RALEIGH – One of the real eye-openers about Apple’s decision to build a $1 billion campus in the Triangle is the average salaries the tech giant will be paying, rising to an average of more than $187,000 a year after three years. That amount not only is close to triple the average Wake County wage of some $64,000 but also nearly double that of what current Apple workers make on average.

The minimum wage isn’t something to sneeze at, either: $168,301, both figures coming from the agreement for more than $800 million in tax incentives signed with the state of North Carolina.

Add to that fact the cost of living is much lower in the RTP area than in Silicon Valley and you have some Apple workers as well as outsiders preparing to update resumes for a chance to become an Apple Triangle team member.

But money follows skills – and Apple is looking for people focused on advanced technology.

Apple plans to focus its Triangle hiring on machine learning, artificial intelligence and software engineers.

Jobs site Indeed.com reports substaintially higher pay for certain roles at Apple. Among them:

  • Machine learning positions at $185,713.
  • Software engineers: Up to $176,665 per year.

How do the numbers compare to other big tech firms expanding in the Triangle?

Last year, Microsoft promised average pay of $130,000 for 500 jobs coming to Wake County. Google, however, didn’t disclose any pay information when it announced 1,000 jobs to be created for a new cloud computing hub in Durham.

Jessica Mitsch

Jessica Mitsch, the Triangle entrepreneur who runs coding school Momentum Learning and trains people for tech jobs, noted the big pay difference in talking with WRAL TechWire about how Apple’s hiring will impact the Raleigh-Durham tech job market.

“Overall, Apple’s arrival to the area is really good news for the careers of our area’s residents,” Mitch said. “The salary range will likely be adjusted to balance the area’s job market and better match the cost of living in North Carolina, which is much lower than the cost of living in other states with Apple campuses. Still, the salary will be competitive for the area, and it will be exciting to welcome Apple to the Triangle job market.”

Tech firm salaries also are skewed by pay and other compensation going to the executive suites, she added.

“I think it’s hard to average out salaries for these type of companies because executives are so well compensated. I think the data from Zippa that is pasted into the doc I sent you (along with other sources like Glassdoor and Salary.com) provide more accurate pictures of the likely salaries for the majority of new hires for Apple and other tech campuses coming to our area.

“Engineers in tech are paid well, as they’re highly in demand so that likely contributes but it’s better to look at the mean or median for salaries than average.”

According to jobs information site Comparably.com, the estimated median salary for such jobs is $159,682, or $76 per hour.

Apple’s average wage figure was included as part of the tax incentive agreement the company signed with the state. The so-called Job Development Investment Grant, or JDIG, offers Apple nearly a billion dollars in tax rebates for state withholdings on wages. It’s the largest JDIG ever offered by the state, according to data compiled by WRAL reporter Travis Fain.

Bottom line is that the numbers are way up there.

According to jobs and employment information site Zippia.com, the national average salary at Apple is just under $98,500 a year or $47.33 per hour.

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“However, there’s a significant range between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent of earners,” Zippia adds. “While the highest-paid employees at Apple can earn over $149,000 a year, the lowest-paid employees earn less than $64,000.”

Zippia points out that engineers “earn an average yearly salary of $120,157, while employees in the supply chain function earn an average yearly salary of $113,039.”

Also, Apple wages differ by metropolitan location with workers at headquarters in Silicon Valley as well as Seattle and Austin, Texas earning “the highest salaries.”

The Triangle effect

The tech jobs market in the Triangle is already tight, so a big question is: Will companies step up raiding of eachother for employment?

“Not any more than what is already happening,” Mitch responded. “Companies are already pretty savvy about finding the right talent to meet their needs. It’s also likely that the Apple campus will also attract more experienced, executive talent to the area because of
the corporate experience that is going to be offered. This type of experience is a net positive for all area companies.”

Craig Stone, CEO of talent recruiting firm HireNewtorks, agrees.

“All of the top tech hubs in the country are currently fighting this battle. Overall I think it is a good announcement. It continues to solidify us a top tech area and will help us continue to draw top talent to the Triangle,” Stone said.

As for raiding for talent, Stone doesn’t expect “any more than they do now.”

“I would not call them raids,” he added. “Just recruiting talent from wherever they can find solid candidate.”

But what about startups and emerging entrepreneurial companies? How do they compete?

“Startups and smaller firms should recognize the difference in their mission and goals,” Mitch said. “In these smaller firms and startups, employees can expect to move faster to get more done, so the persona of someone working for this type of company is going to be much different than the persona of someone seeking a corporate position with a larger company like Apple.”

Added Stone: “I would say the same thing I said when Google announced. Most of the people that want to work for startups are not the same people that want to work for a company the size of Apple.”

Yet smaller companies can’t take anything such as company culture for granted.

“It will be important for startups and smaller firms to stand true with their value proposition, and offering opportunities for training can also
help attract talent,” Mitch said.