US tech firms pay up to $13,500 a month - for interns

SAN FRANCISCO - If you think interns are overworked and underpaid, think again.

Some US tech companies are offering interns fat pay cheques, with generous housing allowances included to further sweeten the deal.

One company apparently is paying its interns five-figure salaries, according to a list compiled by Cornell University student Jessica Shu. The list, which was being shared on social media, was also reported by Mail Online and other websites.

Jane Street, a quantitative trading firm with offices in New York, London and Hong Kong, is offering an eye-popping US$10,400 (S$13,540) a month to its interns, according to the list.

Ms Shu posted on Facebook last Saturday: "HEY HACKATHON HACKERS, I wasn't sure how to negotiate internship offers so I pulled some numbers from a reddit thread. These are all internship offers received by undergraduate students so hopefully some of you guys will find this useful during negotiations."

She added: "These numbers are last summer so adjust for inflation when thinking about next summer."

Comments below her post said her figures, pulled from what former interns reported, were accurate.

While Jane Street's pay was the highest, there were a few other companies that were offering US$8,000 and US$9,000, including Fitbit, Dropbox and Quora, a question and answer website.

Others offered less pay (between US$6,000 and US$7,500) but sweetened the deal with housing allowances.

Last year, reports said that Google and Twitter interns could make about US$6,000 a month, while Palantir, a company that analyses big data, paid US$7,500.

The stipends, for summer internships that last about three months, are in line with higher than average wages expected in the tech sector in the United States.

A software engineer at Google earns a base salary of more than US$125,000 a year, or more than US$10,000 a month, according to Glassdoor, a jobs database.

This does not include generous stock options, lavish offices and benefits such as free egg-freezing, which Facebook and Apple offer to female employees.

The intense competition for talent and Silicon Valley's youth-oriented culture mean that even interns get red carpets rolled out for them.

See Jessica Shu's full list here:

Intern25

chuimin@sph.com.sg