Electric vehicle giant Tesla Inc. (TSLA  ) is reportedly now the largest private employer in Austin, Texas. But a key question remains: how much does Tesla pay its Giga Texas employees?

Tesla's Austin Growth Spurt: Tesla's workforce in the Greater Austin Area ballooned to 22,777 last year, according to the company's annual compliance report to Travis County's economic development program. This represents a significant increase of nearly 86%, propelling Tesla past grocery chain H-E-B to become Austin's top private employer, as reported by Bloomberg.

Compensation Breakdown: The report details Tesla's compensation structure in Austin. Full-time employees receive an average annual compensation of at least $47,147, translating to an hourly rate of $35.75. However, the starting wage for new hires is lower, averaging $30.14 per hour.

Contract Labor: Tesla also utilizes contract labor for food and janitorial services at its Texas factory. The company mandates that contractors and subcontractors pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour.

Wages at the Detroit Three: For comparison, full-time employees at Detroit's "Big Three" automakers - Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis - earned an average of $18 to $32 per hour before the United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike in the second half of 2023.

Following the strike, the UAW ratified new contracts with these companies, securing raises of at least 33% that include cost-of-living adjustments and compounded wage increases over the contract's duration. Under the new agreement, the top wage at these companies is projected to exceed $42 per hour by April 2028.

Tesla's Texas Transformation: Construction on Tesla's Texas factory began in 2020. Since then, the facility has become the U.S. manufacturing hub for Tesla's best-selling Model Y SUV and the latest addition, the Cybertruck. It also produces 4680 battery cells, and Tesla cathode, and supports other related projects.

When Tesla initially acquired the site, it was a derelict mining area with deep pits, swamps, and abandoned buildings, as detailed by Tesla executive Rohan Patel in a recent post. However, the company chose the location due to its proximity to downtown Austin and the Colorado River.

Tesla's Gigafactory now sprawls across 2,500 acres along the Colorado River, boasting over 11 million square feet of factory space. In 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk relocated the company's headquarters from California to Texas, citing disagreements with California's regulations, including pandemic-related work restrictions.

Earlier this year, Musk announced plans for a shareholder vote to change Tesla's state of incorporation from Delaware to Texas. This decision follows the Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick's ruling striking down Musk's $56 billion pay package from 2018, deeming it an "unfathomable sum."