CEO Ekaterina Osadchuk and the Indigo Tech Recruiters team present the third annual overview of C-level executive salaries in the IT sector. We have already published an overview of salaries for all C-level positions. Now we are taking a closer look at specific positions from the research.
Before we begin, though, let's recap what makes a good CEO. In this MC.today story, you can discover what makes a bad one.
And here are the staples for a good CEO:
1. Unwavering preference for trust and transparency. The team accepts the rules of the game (objectives, tasks, roles, responsibility, financial incentives), and the owner gets a dashboard of their business and regular reports on the state of affairs and plans. One can easily approach a CEO like this with a problem, question, or suggestion without fear of being criticized.
2. Good analytic skills. A good CEO can break up a problem into components, keep priorities, and set tasks, deadlines, budgets, and people in charge.
3. Ownership. A good CEO knows unique aspects of the market, the company's competition, the clients' needs, upsides and downsides of the product/service, and how to sell it. Also, they own their mistakes and never hide behind excuses.
4. Clear goal setting and helicopter view. A good CEO shows what needs to be done but not how to do it. They know the team has more knowledge and experience and, therefore, strategizing is best done together so that the team can be trusted with carrying out the strategy without manual steering.
5. Reliance on figures and facts. A good CEO always has a business or financial model for the coming year with a clear understanding of the planned revenue, expenses, and profits based on the past statistics, market dynamics, and competition's experiences and pays due attention to the owner's needs and suggestions.
6. Client and sales focus. Clients need to be satisfied. Sales need to keep rising.
7. Clearly defining product and service mix. A good CEO focuses on the development and polishing quality instead of rushing around in search of short-term opportunities.
8. Keeping company cases and rules covered in presentations (involving the COO as needed). These also need to be kept up to date so that any new employee can find answers to their questions.
9. Always pushing for a good product/service. And seeing as early as at the development stage what value it can bring to clients and knowing when, how, and at which price it should be launched to fulfil the sales plan.
10. Structured line of thought in writing. A good CEO would support any critical events, e.g., the emergence of a powerful competitor or dismissal of a key employee, with figures, a plan, and deadlines instead of verbally complaining of problems or writing walls of text to justify why nothing could be done to avert it.
11. Ability to focus and make the right choice. Even if there is apparently no choice and everything is crumbling down. Even feeling the urge to escape, hide, or die.
If you have the privilege of working with a CEO that checks all these boxes, cherish them like the apple of your eye. And if you are such a CEO, kudos to you! You are an invaluable asset to your company.
Now, let's finally consider how the value of a good CEO translates into money.
We received 75 questionnaires filled by the founders working as CEOs for their companies, hired CEOs, Country Managers, and General Managers.
Salary ranges were largely similar, so we combined them to get a better fleshed out picture.
62% of the companies were registered in Ukraine, 14% in Europe, and 18% in the USA.
34% of respondents worked in companies employing 21–80 people and 23% in those with a headcount ranging from 81 to 200. Also, some worked in large companies with 201–800 employees—these accounted for 19% of respondents.
Most CEOs were from product companies (62%), and 28%—from the outsourcing ones.
Hopefully, the results of our survey will facilitate your decision-making when it comes to sending or accepting CEO job offers.
Deciding on the salary, the candidate's experience, company size, the number of subordinates, and the like should be considered in addition to the market-average salary. This is what we'll demonstrate next.
E.g., only 4 CEOs answered that they worked in medtech companies, so we excluded their responses as insufficiently representative, leaving only the data with 5 or more responses.
The largest chunk of data came from fintech/banking and e-commerce. This is where we have the best-weighted salary range.
The largest salaries were seen in the mysterious Other category and the median level in Consulting.
CEOs in GameDev indicated the largest salaries on average across the range. Still, this data should be taken with a grain of salt since we have only 5 questionnaires from this industry.
Product and outsourcing companies have the same median salaries at $7000. However, starting from the 75th percentile, CEOs of product companies begin to get ahead.
The data reveals that older age is a reason for optimism, at least when it comes to salary. CEOs aged 35+ had a median salary 60% higher than their 30- to 34-year-old counterparts.
Those aged 45+ had the highest salary on average. However, we have only 5 questionnaires from CEOs in this group.
The age of the company in which the CEO works matters, too. In the companies older than 10 years, median CEO salaries are higher, as well as overall levels, against younger companies. Specifically, the median level is at $8,250 and average—at $11,766.
CEOs of the companies working 1–3 years in the market earned a solid salary, too. It may be even higher than those working for the 3- to 5-year-old businesses have. Surprising as it may seem at first sight, it's nothing unusual. Younger companies often have no established payment system and often a) go with whatever level is asked since attracting the people into start-ups may prove to be problematic (stability issue); and b) rarely pay attention to the market levels—at the stage of rapid growth, speed is often valued more than cost-effectiveness. When it comes to company size, the correlation is similar (see Fig. 10).
The situation with CEO salaries was much different in large companies (201–800 employees). Here, the median level was at $11,600 and the average one at $13,502.
The table below shows a sharp increase in CEO salary in the companies with an annual revenue upwards of $10 million—we are talking about double and triple the level offered by less profitable companies.
The monthly salary here may reach $25,000 or even $34,000.
The good news is that almost all CEOs were content with their work this year. The data shows that CEOs with a median salary of $7,000 were ‘Absolutely satisfied’ and those with the $8,000 one ‘Rather satisfied than not’. The motivation and demotivation factors are discussed later in this article.
CEOs were demotivated primarily by lack of professional development and freedom of decision-making, poor work-life balance, and incompetent management. The salary was only the fifth-most important demotivation factor.
Tech CEOs reported their compensation package as follows.
Only 14% had medical insurance last year, and 16% had educational allowances. Now 37% of CEOs report having medical insurance and education allowances in their package.
At the time of the previous survey, 49% of CEOs worked in the office, 42% combined office and remote work, and only 4.65% went remote-only.
This year, only 10% of CEOs work in the office.
The analysis data is based on 75 questionnaires filled by CEOs, General Managers, Country Managers, and founders working as CEOs for their businesses.
Most respondents were males aged 31–39 working primarily for product companies (62%) founded in Ukraine with revenue ranging from below $1 million to $7 million (only 15 CEOs worked in the companies with revenue upwards of $10 million).
We hope this information was helpful and appreciate any feedback you might have.
Author: Ekaterina Osadchuk, CEO, Indigo Tech Recruiters