Indigo Tech Recruiters CEO Ekaterina Osadchuk and her team have completed the second annual overview of C-level executive salaries in the IT sector. Earlier, we published an overview of C-level position salaries.
And now we are taking a closer look at individual positions.
The VP of Engineering (VPE) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) positions are often seen as interchangeable in the tech world since their functions largely overlap. However, there are nuanced distinctions between these roles.
Smaller companies have only a CTO, who is often a founder. As the business grows, CTOs find themselves under pressure to oversee talent acquisition and retention, product scaling, and delivery. This is where the VP of Engineering comes in.
- Vision. The VP of Engineering is tasked with bringing the product concept to life with due regard to delivery quality. Meanwhile, the CTO's responsibility is to maintain the company's tech advantage over competitors while keeping track of global trends.
- Responsibility. The VPE is responsible for talent retention by selecting personnel and developing career progression programmes. The CTO is all about shaping the company's engineering culture and vision.
- Specialization. The VPE specializes in managing people, processes, and product quality, spending a lot of time interacting with the team to get the best results. The CTO is a technical management and leadership position. A CTO mainly researches new platforms/architectures and reviews the current technology stack to find areas for improvement.
- Delivery. While the VPE plans project implementation and scaling to ensure its timely launch, the CTO is more concerned with how things are done with regard to the quality of code/delivered product.
- Interaction. VP of Engineering is more of an internal role—they interact with the team to develop and implement the strategy. CTO is the company's ‘tech face’ involved in numerous client-facing activities and interacting with other functional managers and the board of directors.
For the company to succeed, the CTO and VP of Engineering need to operate in concert, supplementing each other's work.
CTO salaries in Ukrainian tech companies
Below are the results of the survey among 50 CTOs in Ukraine. There were no women among the CTOs that participated in the survey.
70% of respondents worked in product companies, 48% in businesses registered in Ukraine, and 48% in the companies employing 21 to 200 people.
Fig. 3. % of respondents by company type (outsourcing, outstaffing, and product companies)
CTOs' median salary is currently at $7,250 against $6,000 in 2020, the overall bracket being $4,000–$12,000. Only a few CTOs reported their salary at $13,000–$14,000. They all fell into the 10th percentile and were cut off as possible outliers and statistically the least probable cases.
We excluded the questions with fewer than 4 data points since they are not valid enough for decision-making.
E.g., if only four CTOs answered that they had just three years of experience in the management role, we would have excluded their responses as insufficiently representative, leaving only the data with five or more answers.
This kind of data is excluded from the tables and shown on the diagrams as a flat line. For instance, only four respondents had 1–2 years of experience as a top manager. This data was insufficient for an objective conclusion.
Apparently, CTOs with C-level experience earned much more than their colleagues less experienced in the top positions—$11,000.
The correlation between the number of years employed with the same company and CTO salary is non-existent.
Most CTOs that participated in the survey were 35 to 39 years old. The median level here is $8,000, while the younger and older colleagues report the levels by $1,400–$2,000 lower.
If you look at how old the company is, you can see rare cases of $20,000 salaries in the companies 1–3 years old and in more mature, 10–20-year-old businesses.
The companies 5–10 and 10–20 years old have the same median—$8,000.
When it comes to headcount, the highest salaries were seen in companies employing 81 to 200 and 201 to 800 people—$15,200 and $16,400, respectively. However, medians in the companies with 21–80 and over 81–200 employees were the same at $8,000.
Most respondents worked in product companies. However, those working in the outsourcing companies reported the highest earnings. That said, there was an insignificant discrepancy between median salaries. Outsourcing companies seem to offer a higher bonus component, though.
This can be due to the major product companies (with a headcount in the thousands) being nowhere near as numerous in Ukraine as the outsourcing ones.
The highest earnings were reported by MedTech CTOs—from $15,000–$20,000.
Only 7 CTOs were fully content with their salaries, earning $6,300–$14,400.
The five people dissatisfied with their work were paid $2,800–$6,300.
We also wanted to know the factors and work conditions determining work motivation and demotivation besides salary.
For the people working in these positions, the salary was the first most important thing (70%), followed by the freedom of making decisions and implementing them (64%), professional development (62%), and trust culture in the company (58%).
The demotivation factors were as follows: subjectively low salary (44%), incompetent management (40%), and equally (38%) insufficient freedom in making and implementing decisions, distrust culture, and lack of the work-life balance.
42% of respondents had no performance indicators tied to a bonus. Most KPIs were related to their department's goals (32%) and the company's earnings.
44% of CTOs earned no bonuses. Most (28%) were paid an annual bonus.
48% of CTOs reported having a flexible schedule, 46% had medical insurance, 34% got additional paid education, and 20% got options.
We hope this information was helpful for your business decision-making.
P/S We also thank Royallex, as represented by Vitaliy Luzhentsov, for helping us process the data.
Author: Ekaterina Osadchuk, CEO, Indigo Tech Recruiters