Uber and Lyft are the behemoths that dominate the ride-sharing market today. Both rely heavily on software and data to make sure their riders (or food, in the case of UberEats) are able to get to their destination easily.
If you had to guess, which one would you say pays its Software Engineers more?
Median base salary and total compensation
Looking at the overall median pay from Salary Project data, in terms of base salary and total compensation, we see that at first glance, Lyft seems to pay more than Uber:
|Company||Base Salary||Total Compensation|
When median additional compensation (stock RSU grant value, annual bonus) is broken down between the two companies, we see that:
- Lyft does not seem to give an annual bonus, only stock RSU grants. There were a few Lyft compensation data points that specified an annual bonus amount, but those users were likely reporting their sign-on bonus.
- The median value of Lyft’s stock RSU grants
areworth more than Uber’s.
- At an overall level, both companies seem to give similar additional compensation, summing both median stock RSU value and median annual bonus.
Let’s dig into the data to better understand what might be going on!
What is the level and pay progression, by years of experience?
We just launched a new feature on the Salary Project: a level progression graph. This graph shows you the number of years of experience employees (or those that have submitted their data to the Salary Project)
For Uber, we can see that submissions for the entry level role, Software Engineer I, have a median years of experience of 0, and a 75th percentile of 1 year. Or in other words, 75% of the Uber Software Engineer I data submissions are from employees with 1 year of experience or less.
Let’s summarize the level progression data for Uber and Lyft, along with the median pay at each level, to get a sense of how long it might take a Software Engineer to reach a certain level or pay range.
Uber Software Engineer l
evel and pay progression
|Level||Base Salary||Total |
|Median Years |
|$110,000 – |
|$140,000 – |
|$133,000 – |
|$200,000 – |
|Senior Software |
|$165,000 – |
|$350,000 – |
|Senior Software |
|$192,000 – |
|$370,000 – |
Lyft Software Engineer level and pay progression
|Level||Base Salary||Total Compensation||Median Years |
|T3||$130,000 – |
|$200,012 – |
|T4||$130,000 – |
|$210,000 – |
|T5||$165,000 – |
|$352,000 – |
|T6||$190,000 – |
|$210,000 – |
Entry level Software Engineers at Lyft seem to make a good amount more than those at Uber: $130,000 – $147,000, vs. $110,000 – $131,000 just comparing base salary, respectively.
After that / at the higher levels, it looks like base salary and even total compensation are roughly comparable between Lyft and Uber.
It also looks like obtaining the level one step up from entry level might require one or two more years of experience at Lyft than at Uber. So, while an
Uber and Lyft’s pay for Software Engineers seems comparable, after breaking down pay by level / years of experience, as well as base salary vs. total compensation (which includes things like bonuses and stock grants). The two do seem to differ a little in their pay strategy for Software Engineers: Uber gives more bonus, a lower entry level salary, but slightly faster progression to the next level (at least from entry level); and Lyft gives more stock for additional compensation, and a higher entry level salary.
Both companies are competing fiercely for the same markets, and thus the same talent, and their competitive and similar pay structures for Software Engineers is evident of that.
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