How much are UK startup COOs paid? Thames



Chief Operating Officers (COOs) need a lot of organizational skills and, in many cases, are second only to the CEO in a startup’s hierarchy. From administration to logistics through office management and human resources, it is a role that can vary enormously from one company to another and which requires an ability to turn plates like few people. other.

But how much does a startup second-in-command actually earn?

With the help of the COO Stories community platform – using data from a number of UK-based companies – we explored the operational anchor salaries of the startup scene.

The better the funding, the better the salary

Unsurprisingly, the better the start-up is funded, the better the COO is paid. And, even at the lower end of the spectrum, that’s not a pittance – a non-co-founder COO earns an average of £ 94.5,000.

For startups at most stages, founding COOs pay themselves less than the going rate for non-founding COOs.

“The COO is often the first experienced person to be hired by a team of co-founders, and at the seed stage they’re looking for someone who can help them grow the business, support the founders, execute the plan. business and get them to a Series A round and beyond, ”says Adam Popeck – who leads annual salary surveys for COO Stories.

“For a lot of companies, it’s too important to under-hire a role, and hiring someone who’s already developed a tech company is just so expensive,” he adds.

Size matters

Likewise, the larger the company, the more the COO gets paid, and companies with more than 100 employees can expect the biggest pay rise.

But gender matters, and male farm managers are paid more than women. For women in this job – excluding those in companies with less than 20 employees – this averages around £ 20,000 less per year.

“On average, women don’t start out on an equal footing and are held up by being offered a lower salary upfront,” Popeck tells Sifted. “This gap is further compounded by the fact that women are less likely to negotiate their package – either through lack of confidence or lack of knowledge about the market rate for the role (to which these data, hopefully, answer!” ). “

Gender pay gap

As with CTOs, Female COOs are paid less than their male counterparts at all stages of startups, and that’s something that has not changed in recent years.

For startups in Series B or later, female COOs earn an average of 25% less than their male counterparts.

We are starting from a small data set here, but this is not an isolated finding, and the the trend echoes in the UK working world.

Lack of experience only matters if you are female

For men, making a lot of money as a COO doesn’t depend on experience. Among the COOs interviewed, the COO men did not see their salary increase with experience.

For women, the salary increases with experience, and it is lower in almost all brackets than for men. The only outlier here is that of female COOs with six to ten years of experience, and can be attributed to the amount of data available – only three female COO salaries fell into this subset.

“While men receive similar amounts regardless of their experience, women find that their inexperience is used as a justification (either by themselves or by their employers) for receiving less pay.” , says Popeck.

No woman in this dataset had more than 10 years of experience as a COO, which speaks to the glaring lack of female representation in this role. This is not a new discovery – in its State of European Technology Report 2020, Atomico reported that only 14% of COOs are women.

A note on data

The data is taken from a survey conducted by COO Stories in 2020, based on the salaries of 67 UK-based COOs.

This is the second in a series of data stories examining how much people get paid in startups. The first part looked at CTO salaries in the UK. If you have this type of data and want to share it with us, send an email [email protected].

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Kai Nicol-Schwarz is Sifted’s Editorial Manager for Membership. He tweets from @NicolSchwarzK


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