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Top C-suite Executive Compensation Trends in Tech for 2024

The Betts Team
May 28, 2024

Compensation rates for C-suite executives in tech have followed the general trends of other titles in 2024, with salary averages not seeing much growth from 2023. However, a divide is emerging in talent acquisition targets between candidates that can bring a wealth of experience, developed skill sets and a proven track record of success to the table versus those with less time in the industry and less specific expertise.

Betts Recruiting has released the latest version of our Executive Compensation Guide with data updated for the current year, and insights into the top developments affecting hiring and earnings for leadership roles in the technology industry. In this blog, we will dive into the biggest trends impacting compensation for C-level officers in tech startups for 2024.

C-Suite Executive Compensation Rates for 2024

We looked at data for average salary and bonus rates across the C-suite at every funding round over the past year, finding that earnings remained stagnant YoY (year-over-year) for most executive jobs except a handful that mostly saw slight dips towards the lower end of their average range and at least one seeing a small increase at the higher end. 

However, experience as well as the company size when hiring played the most pivotal roles in deciding final compensation rates. Those with a proven track record could earn up to 20% more than the average base salary for their position, while those recruited by startups at Series C or D rounds could often earn almost twice as much as the same title at Seed or Series A

  1. Chief Executive Officer

The total salary range for Chief Executive Officers in 2024 ranged from $250,000 – $425,000 across all funding rounds, with the median rate ranging from $275,000 to $375,00 from Seed to Series D. Bonuses could range from 25% to 100% of base earnings, while the average level for most stayed at 50%. Overall compensation for CEOs in tech remained steady with their 2023 rates.

  1. Chief Operations Officer

Salary ranges for Chief Operations Officers in the technology startup market went from $325,000 – $425,000 from Series B to Series D, with the median usually falling around $350,000, although it rose up to $400,000 for those at later rounds. Bonuses ranged from 20% to 50% depending on performance level, with the median at 40%. Compensation for COOs in tech was stagnant between 2023 and 2024.

  1. Chief Financial Officer

Average salary for Chief Financial Officers typically ranged from $250,000 – $425,000 from Series A to Series D, with a wide median range from $275,000 to $330,000. Bonuses went from 25% to 40%, with the median shifting from 30% to 35% between Series B and Series C. CFOs saw the same compensation rates from 2023 to 2024.

  1. Chief Commercial Officer

Salary rates for Chief Commercial Officers ranged from $250,000 – $400,000, with the median falling between $275,000 to $325,000 from Seed to Series D. Bonuses ranged from 20% to 50% depending upon performance rate, with the median going from 35% to 40% between Series A and Series B. Median compensation for CCOs dipped at the lower range from 2023 to 2024.

  1. Chief People Officer

Average salaries for Chief People Officers ranged from $225,000 – $350,000 across Series A to D, with the median rate falling close between these at $250,000 to $330,000. Bonuses could go from 10% to 30%, with a median of 15%. Average compensation for CPeOs noticeably dipped from 2023 to the next year, although this is partially due to seeing more early stage tech startups hiring for this role in 2024.

  1. Chief Marketing Officer

Chief Marketing Officers saw a salary range of $250,000 – $400,000 in 2024, with the median falling between $275,000 to $350,000 from Series A to Series D. Bonuses ranged from 15% to 40%, with the median rate typically 30% from Series B to D while those at Series A usually saw an average of 25%. CMO is perhaps the only C-level title in tech that will see a slight upwards bump in compensation from 2023 to the new year.

  1. Chief Product Officer

Salaries for Chief Product Officers in tech startups ranged from $275,000 – $350,000 from Series A to Series D, with the median rate sitting at $300,000. Bonuses between these rounds went from 10% to 30%, with the median going from 15% to 20% between Series B and C companies. Total compensation rates for CPOs remained fairly stable from 2023 to 2024.

  1. Chief Revenue Officer

The total salary range for Chief Revenue Officers went from $225,000 – $400,000 in 2024, with a median ranging from $250,000 to $300,000 from Series A to Series C and up. Bonuses held steady at 100% of base salary across all funding rounds. Overall compensation for CROs in tech stayed did not see much movement from 2023 to the next year.

The Shifting Executive Compensation Landscape in Tech

Earnings for C-level executives in the technology sector – and their slow rate of growth from 2022 on – are reflecting the impact of many of the major trends driving the industry in 2024. Lingering economic uncertainty is having an obvious cascade effect on buying behavior for SaaS and consequently causing many startups to be judicious about spending, including on hiring for executives positions.

However, buried underneath the more pessimistic side of the news is a pattern indicating that most tech companies are applying lessons learned in the pandemic and post-pandemic worlds. Many firms are adapting to new realities and finding additional ways to scale their teams and outreach without breaking budgets, as well as addressing any lingering internal disparities.

Here are some of the biggest trends impacting compensation rates for C-level execs:

Fractional Executives – Agile Leadership On-demand

Fractional executives are interim team leaders brought on for a temp hiring basis, usually to complete specific projects or initiatives and contribute their extensive level of experience from prior roles. A fractional exec essentially provides tech startups with Expertise as a Service (EaaS), which allows them to fill in leadership gaps at scale. We found a few common fractional C-suite targets in our research along with their average compensation ranges:

TitleHourly Rate Retainer (3-month)
Fractional CEO$250 – $500/hr$20,000 – $50,000
Fractional CFO$250 – $400/hr$15,000 – $30,000
Fractional COO$250 – $400/hr$15,000 – $30,000

Changing Career Trajectories for Tech Leaders

A trend that greatly reflects the state of the technology sector in 2024 is a reevaluation – and restructuring – of executive career paths, particularly for C-level officers. The average timeline for tech leaders reaching the C-suite has progressively shortened over the years, yet as part of the greater prioritization of experience we are seeing in new talent acquisition strategies for the industry, most orgs are showing a preference for managers and department heads that have more years on their CV and a proven track record of success before they can be considered for a chief-level officer role. 

Balancing Technical and Soft Skills for C-Level Execs

Another emerging trend that is reflective of the greater pivots in the technology sector is the general reassessment of which skill sets are more optimal at the executive level. Increasingly, we are seeing that C-suite leaders need to walk a fine line between focusing on results and applying emotional intelligence when leading teams, balancing both equally to drive success in overall go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Beyond empathy and other soft skills, there is also a growing need for tech execs to grow their technical knowledge, especially with AI toolsets flooding the market right now that present incredible opportunities to automate tedious GTM tasks at scale.

Improve Your C-suite Executive Hiring with Betts Recruiting

Despite overall average salary rates remaining stagnant for most C-level executives, proven leaders with the wealth of experience most tech startups are looking for will command much, much higher compensation than the majority of the talent pool. Connect with the Betts team today and let us help you refine your executive search to ensure you find your right fit candidates without having to blow up your hiring budget.
Contact Betts here to see how we can help you optimize your executive recruiting search and find the rate target compensation rates to source the unicorn talent you need.