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VMware Salary Negotiation Guide

Do we like negotiating with VMware?

Generally, recruiters at VMware expect negotiations and are fairly receptive. We tend to see better outcomes from a VMware salary negotiation compared to companies like Google and Uber, which have more rigid negotiation policies. However, we have seen VMware attempt to downlevel candidates even with competing offers, and this can make the negotiation a bit more challenging. All in all there is an opportunity for meaningful compensation increases when negotiating with VMware.

VMware's compensation structure

  • Base Salary
  • VMware Equity Package (see VMware's RSU vesting schedule below)
  • VMware Signing Bonus (not included in all VMware offers)
  • VMware Performance Bonus

VMware performance bonus targets

VMware offers strong performance bonuses that are higher than competitors for junior and mid-level positions.

  • MTS2 – 12%
  • MTS3 – 12%
  • Senior MTS – 17%
  • Staff Engineer – 17%
  • Staff Engineer 2 – 20%
  • Senior Staff Engineer – 25%

VMware's approach to remote pay

Since the onset of the pandemic, VMware has become more flexible regarding permanent work from home.  Pay bands still differ based on geographic location and they are strict when enforcing them.

VMware's relocation package

VMware’s relocation packages are slightly higher than the industry norm. It's possible to get $20K even for mid-level positions. However, not all positions will require you to move, and if you are requesting the move, the relocation package is harder to negotiate.

Most negotiable component

VMware’s most negotiable component is equity, similar to other companies in the tech industry. The second most negotiable component would be the VMware sign on bonus and then the hardest to negotiate is base salary.

One thing we've seen recently is that larger signing bonuses are sometimes split over 2 years. Performance bonuses are not negotiable so don't waste time negotiating those.

Does VMware require written offers?

VMware doesn't usually require written competing offers especially when the offer is within the expected range. Sometimes they will ask for additional information regarding the offer like location, breakdown, etc.

In a few unique cases, your recruiter might ask you to send over a screenshot with the offer details. Though if you prepare in advance, this can be deflected.

Will VMware go above band if I have a strong competing offer?

VMware can go above band in rare circumstances. The situation needs to be right and you need to play your hand perfectly.

Is my hiring manager relationship important at VMware?

Hiring mangers can influence compensation at VMware. It's important to build rapport during the interview process, and we also recommend setting up calls after you receive the offer, but focus on building a strong relationship vs negotiating with your HM. Your hiring manager can advocate for you on the backend as you negotiate with your recruiter.

What does the hiring process look like at VMware?

The hiring process at VMware is of course different for every role. However, the hiring process for a software engineer typically has five stages: pre-screen with recruiter, HackerRank, technical screen with hiring manager, onsite interview, and offer stage.

Does VMware pay well compared to Oracle?

Let’s consider a VMware software engineer salary in 2021. The total compensation at Oracle tends to be a little higher than VMware. For instance, consider the role of senior MTS. The total compensation for that role at VMware is around 290k, but at Oracle it is around 320k.

What kind of benefits does VMware offer?

While VMware's equity and signing bonus should be the focus of your negotiation, it's worth comparing perks with your other offers. VMware is middle of the pack - certainly better than Amazon (e.g. 15 vs 10 days of PTO) but worse than FB and Google.

  • Health benefits: They offer dental, vision and family planning assistance.
  • Saving plans: Plans include 401k (available as soon as joining), FSA and HSA.
  • Time off programs: The company provides 15 days PTO, stat holidays, floating holidays, etc.
  • Leave of absence programs: Family leave, military leave, medical leave are all part of a standard benefits package.

VMware Equity Vesting Schedule

Year 1
25%
Year 2
25%
Year 3
25%
Year 4
25%
Year 5
25%
Year 5
%

VMware Levels

VMware Level

MTS1

MTS2

MTS3

Senior MTS

Staff Engineer 1

Staff Engineer 2

Senior Staff Engineer

Principal Engineer

Fellow

=

Equivalent Level at Google

L3

L3

L4

L4

L5

L6

Between L6 and L7

L8

L9

Why use us?

Our Clients Love Rora

Coming from a non-FAANG background, I was shocked to find out how much I could be earning. Before I signed up with Rora, I made the mistake of telling Amazon my current compensation. Thankfully, Rora knew exactly how to fix it and ended up getting me an offer that was 2.3X what I previously made and more than $600K higher than Amazon’s initial offer!

Through several weeks of interviews, Ganesh was always available to make sure I knew what to say for each conversation. I interviewed with start ups, Google, Facebook and Amazon and was really impressed that Rora knew the comp ranges and were able to give me tailored advice for each – even the start ups.

