Bay Area companies are famous for generous perks—the most lucrative of which includes compensation in the form of stock. Although a few notable companies like Chevron and PG&E do not follow this practice, it is quite common in the technology business. With over a hundred major public companies in the Bay Area, a few are remarkable for their generosity.

  • The average Facebook employee received $233,326.
  • GoPro stock compensation was twice income
  • Chevron employees received nothing

Facebook leads the stock option bonanza giving away an average of almost a quarter million dollars per employee last year which represents 80% of income. Other big tech companies are less generous—for example Google offers $84,171 of equity compensation per employee and Apple just $36,293. Cybersecurity company Fortinet manages to generate net income per employee of approximately $2,000 while offering stock compensation of nearly $25,000 per employee.

Overall the picture is less golden: in the Bay Area the average employee of a big public company earns $16,808 of stock options. Still, to put that in perspective: that’s still about a third of what the average American earns per year.

It is also important to remember that stock-based compensation tends to be earned by employees most in demand. For example, Apple needs to compete with Facebook and Google for engineers, while it competes with Williams-Sonoma ($1,472) and the Gap ($539) for retail employees. As a result it is not surprising that an engineering-heavy company like Twitter ($174,172) would spend far more on average for equity compensation than Ross Stores ($911.79).

Although some of the highest paid people on the planet live in the Bay Area, it is also the home of $10 avocado toast, $13 minimum wage and million dollar plus fixer uppers. Although some careers are much more financially rewarding than other careers, overall the millions of people who call the Bay Area home get to share a stunning landscape with some of the best opportunities in the world.

To do your own math, click on the image below and use the Odge-enhanced spreadsheet with your own numbers.