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State of Startup Compensation: Salary by Job Function

  • 1.  State of Startup Compensation: Salary by Job Function

    Posted 03-09-2023 08:57

    Today, as we continue to explore the State of Startup Compensation, we're going to look at what roles startups spend most of their payroll on and explore pay bands by job function. What data jumps out to you? Can you relate with these numbers? 

    Payroll spent by job function

    As expected, the largest job function across Carta Total Comp startups is engineering. Just under a quarter of employees are classified as engineers. Engineering  accounts for an even more impressive share of headcount in smaller companies.

    Nearly 60% of headcount-and over 60% of payroll-is spent on the top five functions (engineering, sales, operations, marketing, and customer success). For other job functions categorized above, startups are unlikely to have many employees until their growth requires it. The first HR hire, for example, is on average the 22nd employee.

    Median salary by job function:

    Engineers commanded the highest median salary across all startup functions as of November 2022, at $191,000. Nine functions received median salaries over $150,000, while 15 of 17 had six-figure medians.

    The black bars above show how wide the gap is between the 25th and 75th percentiles of median salaries for each function. The wide variation is largely a function of company maturity; the dataset includes startups with post-money valuations ranging from $1 million to $5 billion.


    Brent Devey
    Community Manager