San Francisco: Top Ranked Employer Brands by Job Seekers

Knowledge workers share the most appealing companies to work for


Hiring strategies for your city

It’s true: companies are only as successful as their people. And in order to attract the best and brightest, today’s innovative companies need a strong employer brand. A positive brand reputation can mean the difference between a company maintaining an all-star team and consistently losing dream candidates to a competitor.

  • Insight 1

    42% of candidates would not want to work for an organization if they were not interested in their company mission

  • Insight 2

    58% of tech workers will engage with a company that reaches out if they receive a personalized message

  • Insight 3

    10% of candidates would not want to work for a company if it did not foster enough diversity

Emerging Trends in Employer Branding

How to invest your resources in 2020

Local Leaders in San Francisco

Top 20 Employer Brands

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  1. Google
  2. Netflix
  3. Airbnb
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Slack
  6. Apple
  7. Lyft
  8. Dropbox
  9. Square
  10. Salesforce
  11. GitHub
  12. Facebook
  13. Adobe
  14. Pinterest
  15. Twitter
  16. Tesla
  17. Reddit
  18. Uber
  19. Twitch
  20. Box

Read full insights: Brand Health Report 2019 2018 2017

Getting to know knowledge workers in San Francisco

What talent looks for in a company
  1. Compensation (i.e. base salary)
  2. Opportunity to learn new skills
  3. Company culture
What turns talent off from a company
  1. Not interested in the product
  2. Poor reputation
  3. Not interested in the company mission

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Wage Gap: Pay Trends in San Francisco

TL;DR Women in tech in San Francisco are paid - and expect - less on average than their male counterparts.

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Distribution of the Wage Gap in the U.S.

60% of the time men are offered higher salaries than women for the same job at the same company and companies offer women 3% less on average than men for the same roles.

Frequence of roles Wage Gap
  • Job offers made to women that were less than job offers made to men
  • Job offers made to women that more or equal less than job offers made to men

Wage Gap in San Francisco

In 2019, our data shows that women working in San Francisco are offered 6% less than men in a similar roles.

  • Expectation gap
  • Wage gap

Read full insights: State of Salaries Report

Knowledge is power

Strategies to ensure you're paid fairly

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Strategies for equitable tech hiring

How companies can battle wage inequality

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“Hired drastically improves the time to fill for Fitbit...My most recent time-to-fill report has us under a month, as opposed to the 6–12 months we would normally spend.”
Andrew Dunn Senior Recruiting Manager
“Hiring managers can spend 15 minutes on Hired and get a high yield and feel engaged in the process. This gives sourcers more time to find passive candidates for critical roles, and increases their ability to collaborate effectively with hiring managers about what candidates are good.”
Harry Dannenbaum Senior Manager of Technical Recruiting


San Francisco Salary Trends for Software Engineers

Software engineers continue to benefit from San Francisco’s booming tech sector with an average tech worker salary that’s higher than other major tech hubs. Between 2015 and 2017, the average paycheck increased by 6.7%, surging from $133,000 to $142,000. The industry recorded a year-to-year 2% growth between 2017 and 2018. At the end of the year, the average salary for tech workers in the city was $145,000—more than twice the national average income ($56,516) and higher than San Francisco’s median household income ($110,816). Comparing year-end figures between 2015 and 2018, the average salary for San Francisco tech workers grew by 9%. Many of the tech positions required the skills of data scientists, product designers, product managers, and software engineers. While salaries and compensation still played a major role in most job searches, local candidates showed an increasing preference for companies with a strong brand message. 4 out of 10 candidates were less likely to work for companies with a weak company mission, while 6 out of 10 tech workers were more likely to consider companies that added a personal touch to correspondences during recruitment. In addition, 10% of candidates expressed hesitation when asked to work for a company that didn’t foster enough diversity.

Top Brands Hiring Software Engineers in San Francisco

Home to thousands of tech companies, ranging from major companies to fast-growing start-ups, the San Francisco tech scene is a strong draw for software engineers looking to launch their career. In a survey to decide the most appealing employer brand, Google came out tops as the company most developers would like to work with. Streaming giants, Netflix was ranked second while Airbnb was ranked third. LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft ranked fourth ahead of the software company, Slack Technologies. Candidates based their decision on the offered base salary and company culture. Local tech workers also considered other elements such as the company’s mission and growth opportunity. Outside the top 5, Apple ranked sixth ahead of the ride-sharing company, Lyft and the file-hosting company, Dropbox. Square Inc was ranked ninth followed by SalesHub and Github. Local candidates ranked social media giants, Facebook 12th ahead of other social media companies, Pinterest and Twitter. Ranked 16th, Tesla was included in the top 20 alongside Uber and Reddit. Rounding out the top leaderboard list were the live-streaming service company, Twitch and the cloud-content management company, Box.

Most In-Demand Software Engineering Skills in San Francisco

Software engineers remained in high demand among many of the local tech companies. Topping the list of trending positions were job offers for qualified search engineers. And as more companies took steps to protect their businesses from cyber attackers, employers ramped up the search for experienced security engineers capable of designing, building and maintaining I.T security solutions. Blockchain engineers and NLP engineers were also in high demand, driven by an increasing number of companies looking to leverage blockchain technology and A.I solutions. And rounding out the top 5 in-demand list were machine learning (ML) engineers. Although languages like Java and Python still had a place within the tech industry, employers showed a shifting preference for proficient developers in fast-rising languages such as Microsoft’s Typescript and Google’s Go. Ruby ranked within the top trending 5 languages alongside Scala. Employers also searched for developers with proven proficiency in the cross-platform language, Kotlin. Attracting top workers often required more than just an appealing salary. More than 50% of local talent admitted that they were more likely to engage with recruiters from companies that offered the opportunity for career development.

San Francisco Pay Gap Trends

With more tech companies embracing diversity within the workplace, the wage gap in San Francisco has narrowed over the years. However, data for 2019 show that women within the tech industry are still paid slightly less than average compared to their male colleagues.* In 2018, women in San Francisco on average asked for 9% less and earned 8% less than men working in similar roles. But by 2019, the wage gap had reduced to 6%. Salaries reflected a positive shift in the wage gap distribution. While companies offered women 3% less on average than men for the same role, nearly 40% of the time women were offered similar or higher salaries than men for the same job in the same company.

*Tech workers can help close the gap by referencing high-quality salary data to know their worth and ask for it.