Which tech jobs are most meaningful?

Image: SpaceX, Tesla and Space Needle
SpaceX and Tesla Motors both received a publicity boost when SpaceX announced last year that it was opening up an office in the Seattle area. (GeekWire photo)

What do the employees at two of billionaire brainiac Elon Musk’s companies, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, think about their job situation? Newly released ratings from Seattle-based PayScale suggest that they don’t draw the highest salaries in the tech world, but see their jobs as extraordinarily meaningful (and stressful).

The two ventures lead a list of 18 top tech companies when it comes to the percentage of survey respondents who say their jobs have lots of meaning (92 percent for SpaceX, 89 percent for Tesla) and high stress (88 percent for SpaceX, 70 percent for Tesla).

That’s in line with the companies’ difficult but rewarding missions: Tesla aims to revolutionize the automotive and power industries with its approaches to electric cars and in-home batteries, while SpaceX aims to lower the cost of spaceflight and eventually turn humanity into a multiplanet species.

Based on PayScale’s data, the employees’ compensation isn’t as high-flown as their aspirations. On the scale for early-career median pay, Tesla ranks 13th at $81,400 a year. SpaceX is one notch lower at $78,500. That’s well above the median U.S. household income ($53,657 for 2014) but relatively low on PayScale’s list.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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