OpenAI Engineers Earning $800,000 a Year

I saw this going viral: OpenAI Engineers Earning $800,000 a Year Turn Rare Skillset Into Leverage:

The most common salary range for an engineering job listed on OpenAI’s website is $200,000 to $370,000, though a handful of more specialized roles advertise ranges from $300,000 to $450,000, said Roger Lee, co-founder of compensation benchmarking firm Salary ranges don’t include bonuses or stock awards, which can bring an annual salary of $300,000 closer to $800,000 in total compensation, according to

This agrees with many earlier points or themes of the blog:

1. Predictions of a technology bubble or crisis keep being premature or wrong, and any slowdown is short-lived. The high inflation of 2022 is a distant memory as salaries and stock prices surge to new highs. It’s always the same pattern of the useless media prematurely proclaiming a top or a reversal of the otherwise long-standing trend, and then when least expected it’s off to the races again. This happens every 2-4 years, like in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2022,etc. Same for Middle East crisis-already old news or irrelevant as far as the US economy is concerned. US consumer spending, tech spending, and innovation is unaffected by unrest elsewhere in the world.

It’s worth keeping in mind that stocks boomed in the ’80s and ’90s despite high inflation. All it will take is some job weakness or other indicators to send interest rate expectations plunging and stocks surging even more–but up to a point, short of recession.

2. As if it was not obvious enough, tech salaries and jobs are great–even better than athlete and entertainer salaries. Despite the tired trope about how doctors earn much less than athletes, what is often overlooked is that athletes have short careers (injuries and age take a toll), and also pay a lot of upkeep such as managers, agents, coaches/trainers, etc. Same for medical bills due to injuries. White collar careers can easily last 3-4 decades, compared to 3-4 years for athletes. And for every Tom Brady who makes $100 million, there are probably dozens of white collar workers who are equally wealthy that hardly anyone has heard of.

3. The returns to high-IQ keep rising. The top 5% of IQ keep pulling ahead, whether it’s tech salaries or even Susbtack earnings (the top Substack writers like Moldbug and others are uniformity high IQ and have seen their earnings and sub counts surge over the past 3 years). There has never been a better time to have a high IQ than now in terms of earning potential. This also agrees with earlier posts about how studies that purport low correlations between IQ and income/wealth are not useful. Such studies are based on old data and fail to take into account the outsized returns of individuals possessing the highest of IQs in the labor market (top 1-5% or so). 30 years ago, machine learning jobs didn’t exist. The ‘cutting edge’ tech jobs of 30+ years ago paid the equivalent of only $80-100k today. Same for other white collar jobs.

4. This is part of the broader trend of the post-2008 ‘white collar job surge’ , which has seen salaries explode for a white range of white collar profession since the Great Recession. Pundits on Twitter complain about how people are going into too much debt to get degrees, or how young people are over-educated or are delaying family formation for careerism. When enticed by fat six-figure salaries (not just in tech but other white collar jobs too), who can blame them.