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Guide to Working at Airbnb

Working at Airbnb

Over the last several years, Airbnb has become a household name as the preeminent online marketplace for property owners looking to rent out their spaces and travelers searching for short-term stays. 

If you’re one of the more than one billion guests who’ve stayed at an Airbnb since its inception, you know how the service works. But what about working at Airbnb? What kind of jobs does Airbnb have, and what’s the company culture like? In this guide, we cover that and more:

What Is Airbnb?

Airbnb is the world’s largest short-term rental company, but it started with a decidedly small idea. In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia hosted three paying guests on air mattresses in their San Francisco home to try to make some extra money for rent. By 2008, they decided to make a business of it and joined with an old roommate, Nathan Blecharczyk, to launch Airbed & Breakfast.

In 2009, they changed the company’s name to Airbnb and began listing apartments, houses, and vacation rentals for rent, in addition to rooms. Today, the company also offers Airbnb Experiences, Airbnb Adventures, and Airbnb for Work. From two bookings in March 2008 to 100 million nights and experiences booked just from July through September 2022, Airbnb has taken the travel world by storm. 

Still headquartered in San Francisco, Airbnb currently has six million active worldwide Airbnb listings in over 220 countries and regions (and 100k cities and towns), four million hosts, and over a billion guest arrivals since 2007. Airbnb earned $2.9 billion in revenue in Q3 2022 alone.

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Airbnb Careers and Salaries

Airbnb’s mission is to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere,” which also applies to employees, most of whom are allowed to live and work from anywhere in the U.S. The company hires for various roles, but the majority of available job openings in the United States are on the engineering team.

Engineering and Data Science Jobs at Airbnb

The engineering and data science teams at Airbnb are the nuts and bolts of its online booking system. From mobile engineering to open-source projects and much more, these jobs are at the heart of using engineering technologies to bring people together all over the world. 

According to Glassdoor, these are the average annual salaries for engineering jobs at Airbnb:

  • Software engineer: $201,800
  • Senior software engineer: $223,800
  • Engineering manager: $379,800
  • IOS engineer: $205,800
  • Software developer: $187,400
  • QA analyst: $134,600
  • Data engineer: $184,700

>>MORE: Learn what it takes to be a software engineer with one of Forage’s software engineering virtual experience programs. 

Data scientists at the company also generally make six-figure incomes:

  • Data scientist: $199,500
  • Senior data scientist: $275,200
  • Data analyst: $119,600
  • Senior data analyst: $168,800

All U.S. job postings at Airbnb include starting base pay ranges, so you can use those figures to help you figure out your salary expectations. Roles may also include equity, bonuses, travel credits, and benefits.

>>MORE: How to Negotiate Salary for Beginners (With Examples)

Product, Design, and Finance Jobs at Airbnb

Other popular job categories at Airbnb include jobs on the product, design, and finance teams. Average reported salaries for these positions include the following:

  • Product manager: $234,100
  • Product lead: $229,300
  • Designer: $141,300
  • Graphic designer: $75,700
  • Financial analyst: $138,100
  • Finance manager: $256,100

>>MORE: Explore Forage’s finance virtual experience programs.

Student and New Grad Opportunities at Airbnb

Airbnb is on the hunt for students and new graduates who can help the company create a world of belonging. It offers internship programs for undergraduate and graduate students looking to make a difference in an exciting role.

Airterns

The intern program at Airbnb is a 12-week, paid internship where “Airterns” join a team, work on capstone projects, collaborate with team members, and communicate with stakeholders. The company offers both undergraduate and graduate internship opportunities in several job categories. 

Although it varies based on the position, general requirements are that prospective interns be undergraduate students who will complete at least one additional semester of school after the internship or graduate students in their first year of school. Knowledge specific to the role may also be required.

Posted pay for an MBA internship at Airbnb is $46.15/hour, while a software internship may pay between $3,950 and $4,500 biweekly. Internships run from late May through early August, and most internships are remote, with potential work at an Airbnb office or offsite location.

>>MORE: How to Get an Internship Without Work Experience

New Graduates

Airbnb looks for new graduates who are passionate about travel and have the technical skills to help the company overcome product challenges. Recent graduates with significant technical know-how will often work to build features, tools, and infrastructure from scratch.

Airbnb Benefits and Perks

One of the biggest perks of working at Airbnb is the ability to live and work anywhere. In April 2022, CEO Chesky outlined the company’s new, industry-leading remote work policies:

  1. Employees can work from their home or an office — whichever they prefer.
  2. Employees can move anywhere in the country without compensation changes. So, if you move from a place like San Francisco to Davenport, you won’t see a cost of living decrease on your paycheck (and vice versa).
  3. Employees can travel and work all over the world, choosing from 170 countries and living up to 90 days in each location.
  4. Employees will meet regularly for social events, offsites, and team gatherings.
  5. Employees will continue to coordinate around product releases, with U.S. team members primarily working Pacific Standard Time hours.

