Over 60% of Employees Are Happy at Startups—Far Outpacing FAANG and MSFT

Huge paychecks and light workloads don’t automatically mean a happier work life.

Landing a job at a tech giant—like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google (FAANG), or Microsoft—might seem like a dream for many. You’re embedded with the brands dominating our markets and getting paid royally for your contributions, all while soaking up the free food, transportation, and endless other amenities that come along with it.

But more and more, startups are offering similar perks, and thousands of folks leave FAANG companies every year to find meaning somewhere smaller. Often, they’re employees looking to have a greater impact on their industry or hoping to get in early at what might be the next tech giant.

Whether they pick the startup life or stick with the spoils of a larger company, we were curious:

  • Which employees are ultimately happier?
  • What motivating factors most strongly influence those feelings?

To understand how employee happiness at FAANG and Microsoft compares to employee happiness at startups, we partnered with Blind, a trusted online community where more than 2.8 million verified professionals anonymously share advice, provide honest feedback, and discover relevant career information. In an anonymous survey of more than 11,000 of its users this September, Blind asked FAANG and Microsoft employees about their workplace satisfaction and the factors that influence it.

We paired that data with an independent survey we run on AngelList, asking users from startups of all sizes about their current workplace happiness. For this comparison, we narrowed AngelList data to responses shared with us in 2019. We further limited that pool to employees who are working at companies with 50 or fewer team members.

Here’s what we found.

Startup employees are a lot happier

By an order of magnitude, employees at startups report being happier with their current position than FAANG and MSFT employees do. Over 30% more startup employees said they were happy in their current roles compared to folks at larger companies.

Happy with your current job

But not all big companies are created equal. Over 89% of respondents from Netflix said they are happy in their current roles, while Amazon trailed in performance with only 42% of its employees feeling happy at work.

Are faang employees happy-LOGOS

Career growth is the most volatile factor in employee happiness

Among startup employees who are job-hunting, the opportunity to grow at work and learn new skills are the two most important elements they evaluate in each new opportunity. Over 50% say they’re happy with their current total compensation, and an impressive 75% say they’re happy with their current work-life balance.

Startup employees look for

Among employees at tech giants, the opportunity for career growth—or the absence of it—was one of the most significant indicators of workplace satisfaction for happy and unhappy employees, alike.

Factors for FAANG unhappiness

Amazon and Facebook should be on edge

Google and Netflix had the happiest teammates across FAANG, with 45% and 55% of employees, respectively, saying they have no current plans to leave their roles. But over the next six months, Amazon and Facebook stand to lose the most employees than any of the other tech giants.

FAANG employees leave their jobs-LOGOS

At a time when startups are recruiting hard from Facebook’s team and big tech employees are moving to startups where they can have more impact, FAANG and Microsoft have a lot to lose.


If you’re interested in learning more about Blind, check out its AngelList profile and join its community today.

Curious about other startups out there, or ready to make a career move? Start your search on AngelList, the world’s largest startup community.

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