Indigo Tech Recruiters CEO Kateryna Osadchuk and her team present their annual overview of COO salaries in the Ukrainian IT sector. For even more data, check out the survey on C-suite salaries we published in mid-December 2022.
Now we are zooming in on specific positions featured in our study.
We extend our thanks to Fint8, as represented by Anton Shulyk and Andrii Tertyshnyk, for their help in processing all the data.
Chief Operations Officer (COO) is a pivotally important position for IT companies, but its function is often misinterpreted. While the CEO defines the strategy for the company, the COO is tasked with implementing it, setting up processes, and supervising them. Without a COO, the CEO may have difficulty managing all the aspects of their business and even run into problems while scaling up. The COO is the primary person for a CEO to lean on when it comes to dealing with the complexities of company management.
A COO plays a role similar to a diagnostician in that sometimes they have to rapidly react to things and other times proactively prevent them. Although they might help reanimate a neglected business, often it’s best to keep track of your resources and ensure compliance, meanwhile optimizing the processes to minimize expenses. The vague understanding of a COO’s role may lead to a broader salary bracket for this position.
Finding a solid COO can be challenging for multiple reasons. This role is often complex and varied, hence the unique combination of skills and experience it requires. An ideal candidate is required to have an in-depth understanding of the industry and the company’s activity, as well as powerful leadership, communication, and strategic skills.
Also, this position involves juggling multiple priorities at once, which makes high tolerance to stress a must. All of that might make it problematic to find candidates ready and qualified enough to accept the challenges inherent to this role.
Therefore, competition for this kind of C-level executives can be tough, especially in fast-growing industries and sectors. It might make attracting and retaining the best candidates for this role increasingly tricky for employers.
Considering all those factors, searching for a COO requires a thorough and well-thought-out approach to screening and selecting candidates. The companies must be prepared to invest time and resources into finding and evaluating potential candidates, as well as to offer competitive compensation packages and growth opportunities to attract the best talent.
Now, let’s see what COO salaries look like in Ukraine.
We have received 28 questionnaires from COOs and VPs of Operations working in IT companies founded mainly in Ukraine.
The diversity of responsibilities and variety of company levels results in a reasonably wide salary bracket.
Interestingly, the companies established less than 5 years ago had the highest COO salaries. The reason could be that the position is crucially important for a company at its rapid growth stage when all processes and systems must be tuned to sustain steady growth.
There is a correlation between COO salaries and the company’s revenue, with the former growing as long as the latter stays below $50 million. However, once the company revenue exceeds $50 million, COO salaries are only slightly higher than those at companies making from $3 million to $10 million.
Most COOs we surveyed were aged 30–39 years. The salaries of those aged 30–34 and 35–39 differed substantially, by an average of 42%. Among the highest-paid COOs (90th percentile), the difference was as large as 60%.
It’s not the first time that our survey has shown top executives in their forties can have lower salaries than younger ones. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind that.
Our general C-suite survey found that male executives had a 42% higher median salary than females.
The largest difference was observed among the top 10% of the highest-paid executives, which reached $5,880.
Compared to other C-level positions, COOs had a negligible salary difference between males and females at 11%. The males accounted for over 80% of the COOs surveyed, though.
The type of company COOs were working for had little effect on their salaries. The same could be said about all executives in all percentile groups.
The median level fluctuated between $6,100 and $7,000, the discrepancy being close to 13%.
Our analysis of COO salary variation relative to the size of the team has brought us to the following conclusions:
- For companies with less than 200 employees, the median compensation gradually grew from $5,400 to $6,000.
- The analysis of the top 10% showed companies with over 200 employees had the highest compensation.
- The lowest compensation ($7,800) for the top 10% of highest-paid executives was seen in companies with 81–200 employees.
- However, the median and average figures showed that the more employees the company had, the higher compensation COOs could expect.
Besides the salary levels, we wanted to explore the motivating/demotivating factors and some work conditions.
For the first time ever, compensation was not among the top three factors but in the fourth position at 46%. The first place was shared by the culture of trust within the company and professional growth, with 57% of responses each. The value of the company’s products and services for its customers and its mission and objective were also important at 54% and 50%, respectively.
The respondents were demotivated primarily by incompetent and ineffective management and lacking work-life balance (36%). The second place (32%) was shared by restrictions in decision-making and a lack of professional development.
The compensation of 42.9% of COOs comprised a fixed part and a bonus, while 35.7% only had a fixed salary.
Most COO get bonuses for hitting company revenue KPIs (43%).
The salaries of 89.3% of respondents were pegged to the US dollar’s exchange rate.
In our next overview, we will look into HRD salaries.
Hopefully, this information helps you make the right business decisions.
Author: Kateryna Osadchuk, CEO, Indigo Tech Recruiters