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Oracle Offer Compensation Components
Before starting the negotiation, make sure you understand the compensation components offered. A typical job offer for a software engineering role at Oracle (e.g. IC4 - Principal MTS) should contain the following monetary components:
This is what an Oracle IC3 offer looks like over a 4-year period.
Note: stock refreshers do exist but are not specified in the offer letter.
Oracle Base Salary
Oracle's base salary component is competitive relative to peers. For example, Oracle IC3 maps to Google L4 and when comparing the top of band base salary at these two companies, both are roughly $175,000. However, Google L4 also comes with a 15% performance bonus, which Oracle does not (more on that later).
As with most companies, Oracle has a base salary band associated with each role/level/location. The size of the band increases with seniority and at junior levels it is quite narrow.
Oracle is more willing to negotiate base salary vs peers. That said, the increase is still typically smaller than what is possible for the equity component. Caveat: this of course does depend on the initial offer and how much room there is for each component relative to the top of band number.
Oracle Signing Bonus
Oracle's signing bonuses are middle of the pack - although its top of band numbers, which it rarely gives, can be fairly competitive.
As a general rule, Oracle will try not to give out signing bonuses in initial offers and numbers are typically low when they do include it. After negotiation, a signing bonus of $35k would be considered very good for junior to mid-level roles. We have seen cases where larger signing bonuses of $50/60k have been given out, but this is rare. For comparison, signing bonuses for Facebook E4 can go as high as $75k. We often see Oracle split larger signing bonuses over the first two years.
One drawback to Oracle signing bonuses is the 18-month clawback period which means they can ask for your signing bonus back if you leave the company at any point before the 18-month mark. The clawback itself is not strange, but the standard clawback period is only 12 months and for a prorated amount.
Oracle Equity - Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)
Most companies quote a dollar-figure for equity, but Oracle is like Amazon where your offer will list a specific number of shares. To calculate the approximate $ value, just look at the 30-day trailing average price.
Oracle, like many other big tech companies, vests equity evenly over 4 years. This means if you are granted $380K RSUs, you will receive the following:
- Year 1: 25% ($95K)
- Year 2: 25% ($95K)
- Year 3: 25% ($95K)
- Year 4: 25% ($95K)
While the equity amount can be quite high at Oracle, the vesting schedule is unfavorable. The most common vesting schedule for software engineers in the industry is to vest quarterly. However, at Oracle the vesting schedule is annual, which means you only receive your granted equity at the end of each year.
Oracle is typically willing to negotiate equity and at junior/mid-levels, equity is competitive with the likes of Google and Apple. However, IC4+ roles typically get below market equity packages unless you have a very strong negotiation.
Oracle Performance Bonus
Unfortunately, Oracle has chosen not to offer performance bonuses. Many big tech companies have bonus targets that are borderline guaranteed, and at senior levels this can be 20-30% of your base salary.
Be sure to take this into account when comparing with other competing opportunities. This is also a good point to bring up when presenting competing opportunities, but you'll want to do that strategically.
Oracle Stock Refreshers
Refreshers at Oracle are not guaranteed unlike Facebook and Apple where they are given to almost everyone. The expectation for most levels at Oracle is that you won't receive yearly stock refreshers unless you are a top performer.
Oracle does typically reward strong performance, but even this depends on things like company performance, the org you are in, and your manager. When received however, the amount tends to be fairly generous. This is in part because they don't have annual target bonuses and therefore incentivize performance through stock refreshers. To give a rough idea, if received at the IC 3 level, you can expect refreshers be $100K-$200K, vested over 4 years. It's a good idea to ask for the range of expected refreshers at your level and what % of engineers receive these amounts.
Depending on your competing opportunities, you can use refreshers against or with Oracle. You ask what % of people receive refreshers and call that out if you have a competing opportunity with higher probability refreshers. On the other hand, you can use the large potential refresher amounts quoted to you by the Oracle recruiter to negotiate other offers.
