TikTok Data Scientist Salary

What’s a reasonable TikTok Data Scientist salary? What about top-of-band? There are thousands of “speculative” responses to this question online. This article aims to cut through the clutter and present the actual data — based on our experiences with hundreds of tech negotiations and thousands of submitted offers. We’ve included the top-of-band compensation for various TikTok Data Scientist levels and a bonus section at the bottom with information on how to negotiate TikTok Data Scientist Salary offers.

TikTok Data Scientist Offer Components

  • TikTok base salary:

    TikTok tends to be competitive with FAANG companies on base salary and with the right negotiation strategy, you can actually convince them to pay more!
  • TikTok equity (RSUs):

    TikTok back-weights their equity vesting schedule — meaning you vest more of your equity the longer you work there. The only other significant tech company with a back-weighted structure is Amazon. At TikTok, 15% of your shares will be paid to you in year one, 25% in years two and three, and 35% in year four. Even though the company is not yet public, TikTok grants RSUs (not stock options). The dollar value is divided by a "shared value," which is typically established by a 409A valuation (currently $155) or funding round to determine the actual number of shares you will receive.
  • TikTok signing bonus:

    TikTok only offers signing bonuses during the first year — unlike Amazon, which offers them for years one and two. If you leave before the 12-month period, they also have a reasonably aggressive clawback clause.
  • TikTok performance bonus:

    TikTok Data Scientists have unique performance bonus targets. Almost all SWE levels have a uniform target bonus percentage of 25% of the base salary. However, the performance bonus target for Data Scientist roles begins at 12.5% for levels 2-2 and below. The target is 25% of the base salary for levels 3-1 and higher. It’s worth noting that this bonus is paid relatively frequently, although not as guaranteed as Google's performance bonus. Performance bonuses are not negotiable.
  • TikTok stock refreshers:

    TikTok sadly does not offer stock refreshers. This is a pretty big disadvantage vs. other major tech companies and can be used as a point of leverage during negotiations.

2-1 TikTok Data Scientist Salary

2022 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$190K

Equity (4 years)

$175K

Signing Bonus

$40K

Performance Bonus

12.5%

We’ve noticed a 5-10% increase in base salaries at TikTok from 2021 to 2022.

2-2 TikTok Data Scientist Salary

2022 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$250K

Equity (4 years)

$250K

Signing Bonus

$50K

Performance Bonus

12.5%

We've been able to help a few candidates go above the band for salary at Level 2-2

3-1 TikTok Data Scientist Salary

2022 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$275K

Equity (4 years)

$480K

Signing Bonus

$70K

Performance Bonus

25%

At this level, DS performance bonus targets are back in line with SWE targets.

3-2 TikTok Data Scientist Salary

2022 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$325K

Equity (4 years)

~$800K

Signing Bonus

$100K

Performance Bonus

25%

The bands at this level are wider and there is some variation between manager and IC pay. Also, at higher levels, recruiters tend to be more willing to increase equity and be flexible on the split between base and equity, but the total compensation will remain the same.

TikTok Data Scientist Negotiation

So now you've got the compensation data, are you ready to negotiate? Not quite.

First, as tech companies strive to stay competitive, compensation data is constantly in flux. This is especially true for businesses like TikTok, which are seeing rapid growth. 2022 numbers show a slight increase (5-10%) in base salary from 2021 while other components remained stagnant. (Note - we have helped a few candidates achieve above-band exceptions for RSUs and sign-on bonuses, although it’s rare). Knowing the complete range for each component is helpful for maximizing your negotiation.

However, even with robust compensation data, it's not always enough. In 90% of cases, telling your TikTok recruiter that you saw online that the top of the band is $X and that you’d that number won't work. So, if that won’t work, what will?

Companies negotiate when they believe you won’t accept their offer. But, since you just finished a long and arduous interview process with them, they know you are likely to accept the job unless you have higher competing offers from other great companies.

This means you need to create leverage and make it believable that you are considering other options but would prefer TikTok if the compensation is comparable. This sounds easy but quickly becomes challenging if you don’t have other offers or if your other offers aren’t higher than the top-of-band comp numbers you are targeting.

Another example of creating leverage can be by doing lots of research into the company and building great internal relationships so that they feel more willing to increase your compensation to get you to sign. For example, we once worked with a professional increased their signing bonus by $50K without any other offers. They had built a great relationship with the recruiter over the multi-month interview process and the recruiter went to bat for them to ensure they would join.

Even if you are in a perfect situation where you have a competing offer with comp higher than the top-of-band numbers you are targeting at TikTok, the negotiation can still get complicated.

TikTok is known to be a tough company to negotiate with, as recruiters will often try to trick candidates. TikTok recruiters often refuse to disclose levels (making it challenging to establish anchor numbers), very rarely don’t disclose the correct title (TikTok Data Analysts typically make less than TikTok Data Scientists), set exploding offer deadlines, and will occasionally even alter previously agreed-upon numbers.

If you want to have a chance at receiving a top-of-the-band offer, you must be ready for these situations. Negotiating is fundamentally a game of preparation, strategy, and leverage.

Looking for more support negotiating with TikTok? We wrote a comprehensive article of the ins and outs of negotiating with TikTok recruiters.

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1:1 Salary Negotiation Support

We've negotiated more than $15M in TikTok offers. Our largest TikTok increase was $940K.

Negotiation strategy

Step 1 is defining the strategy, which often starts by helping you create leverage for your negotiation (e.g. setting up conversations with FAANG recruiters).

Negotiation anchor number

Step 2 we decide on anchor numbers and target numbers with the goal of securing a top of band offer, based on our internal verified data sets.

Negotiation execution plan

Step 3 we create custom scripts for each of your calls, practice multiple 1:1 mock negotiations, and join your recruiter calls to guide you via chat.