There ended up being two particularly complex moments in my negotiation. One of the start-ups I had a personal relationship with and I wasn’t sure how it would affect the negotiation. I like that there was a focus on my individual circumstances and that they were leveraged to get me a higher offer. The other situation is that Amazon made a mistake on my written offer and initially wouldn’t rectify it. Ganesh was able to guide me through a challenging conversation to get it resolved.

Steve Commisso
L7 Principal Software Engineer, Amazon

Thanks to Wilson and the team at Rora I got a ~$250K increase on my remote Facebook offer! I was initially worried I wouldn’t have much leverage because Facebook reached out to me, and I wasn’t interviewing anywhere else. Rora introduced me to an Amazon L7 recruiter and helped me get that process started. I didn’t even end up needing to finish the Amazon interviews, since we were able to use some early compensation conversations to justify our numbers to Facebook.

At one point I was also considering pushing for an E7 role, and they wrote up a great script for me to broach the subject with my recruiter. She ended up giving me the option to do an additional interview to be considered for the higher-level position.

The whole process was very smooth, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the service for any future negotiations. I found the regular calls with Wilson where we walked through strategy and discussed the scripts to be extremely helpful. Not only did it help with this negotiation, but I also learned a lot of useful negotiation tactics that I’ve already started to use in other situations.

Chris Jones
E6 Software Engineer, Facebook

As an engineering leader with decades of experience and having now gone through the negotiation with the team at Rora, the only thing I can say is — get the help. Whether you realize you need it, or even if you think you don’t. Just because you have done well in engineering doesn't mean that you understand the tactics and limits of the recruiting process.

Rora helped me get a $200K increase on my original Facebook offer without any competing offers.  It was clear that Rora was deeply familiar with Facebook's negotiation playbook. I’d honestly give the experience an 11/10.

In addition, Rora guided me on how to get the position switched to a revised remote role which was a huge deal at a personal level. They showed me how to redirect FB’s questions so that I could explore the possibility of not relocating, without ever having to say no to my original offer.

E7 Hardware Engineer
Facebook

This is my first FAANG role and I'm so happy I worked with Rora (thanks again Annie!) for the negotiation. My goal was to increase my Google offer, but I was in a tricky situation where I only had 1 other interview (no offer yet) at a small startup. With their guidance, I managed to get a $240K increase on my Google offer, despite Google's policy of requiring cross offers in writing to justify an increase.

The mock negotiations were a big part of why I was able to get this increase. Going into the negotiation, I assumed the key factor was what to say but I quickly learned that how you say it is equally if not more important. This was clear when over the course of the call"no" turned into "I'll see what I can do" and eventually"I think we can make this work". A big part of this was also having someone with me on the calls to provide real time guidance. This took a lot of the stress out of the situation. I can't recommend this team highly enough!

Andrei Gorbushkin
L5 Technical Program Manager, Google

After receiving several job offers, I needed to make a decision within a few days. I wanted to make sure I was getting the best offer possible, so I decided to use Rora. I was very pleased with their service. My coach, Sameer, was well prepared and had information about what compensation increases were likely possible. He provided detailed scripts covering a range of scenarios, and he did practice negotiations with me that helped me feel confident when I had the actual conversations.  

With his help I was able to increase one offer by $45k per year plus get a $50k signing bonus and then use that to increase my offer from Square, which was my first choice. All throughout he was very responsive as I was dealing with some tight deadlines and looking to wrap things up quickly. Rora's fee was only a tiny fraction of the increase they helped me negotiate, and even though they would have made more money if I had taken the highest offer, Sameer always put my goals first and never pressured me to do so. I highly recommend Rora!

L6 Software Engineer
Square

My friend introduced me to Rora and I’m so glad they did. I initially did some calculations to see if working with them would be worth it - my final increase ended up being ~3x higher than what I had estimated to be possible!

Their data is much more accurate than anything I found online. Without Sameer's guidance, I would have never known (and would have probably been too nervous) to ask for >$800K for anAmazon L7 offer. Of course, it's not just not enough to throw out a big number, you also need to be able to justify it. Sameer guided me through negotiating an up-level at another company, which I didn’t even know was possible at my level. With their scripts, I was able to leverage my competing offer to get exec approval for my Amazon offer. They also knew all the tricks Amazon would play (e.g., assuming 15% stock appreciation) and exactly how to counter them.

My total 4-year compensation increased by $570K. I don't think I've ever had a higher ROI – I’m very thankful that this service exists!

L7 Principal Software Engineer
Amazon

Maximize your VMware Offer

VMware

has a unique set of negotiation policies. If you don’t have experience negotiating with them, you risk losing out on large amounts of money because of very small mistakes.

There are many of these rules you need to know to get the highest

VMware

offer possible.