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How much Australian startup founders earn and pay employees

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29 Oct

How much Australian startup founders earn and pay employees

launch-admin Oct 29, 2018 0 1718

How much Australian startup founders earn and pay employees

Data from more than 2500 individuals compiled for groundbreaking study

·      Big differences in roles hired by B2B vs B2C

·      Early stage startups may overlook key personnel

·      Capital raised impacts ability to hire



Who earns the most? Who earns the least? Who has the most equity? How can Australian tech startups compete with Silicon Valley for employees?


SYDNEY, OCTOBER 2, 2018 – Startup roles and salaries vary widely, depending on the stage the business is at, according to new research into Australian tech startups. The amount of capital raised has a major impact on the kinds of roles hired, as well as the packages offered.


The Australian Startup Salary Guide 2018 is the first comprehensive tech startup salary guide in Australia, conducted by executive search firm Think & Grow, in partnership with StartupAUS.


In July 2018, remuneration packages of more than 2500 individuals were analysed to compile the guide. The data was provided by more than 350 respondents in an online survey and from 47 venture capital-backed companies that shared company-wide compensation data for their business.


The VCs include Airtree Ventures, Blackbird Ventures, Blacksheep Capital, Carthona Capital, Full Circle, Reinventure, Rampersand and Square Peg Capital. All participants provided data which included base salary, benefits and incentives such as equity as well as the size of their company, funding and job title. Startups at three different levels of capital raising were researched: $0-$5 million; $5-$10 million and $10-$50 million.


Understanding how candidates think about their package is an important first step for startups in building strong and lasting relationships with new employees and ensuring they secure the top talent, according to the report.


“We can clearly see how companies undergo restructuring and expansion in terms of management roles as they raise higher amounts of capital. In a sector where many of the jobs are less than a decade old, a continued understanding and breakdown of salary benchmarks is key to the sector’s success,” Anthony Sochan, Think & Grow partner, said.




Only base salary; excludes equity, company valuation

·       Founder/co-founder: lowest paid was $35,000; highest was $290,000

·       CEO: lowest paid was $40,000; highest was $320,000

·       Engineering chiefs earn between $60,000 and $300,000

·       Data scientists are paid around $110,000

·       Chief People Officer role starts at $120,000

·       Heads of Design earn up to $260,000

·       Chief Product Officers make between $60,000 and $275,000

·       Marketing chiefs are paid up to $260,000



B2B vs B2C


·       There are significant differences between B2B and B2C firms in terms of the kinds of roles being hired for

·       B2B firms are much more likely to be hiring senior engineers than B2C startups

·       Very few B2C firms hire product managers in the early stages, but this changes as they grow and mature


HR/People & Culture


·       There are currently very few people in HR roles in early stage startups in Australia

·       There is an increase in HR professionals as capital revenue raised increases, likely resulting in more employees and/or more aggressive hiring


Australia is not yet a primary tech market, compared with the US and some other countries. As a result, Australian tech startups face significant challenges when competing for international talent, and will have to think more creatively about ways to attract talent.



“This report does away with the stereotype that working for a startup is a risky adventure fuelled by hope and instant noodles. Actually, start-ups – particularly funded startups – can provide secure, competitive salaries along with the prospect of owning equity in a high-potential business,” StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley said.


“Whilst Australian startups may not yet be able to emulate the salary packages on offer in more mature ecosystem such as Silicon Valley, there are other ways they can compete. We have a fresh and energetic community where talent can really stand out and have powerful impact.  We are also a fantastic gateway to Asia and have many non-monetary advantages such as great lifestyle, family friendly cities and considerably more generous vacation time than the US.


“In the medium term, Australia can import talent from overseas, however longer term we need to grow talent locally, partnering with universities to do this. As a nation we need to take a longer term view as to how we are creating and mentoring the next generation of tech talent to create a high performing ecosystem,” Mr McCauley said.



Download the full report at https://thinkandgrowinc.com/resourcelibrary/.










About Think and Grow

Think & Grow launched in 2015 with a charter to help technology driven businesses to accelerate growth. Think & Grow help build clients’ organisational structures, build their executive teams, recruit rare skillsets, nurture specific talent pools and architect talent strategies. Its clients range from up and coming startups to established names like Canva and Airtasker.



About StartupAUS

StartupAUS is Australia’s national startup advocacy group, working to support the tech community and accelerate the growth of Australian startups. StartupAUS believes a strong, home-grown tech is vital to future Australian jobs and wealth. But getting there will require a national imperative to create the right environment, with a supportive culture and more entrepreneurs with the right skills.


Media contacts:

Kicker Communications for Think & Grow

Fran Foo | Susi Banks

0416 302 719 | 0412 378 489

fran@kickercomms.com | susi@kickercomms.com


Launch Group for StartupAUS

Fleur Brown | Sophie Hanson

02 9492 1000 | 0419 270 863

fleur@launchgroup.com | sophie@launchgroup.com.au