Industry Compensation Data
We've helped negotiate many offers at Oracle. Clients always find it helpful to know how role-specific salary information like an Oracle data scientist salary or an Oracle product manager salary compares to the industry. However, it can also be useful to understand these salary trends at the industry level. Hence, we've compiled that data for different roles setting the senior (L5) level as the benchmark.
Remember, the data points above are industry wide, not specific to Oracle. There are many company specifics at play here. In general, Oracle's compensation is below top of market. This is particularly true for certain roles (e.g. Oracle product designer salary). In other areas, like an Oracle solution architect salary, comp is more in-line with the industy.
It is also important to note that Google modified its vesting scheduling with 33% being paid in the first and second year. This inflates the value in year 1 and 2 and the pay will be lower in year 3 and year 4.
Oracle Negotiation Process
Candidates often find it helpful to have a high-level overview of the negotiation process, which we will cover below.
But before jumping into that, here is a quick overview of Oracle's software engineering levels compared to Google. As a reminder, the compensation bands get wider as the roles become more senior, which makes negotiation even more important.
- IC 1 → New Grad Google L3
- IC2 (Member of Technical Staff) → Google L3
- IC3 (Senior MTS) → Google L4
- IC4 (Principal MTS) → Google L5
- IC5 (Consulting MTS) → Senior Google L5 and Junior L6
- IC6 (Architect) → Google L7+
If you have not yet received an offer from Oracle, there are a few mistakes to avoid. These can significantly limit your upside during the negotiation.
- Do not share your current compensation. In many states (e.g. California) it is illegal for companies to ask this, so you are certainly within your rights to say "I do not feel comfortable sharing that information".
- Do not share your compensation expectations. It is in your best interest to deflect this question until Oracle has extended an offer. It is certainly harmful to share a low number but sharing a very high number can also be a bad start to the negotiation as this will increase the likelihood that you are asked for proof of a competing offer. Instead, reply with something along the lines of "Right now I'm focused on the interview process and don't have a number in mind, but I'm confident we will be able to get to a number that works for both of us".
With that out of the way, let's discuss the process for Oracle salary negotiations.
- After finishing up your onsite, you will typically hear back from a recruiter within a few days. But we have seen cases where Oracle takes up to 2 weeks to get back to a successful candidate.
- A recruiter will reach out to setup a call. Often saying something along the lines of "I have some exciting news to share". This is the offer call. They may tell you beforehand if you can expect an offer or if they will be asking for your compensation expectations.
- On the offer call, the recruiter may push you for compensation expectations. But if properly deflected, at IC4 and below they are often willing to give an initial offer.
- We often see Oracle set offer deadlines, but they are reasonably flexible when time extensions are needed.
- We recommend you take time to digest the initial offer and consider the best point of leverage for your counter offer discussion.
- You should then setup your second call with the recruiter to discuss the offer. On that call you will disclose your counter offer. The recruiter will likely push back mentioning that you are near the top of band. Here at Rora, we build a tree diagram unique to your situation with the most likely objections and the optimal responses to those objections. The goal is to get the recruiter to take your counter-offer number back to the team as needed. The recruiter will need to get approval from the compensation committee and hiring manager.
- You will usually hear back in a few days with their "final" offer but in some cases, this can take much longer.
There are two primary differences between junior and senior negotiations at Oracle:
- Senior employees are likely to see fewer pressure tactics compared to junior employees. For example, requests for competing offers in writing can be more easily deflected. Generally speaking, recruiters working with these candidates provide more of a white glove service.
- Recruiters will push you more to give them an initial number if you are more senior, rather than providing an offer. Given the importance of senior leaders and the wide range of the salary bands, they are typically hesitant to risk losing a candidate. This means the first number you provide is hugely important for anchoring the negotiation.
Can I Lose my Oracle Offer by Negotiating?
This is far and away the number 1 question Rora’s career partners are asked. It is a very common and valid fear, especially in today’s volatile economy. But what’s the actual probability that, when negotiating with Oracle, they would decide to pull the offer?
