Disney tech salaries revealed: Here's what the media giant pays engineers as it focuses on its growing streaming business while its theme parks reel from the pandemic

  • Walt Disney's theme park business is struggling, but the media giant is getting a boost from other digital units, including its new streaming business.
  • Like other media companies, Disney has been looking to beef up its technology talent pool, especially in software engineering and data analytics and it's done this by hiring from overseas through the H-1B program.
  • For example, Disney hired a senior software engineer in speech and immersive technology in Connecticut with a salary of $139,000. The company also hired a senior data engineer in Washington with a salary of $144,000
  • Here's a survey of what Disney pays new hires based on disclosure data for permanent and temporary workers filed with the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

While Disney's once-thriving theme parks are reeling from the COVID-19 crisis, forcing the company to cut 28,000 jobs, the media giant is getting a lift from other businesses, including its one-year-old streaming service.

In fact, Disney this week unveiled a major reorganization that puts more focus on content and distribution efforts around its growing streaming services through a new centralized "media and entertainment distribution" group.

Disney Plus, which has rapidly attracted subscribers after the pandemic forced people to spend more time at home, is a key part of the company's Direct to Consumer International division, which UBS analyst John Hodulik said "remains the bright spot" in the media giant's business. Disney's launch of its streaming service last year pointed to the growing importance of technology to the media giant, as is its bid to bring in tech talent, including from overseas through the H-1B program.

"It's no surprise that Disney is focused on roles like software engineers and data scientists right now," James Atkinson,  vice president of Gartner's human resources practice, told Business Insider. "The heightened competition at the product level for streaming and online services translates to a heightened competition for talent to create those products."

The problem faced by Disney is that "both software engineers and data scientists are some of the most difficult positions to hire for in the United States, as demand far outstrips supply," Atkinson added. In fact, global demand for these positions has "surged in the last four years," he said. 

US companies must disclose salaries in applying for visas for current or prospective employees. Federal data offers a specific glimpse into how much Disney pays employees in different technology roles. Business Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification's 2020 disclosure data for permanent and temporary foreign workers to find out what Disney — which had 21 approved visa applications — pays for top talent hired from overseas.

Here's a snapshot of Disney salaries in the US for various jobs, including software development and engineering, data science, and managers.

Disney hired a senior software engineer in speech and immersive technology in Connecticut with a salary of $139,000

Global demand for software engineers soared about 50% over the past four years.

"Disney is doing what most other companies in most industries are doing right now: hiring more and more technology talent to meet the demands of an increasingly complex digital business," Gartner's Atkinson said. "Disney's peers are actively competing with them to secure top talent for these roles."

Here are some of Disney's recent software engineering hires and their salaries based on 21 approved visa applications:

Senior software engineer (New York): $140,000

Senior software engineer (Florida): $125,000

Staff software engineer (Washington): $145,000

Lead software engineer (California): $166,000

Senior systems engineer (California): $135,000

Senior software engineer, technical lead (New York): $165,000

Senior software engineer, speech and immersive technology (Connecticut): $139,000

 

 

Disney hired a senior data engineer in Washington with a salary of $144,000

Data analytics and AI have become critical tool sfor streaming and online media companies. That explains why most of Disney's recent foreign hires are data professionals, including experienced data engineers.

Like software engineers, demand for data professionals is also strong worldwide. Gartner vice president James Atkinson said that need is "even more pronounced" among streaming media tech companies.

"We took a look at a set of Disney's competitors — Netflix, AT&T, Google, Apple, Hulu, Comcast — and found that demand is growing twice as fast among them for data scientists, in particular, as compared to other companies," he said.

Here are some of Disney's recent hires in data engineering and their salaries based on 21 approved visa applications:

Senior data engineer (California): $140,000

Senior data warehouse engineer, data solutions (Washington): $144,000

Data integration lead (California): $156,000

Senior data engineer (California): $160,000

Senior data engineer (Washington): $144,000

Data engineer (California): $130,000

 

Disney hired a vice president for growth engineering in California with a salary of $350,000

Disney has also been looking for managers and executives for software and data engineering roles.

"The competition for critical talent, like software engineers and data scientists, is exceptionally fierce in the United States right now," Gartner vice president James Atkinson said. "Demand is growing at a quick pace, across industries, while the supply can't keep up."

Here are some of Disney's recent hires for management roles and their salaries based on 21 approved visa applications.

Vice president, growth engineering (California): $350,000

Senior manager, data engineering (Washington): $185,000

Senior manager, technology (Florida): $173,000

Manager, data engineering (Washington): $174,000

Manager, HR decision science engineer (Florida): $130,000

 

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