Of course, employees at Airbnb also have access to standard benefits that include:

  • Comprehensive health plans
  • Parental and family leave
  • Paid volunteer time
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Travel and experiences credit
  • Healthy food and snacks in the offices

On Glassdoor, current and former employees give Airbnb’s benefits 4.6 out of 5 stars, with high ratings for mental health care, the stock purchase plan, family medical leave, flexible hours, and the diversity program. Comparably reviews rate the benefits 79 out of 100 (A-), and 76% of employees are satisfied with their benefits. Fifty percent of employees describe their office perks as “fantastic.”

Airbnb Culture

The culture at Airbnb is focused on its four core values:

  • Champion the mission: creating a world where “anyone can belong anywhere”
  • Be a host: being caring, open, and encouraging with everyone
  • Embrace the adventure: embracing optimism, curiosity, and a growth mindset
  • Be a “cereal” entrepreneur: using creativity to turn ambitions into reality

According to reviews on Comparably, employees rate the overall culture at Airbnb 74 out of 100 (B+), with the highest ratings for the CEO, perks and benefits, outlook, work culture, and environment scores. The lowest ratings are for gender, office culture, and professional development scores. Employees also report the following:

  • The work pace is “extremely fast”
  • 83% look forward to interacting with their team on a daily basis
  • 67% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 83% say their work environment is positive

MIT’s Culture 500 found that Airbnb’s most positively discussed cultural values among employees are innovation and collaboration, while its most negatively discussed value is agility.

Values and Initiatives

Overall, Airbnb aims to create an inclusive culture, part of which includes a focus on diversity and belonging. By the end of 2025, the company hopes to have 33% of employees in the U.S. identifying as underrepresented minorities and have women comprise at least 50% of global employees.

On the sustainability front, Airbnb plans to become a net zero company by 2030 by reducing emissions and investing in nature-based offsets.

In addition, Airbnb’s nonprofit arm, Airbnb.org, houses people in times of crisis — including during natural disasters, large-scale conflicts, and for refugees — by funding stays and waiving fees. Airbnb connected over 140,000 people with temporary housing in 2022 and more than 250,000 since 2012.

Airbnb vs. Vrbo

One of Airbnb’s biggest competitors is Vrbo, another short-term vacation rental platform. While Vrbo doesn’t have as many listings as Airbnb, it’s owned by Expedia Group, giving it access to millions of Expedia’s monthly visitors. When comparing working at Airbnb to working at Vrbo, Airbnb comes out on top in every category, according to Glassdoor’s 5-star scale:

OverallCulture & ValuesDiversity & InclusionWork-Life BalanceCompensation & BenefitsRecommend to a friendPositive Business Outlook
Airbnb4.24.34.24.24.382%64%
Vrbo3.63.83.94.03.764%56%

On Comparably, Airbnb falls behind Vrbo on overall culture, perks and benefits, and professional development ratings.

What’s the Application Process Like at Airbnb?

Airbnb reviews around 15,000 applications every month, so it’s essential to do what you can to stand out. 

First, the company recommends prospective applicants have a deep understanding of the Airbnb product. If you haven’t hosted or been an Airbnb guest before, create a profile and explore the company and site to get a good sense of what it’s all about.

Once you apply, the recruiting team will respond to you within 3-4 weeks and let you know if they’d like to set up an interview or if your application isn’t a fit for what they’re looking for at that time.

>>MORE: Develop your career readiness skills and get ready to apply with Forage’s personal development virtual experience programs.

Interviewing at Airbnb

If you’re invited to join the interview process, you may have to take a test, create a video, or join team members for an onsite visit or event. Throughout the process, you’ll meet with several individuals from the team you’re interviewing with and be given ample opportunity to ask the hiring manager questions.

Airbnb interviewees on Glassdoor rate the interview difficulty 3.1 out of 5, and 47% report a positive interview experience (32% had a negative experience). Overall, interviews for data scientist and software engineer intern positions were rated as the most difficult, while customer experience specialist and software engineer job interviews were the easiest. 

The hiring process takes around 27 days, with 34% of interviewees saying they participated in phone interviews, 21% in one-on-one interviews, 10% in group panel interviews, and nearly 12% had to give a presentation. The vast majority of applicants who landed interviews (62%) applied online, compared to 17% who came in through employee referrals and 14% from recruiters.

>>MORE: Get ready for your technical interview with the Girls Who Code Technical Interview Prep Virtual Experience Program.

Takeaways

  • Airbnb is the world’s largest short-term rental marketplace.
  • The engineering team has the most job openings for U.S.-based applicants.
  • Employees at Airbnb can live anywhere in the country they work from.
  • Airbnb.org, the nonprofit organization associated with Airbnb, has helped 250,000 people in crisis find temporary housing.
  • The interview process at Airbnb takes nearly a month, with a combination of phone and in-person interviews.

Ready to crush your interview with Airbnb? Learn how to answer interview questions for every career!

Image credit: askarimullin / Depositphotos.com