I'm a software engineer with a few years of experience. I can choose to join a Big Tech company or a well-backed Series A startup.
What's a reasonable ask for the salary when negotiating with the startup? In percentage terms, how much lower salary can I expect at a startup compared to Big Tech?
Of course, I expect to receive equity/stock options at the startup.
What's a reasonable ask for the salary when negotiating with the startup?
Since you have the competing Big Tech offer, you can anchor your salary negotiation against the salary in that. The most competitive startups are happy to match their salaries against those of FAANG companies (minus Netflix of course since they do all cash), often adding 10-20% on top of that.
In percentage terms, how much lower salary can I expect at a startup compared to Big Tech?
It depends on how competitive the startup is - Some startups frankly drink their own Kool-Aid way too much and greatly overvalue their equity, using it as an excuse to be cheap with salary. Startups have high variance, so they occupy a huge spectrum, especially when they're earlier stage.
You don't need to worry about this too much given that you have the Big Tech offer leverage. Their world is your oyster right now - Congrats!
For resources on negotiation, check these out:
I also recommend these resources on the differences between Big Tech and startups when it comes to career growth: