How Do Raises Work at Amazon?

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Amazon, a global e-commerce and technology giant, has a unique approach to employee compensation, including regular raises. However, understanding how raises work at Amazon can be a complex task due to the company’s multi-faceted compensation structure. This comprehensive guide will break down the key aspects of Amazon’s raise policy, including the frequency of raises, determining factors, average percentage increase, and unique bonus structures.


Raises at Amazon typically occur once a year, with the increase ranging from 1-5% depending on an employee’s performance. However, top-performing employees or those moving to more senior roles may receive larger raises, sometimes up to 15-20%. Factors influencing raises include performance, promotion, market conditions, company performance, employee retention, and soft skills. Amazon also offers unique bonus structures, including sign-on bonuses and Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).

Frequency of Raises at Amazon

Amazon typically provides pay raises to most employees once a year, with the increase ranging from 1-5% depending on performance. However, top-performing employees may receive larger raises, sometimes reaching up to 15-20%, especially when moving to more senior roles. Additionally, Amazon offers promotion raises to employees who are promoted to higher positions within the company.

Factors Influencing Raises

Several factors influence whether an employee gets a raise at Amazon. These include:

  1. Performance: Amazon evaluates employees annually through a process called Forte, which determines future pay.
  2. Promotion: Amazon recognizes and rewards its employees through promotion raises.
  3. Market conditions: Amazon’s pay structure is influenced by market conditions, such as competition for qualified employees in tight labor markets.
  4. Company performance: Amazon’s annual raises are not guaranteed and may depend on factors such as the employee’s performance rating and overall company performance.
  5. Employee retention and reduced turnover: Amazon sees pay raises as an investment in its most valuable asset, its employees.
  6. Soft skills and adaptability: Amazon’s employee evaluation system focuses on soft skills and adaptability.

Average Percentage Increase

The average percentage increase of a raise at Amazon varies depending on the employee’s performance and role. Generally, Amazon provides pay raises for most employees once a year, typically in the range of 1-5% depending on performance. Larger increases up to 15-20% are possible for top performers moving to more senior roles.

Unique Bonus Structures

Amazon offers a unique and noteworthy compensation structure that includes base salary, sign-on bonuses, and Restricted Stock Units (RSUs). One of the most distinctive aspects of Amazon’s compensation structure is the back-loaded vesting schedule for RSUs, which vest in a 5-15-40-40 sequence over four years.

Exceptions to the Typical Raise Schedule

While Amazon typically follows a standard raise schedule, there can be exceptions. For example, in 2021, Amazon increased its salary bands by 20%, which mostly benefited external hires.

In summary, Amazon’s approach to raises is multifaceted, encompassing multiple factors and unique structures. Being aware of these elements can help employees navigate their career paths effectively within the company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Forte process at Amazon?

The Forte process at Amazon is an annual employee evaluation system. It assesses an employee’s performance, soft skills, and adaptability and plays a significant role in determining the employee’s future pay, including raises.

What are Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) at Amazon?

Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are a form of compensation offered by Amazon. They represent shares of Amazon stock that are given to employees but vest over a period of time. Amazon’s RSUs follow a back-loaded vesting schedule, which means they vest in a 5-15-40-40 sequence over four years.

What does it mean when Amazon increases its salary bands?

When Amazon increases its salary bands, it means that the company raises the range of salaries it is willing to pay for certain positions. This change largely impacts new hires, as existing employee salaries are adjusted to fit within the new bands.

Does Amazon provide bonuses apart from the annual raises?

Yes, apart from annual raises, Amazon offers sign-on bonuses and Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) as part of its unique compensation structure. The amount and frequency of these bonuses can vary based on the employee’s role and performance.

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