The startup scene in Singapore continues to grow, as more ventures are trying to make it big in today’s highly competitive market.
One obstacle tech startups in Singapore face revolves around how much to compensate their employees. On the one hand, they want to attract top talent from top schools. On the other hand, tech startups need to be careful about their money, especially till the products or services become profitable.
However, at the moment, information on startup salaries in Singapore is scarce.
To get some guidance about the pay levels, Monk’s Hill Ventures sent a four-question survey to several tech startups in Singapore. Of the surveys sent, 13 tech startup founders responded. The questions were:
- What is the monthly base income for your management team?
- What is the amount of any annual bonuses?
- How much equity (stock) in the company do these people receive?
- What is the total amount of venture capital your firm has received to date?
The survey focused on Vice President-level positions and higher.
The survey also dealt with companies that had most of their staff in Singapore as opposed to nearby countries.
It went out to companies in various stages of funding. Some companies were brand new, while others had a few years of progress under their belts.
The average salary of a C-Suite executive among the 13 respondents was $9,000 per month. Among VPs, this amount dipped to between $6,000 and $7,000 every month as a base salary. This figure doesn’t include other forms of compensation.
The highest-paid employee among this group was the VP of engineering. This person’s median salary was $9,000 per month. There are several reasons for this.
The VP of engineering is, often, the most difficult role to fill in a tech startup. This person needs to know things like computer coding, mechanical aspects of assembling any products, and how to run a team of engineers vital to making products or services work properly.
Therefore, tech startups need to find the best talent in this position the soonest, to make money faster.
Founders and executives often pay themselves less because they have greater equity in the firm. Higher-level executives make more on profits than lower-level employees, so they usually take smaller salaries at the beginning.
The survey notes that there is a venture capital funding threshold of US$10 million as to when companies start to pay their employees more money.
Tech startups that receive more than $10 million tend to have a few years of experience behind them, and they can afford to pay people a bit more to retain them.
The Chief Technical Officer (CTO) usually makes the most of C-Suite executives, once higher levels of venture capital come into play.
Bonuses and Equity
C-Suite execs usually get the highest equity in company stock simply because they are the founders and they invested the most to start the business.
Performance bonuses normally don’t happen in tech startups, with the exception of the VP of Sales. Sales are vitally important to any startup, and performance-based pay is expected from sales executives.
Although not all-inclusive, this survey gives founders and potential employees an idea as to what to expect for compensation in tech startups in Singapore.
This is important because the market for startups is very competitive, and firms need to know how to optimize their hiring practices. Candidates need to know what to expect in terms of fair pay as well.