL area that makes my on paper compensation seem comparable to at least junior FAANG salaries when factoring that in, but my company and nearly all others in the sector and region have me paying hundreds a month on premiums for health insurance with deductibles in the high single thousands - so it’s not so great a deal after all.

This is based on the presumption that quality talent joins FAANG. From what I've seen so far, it's mostly people that can leetcode their socks off that make it into FAANG.

Startups get people interested in the domain knowledge and everyone else that couldn't make it into FAANG. I agree that it is a bad financial move to join a startup if you could join FAANG instead.

> Startups get people interested in the domain knowledge.

This sounds like an actually good reason to join a startup (or other small company, or be an independent consultant).

I mean if you're told 100% of what you need to get into a FAANG company but can't that's all on you. Trying to brush it off as "leetcode their socks" vs preping for a test you know well in advance is hyperbole.

Most people at FAANG may not be very sharp, but very sharp people easily make it into FAANG and it's a much better deal than the majority of startups.

Question: why is Amazon included in this cohort but not Microsoft? The total comp packages I've seen from MS dwarf Amazon, which frankly is pretty middle of the road.

It doesn't fit in the acronym

What I usually see is both MS and Amazon are part of the "big 5" tech companies/"tech giants" where Netflix isn't. I think FAANG is really more about stock performance and hype in the past 5 or 6 years (though to be fair, MS has had a really good run in this time span as well).

For the record, having worked at both, this is definitely not true. Amazon and Microsoft have similar pay in many cases looking at levels, and in fact I received more to go to Amazon (and have seen many others do the same), though it clearly happens both ways. You can get a self-reported estimate of this looking at a different fyi site https://www.levels.fyi/SE/Amazon/Microsoft :)

I don't know if it is expressing some sort of bias, but some of the companies seem to be purposely expressed in a "negative" fashion, by including red X's for "missing" benefits, but those exclusions don't seem to be uniform?

A couple examples:

- Uber has a bright red "X" beside "Sick Time", seemingly to imply that working at Uber gives you no sick days. However you also have "Unlimited PTO (Vacation/Personal days), so this just seems misleading (at best)

- Neither Uber nor LinkedIn offer "On-Site Tire Replacement" or "On-Site Car Wash / Detailing", but this is only explicitly called out under Uber

It appears that only Uber, Amazon, and Salesforce have _any_ "missing benefits" explicitly highlighted, which feels very misleading.

I personally think that Microsoft benefits are more pragmatic, realistic, and usable even if they rank lowest on the comparison. A lot of the stuff Google offers, is icing on the cake.

The problem is that there are loopholes in health insurance, that unless you have extensive experience and a keen eye, you will miss the financial tricks.

For example, in my state, we have the highest amount of surprise bills (usually out-of-network billing) in the US, statistically. I have a family member who was considering getting a plan that was $100 cheaper per month, but had a very high out of network billing cap.

But, if you have health conditions, making a spreadsheet like this goes a long ways: https://www.reddit.com/r/diabetes/comments/9xwvl4/usa_i_crea...

But, things should not be this way. It is chaotic to have to worry about healthcare costs like this.

Interesting that "Company Phones" is considered a benefit - I and a lot of people I know view it as a negative.

Surprised to see how common 'Mega Backdoor Roth IRA' is that it has reached Benefits comparison guides.

I wonder how they're computing total effective monetary value, especially when it comes to 401k contribution. For instance, it has MSFT as 50% up to 19500 (it should actually be 100% up to 20000, but I digress), but a total effective benefit of just over 10k. I'd put the 401k contribution multiplier at >=1, but they clearly have it much less than that.

Really what would make more sense is allowing customization of how much you value particular benefits (i.e. free dinner means nothing to me, if not negative, because it also means you're "expected" to stick around for it)

Also only MSFT offers ESPP which is a guaranteed free $1500 cash a year if not more (i got 2500)...

When I load the site, I get Google, Facebook and Microsoft selected by default. If I deselect Microsoft and re-select it, for some reason Google disappears. Is this a bug?

Happens on both Firefox on Ubuntu as well as Safari on my iPhone.

Good catch, should be fixed now

"On-site mother's room" is not a distinguishing benefit. It's a legal requirement in at least California and New York, to my knowledge.

+1. Legal requirement for companies > 50 ppl.

The big one that's come up very recently that I don't see is: do they viciously enforce non-competes?

I like the idea but some of these comparisons are strange. Why does one company have 2 benefits listed in a category with green checkmarks while another has several more benefits listed under the same category with red X's? It seems like all of them should have the same red X's?

Feedback: Could the companies selected be part of the URL? This helps sharing.

Thanks for the feedback – just added!

Here's an example URL: https://www.levels.fyi/benefits/?companies=Google,LinkedIn,B...

The sort order within a category is also wonky, making comparisons hard:

Google: - Health Insurance - On-Site Mother's Room - Fertility Assistance

Citadel: - On-Site Mother's Room - Health Insurance - Fertility Assistance

Yeah thanks for pointing it out. This was a very preliminary version, hoping to clean this up over the next few days

This is the most inane comment but it's kind of bugging me that they're misaligned, the same benefit as number 1 for one company and 3rd for another

That was annoying me too, it makes it hard to spot what exactly one company is offering that the other company is not

http://perks.guide seems to have a similar comparison across more companies.

Heh. Lots of stuff is missing or incorrect (no not everyone has a park on their rooftop at fb :D)

Do they really have housing stipend? I never heard of it.

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