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Top Director Compensation Trends in Tech for 2024

The Betts Team
June 5, 2024

2024 compensation trends for Director jobs in tech are following similar patterns of those for other executive titles, including C-suite officers and VP positions. However, underneath the top layer of data is another story forming that gives a glimpse into the direction of the technology sector for 2025. 

Betts has released the latest edition of our Executive Compensation Guide with updated salary and bonus tables as well as the top trends driving earnings for execs in the startup space. In this blog, we will dive deeper into the rates seen for Director-level titles and the top developments impacting these roles specifically.

Director Compensation Rates in Tech for 2024

Average compensation for Directors in the tech sector followed the general pattern we found for executive titles in 2024 – rates remained mostly stagnant and did not change much from 2023. However, several trends are throwing these averages off and you should be prepared to adjust your target rate for a candidate that qualifies as a unicorn seller for your sales motion and culture. This is a candidate that is the right fit for the right time, already having the knowledge, skill sets and especially the experience you need to scale up your operations – we will dive further into this specific trend later in this article.

In this section, we list salary and bonus data for the top four Director-level titles we found in our research – Marketing, HR, Product and Sales:

Director of Marketing

Base salaries for Directors of Marketing ranged from $175,000 – $260,000 in total, with a median range from $200,000 to $240,000 from Seed to Series C and D. Bonuses varied between 10% and 25% at different stages – many did not qualify for a bonus until Series C. The overall median bonus rate went from 10% to 20% from Series A to Series D. Overall compensation metrics for Marketing Directors in tech remained completely steady from 2023 to 2024, with the same rates across all rounds. 

Director of HR

Directors of HR in tech saw a salary range from $180,000 – $300,000, with a median range between Series A and D of $200,000 to $250,000. Bonuses ranged widely from 5% to 30% across all funding rounds, with a median range of 5% to 20%. Salaries remained mostly stable for HR Directors from 2023 to 2024, although the average bonus rate shifted slightly at earlier funding rounds. It is also important to note that unlike the other Director-level titles on this list, there were few Human Resource leaders hired at Seed stage companies and most were recruited at Series A or higher.

Director of Product

Base salary rates for Directors of Product ranged from $200,000 – $350,000 overall, with a median range of $225,000 to $300,000 from Seed to Series D. The total range for bonuses went from 10% to 25%, however, we found that many did not qualify for one until Series D; the total median ranged from 10% to 15% across all funding rounds. The total compensation range for Product Directors in tech did not move much from 2023 to 2024; however, the median range did drop for hires at earlier stage startups, with most of those recruited for Seed and Series A companies seeing the same or similar rates.

Director of Sales 

Directors of Sales saw an average salary range from $175,000 – $250,000 from Seed to Series D, with a median salary range of approximately $185,000 to $225,00. Bonuses consistently held at 100% of base salary across all funding rounds. Compensation for Sales Directors remains driven by performance-based incentives, even while base salaries dropped around $10,000 to $15,000 from 2023 to 2024. It is important to note that this was the only major GTM, Director-level executive title that we found seeing a salary decline as opposed to the earnings stagnation seen with other positions.

2024 Trends Shaping Compensation for Directors in Tech

Although Director compensation trends are following many of the same general patterns of those for most tech executive jobs in 2024, there are several additional takeaways we found when looking more closely at the data. While nearly every GTM position in the technology sector has been impacted by the same external factors, the lasting effects can still differ from title to title. Compared to more senior exec roles, Director-level hires are often present in every funding round for tech startups, and for those earlier stages – where they are typically the lowest paid executive-level candidates – the expectation is that they will be able to grow into a VP or C-suite position if they stay with the company. 

However, lingering economic uncertainty along with other challenges and market changes are pushing most orgs to find new ways to adapt. This includes a general shift in talent acquisition priorities to help address tougher sales cycles, namely the focus on hiring unicorn sellers we mentioned earlier in this article. This extends to leadership positions as well, and what we found is that every organization is zeroing in on executive candidates that have a proven track record of success and can bring that knowledge and expertise to help them build out new sales and marketing strategies. 

Here is how each of these trends are impacting Director compensation rates in tech for 2024:

Economic Impact on Tech Sector

To fully appreciate how the current states of the U.S. and global economies are influencing the technology sector, we have to go back to those seemingly far-off days of the pre-pandemic years. When the spread of COVID-19 forced offices to close everywhere and many organizations implemented remote work policies for the first time ever, it created a windfall for SaaS which in turn accelerated growth rates in the sector that were already on an upward trajectory. While the situation has not completely reversed, buyers are much more wary about what software they invest in, as are venture capital (VC) firms. With tighter funding and more effort needed to close sales, most tech companies have adopted a “do more with less” approach to maintain financial stability, which trickles into most of the other trends here. 

Value of Experience in Compensation Negotiation

Keeping with the general demand for unicorn sellers, the top characteristic every hiring manager is looking at these days is experience – specifically with the exact sales motion of the company. For executive candidates, as we mentioned earlier, this also means having run successful GTM strategies before and being ready to contribute that expertise to a new team. An experienced Director candidate may be able to negotiate for up to 20% above average compensation for their role, while those without the required experience may see up to 10% below the average rate.

Fractional Executives as Department Leaders 

A growing trend among many SaaS companies is the hiring of fractional executives as temp leaders for teams that have projects to complete but are still being scaled up. This provides short-term leadership and expertise on-demand, and we most often see fractional execs being hired to fill in for C-level or Director positions as departmental heads. 

Here are the average compensation rates we saw for Director-level equivalent fractional leaders:

TitleHourly Rate Retainer (3-month)
Fractional Head of Marketing$200 – $400/hr$10,000 – $20,000
Fractional Head of Sales$200 – $400/hr$10,000 – $20,000
Fractional Head of People$200 – $400/hr$6,500 – $20,000

Career Path for Directors at Tech Startups

The current landscape for tech companies has prompted many reevaluations of previous trends, one being the faster rate at which junior executives were being promoted to more senior levels during the pandemic. As teams were rapidly expanded, many orgs sought to fill in leadership gaps more quickly; now that hiring has slowed significantly, we are seeing most orgs require many more years of experience before someone with a background as a Director or mid-level manager can rise to the C-suite. However, some companies are willing to compromise on years of experience versus actually having the right blend of skills they need, both technical and personal.

Learn More About Executive Compensation Trends in Tech 

Compensation and hiring trends are developing dynamically throughout tech, and even with the lukewarm growth of average salaries for executives, there remains a lot of change happening behind the scenes that will leave you playing catch up if you don’t keep up. Betts Recruiting will arm you with the latest data and equip your hiring managers with the resources and knowledge they need to find your unicorn candidates faster.

Contact Betts here to learn more about the latest trends impacting compensation for Directors and other key roles in tech.