First, let’s discuss how it would benefit Oracle to rescind the offer. The primary reason a hiring manager would elect to rescind an offer would be a fear of liability with their intended hire - i.e., this hire may cause a scandal, this hire will in no way be able to perform their duties, this hire will be detrimental to Oracle, etc. Other than that, by the time an offer has been extended, Oracle has already invested a substantial amount of time and money into the candidate they’re giving an offer to, and should have a concrete understanding of how this candidate will perform in the role. It would be a net loss for the company to go through all those interviews, conversations, and putting together the offer to then decide that they want to cut ties with the candidate – this is a risk they try mitigate before giving an offer.
Even in this economy, we have seen clients get increases in their offers from companies of all sizes by making respectful and well-reasoned requests. It’s very unlikely a company would pull the offer based on negotiation. Based on our data, we’ve only seen this happen less than 0.5% of the time - and that includes companies that are on hiring slowdown/freezes right now.
Now, there is a fundamental difference between getting an offer rescinded and losing the offer due to headcount. A headcount loss is solely based on the state of Oracle and the necessity of the role within the team. This isn’t common but can occasionally happen if needs at the company shift – and is more common with earlier-stage startups. It does not reflect your interview performance or skill level, and oftentimes companies will try to keep in touch with you and share other opportunities once headcount opens up. If your offer was rescinded, the company would not have any interest in keeping you warm.
Regardless of the low likelihood of getting an offer rescinded, we know that this is a very common fear – and one that often holds candidates back from negotiating! To help mitigate the risk (and increase your confidence while negotiating) - follow these dos and don’ts to lower the probability of your offer getting rescinded:
- Do keep it professional - avoid getting into politics or making jokes that may be poorly received and make your hiring manager think you might be a liability to the company
- Do give justification and reasoning behind your ask for increased compensation – this could be based on your market value, another opportunity you have, specific expertise you bring to the table, or the strong relationship you’ve built with your hiring manager
- Do your first compensation ask over a phone call - in most cases we see a higher rate of success and understanding when the first ask is done over a call versus an email
- Do demonstrate to your hiring manager that you’re a solid candidate who would be a strong hire by creating and collaborating on an impact roadmap (outlining your 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day goals for getting started in your new role and your understanding of the priorities for this position)
- Do your best to understand the necessity of the role on this team - How critical is it? How long has the role been open for? This can help you determine the likelihood of the headcount being lost – and also the leverage you may have in negotiating
Oracle-Specific Negotiation Advice
Here are some important pieces of information to keep in mind when negotiating your Oracle offer.
Willing to negotiate early
If Oracle knows you are interviewing with other good companies like Amazon or Facebook, they typically won't require you to finish those interviews and instead they are willing to start the negotiation process early. In some cases, even without a competing offer you can get Oracle to increase numbers, but you must be a strong candidate and play your cards right. If you do start the process early, they may ask you to sign upon securing an increase. This can be a good approach when Oracle is the main company you wish to join. However, it's important to word these "early negotiation" conversations carefully, as your leverage is less clearly established. This can make the difference between a nominal increase and a significant increase.
At Oracle, the compensation team is a group of analysts that increases offers based on market factors. Competing opportunities are effective when presented to Oracle and for highly desired candidates they are willing to go to the top of their band. That said, interview performance does play an important role because of the hiring manger's influence.
Hiring managers play a more direct role during these negotiations compared to other big tech companies. Usually hiring managers don't have direct input to comp and you should not discuss numbers with them. However, at Oracle, hiring managers can be instrumental for getting a great offer.
Above band offers
Oracle does have an exception process in place for above band offers. This is rarely used as the bands for each role are quite large. If the recruiter + hiring manager are willing to push for an exception, they will collect data on your other opportunities and then submit a formal request. This can often take a week to be approved.
Don't need competing offers in writing
In our experience, Oracle typically does not ask to see competing opportunities in writing, unlike Google which always requires it. This is helpful in situations where you don't have the official competing offer in writing. However, almost all companies will ask for numbers in writing if you make an outlandish request (e.g. $1M in equity for Facebook E5). Additionally, you should be prepared to handle specific questions about your competing opportunities including things like offer breakdowns. Make sure you answer these in a way that benefits your negotiation.