How long is a piece of string? The definition of a chief technology officer role has so many variables that there is no “typical” CTO salary. Even the averages pumped out by various sources have to be taken with a pinch of salt because different packages wrap up different levels of often hidden incentives.
The kinds of remuneration that affect the calculation of average base salary range from a straight salary to a mixture of salary and stock option/vested stake. Then you have the difference between established packages and the start-up/early-stage culture of graft today, jam tomorrow.
What we know for sure is that high-impact chief technology officers are in great demand, so the key is to build your value in the market and negotiate your next role from a position of strength.
What we have done for you is aggregate the salary data produced from sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and Payscale to help you review “average” salaries in major tech cities around the world, with the caveat that it’s a guide only and includes base salary data.
The key to any negotiation is to be holding all the cards.
The ace that turns a good tech leader into a must-hire chief technology officer is the ability to lead. And that ability comes down to your soft skills.
From communication to critical thinking, delegation to decision-making, your personal value in the market will be shaped by the impact you can have in an organisation, and that will be defined by your leadership capabilities.
Steep Learning, High Reward
The quickest route to a chief technology officer role is to start a company or be an early hire. The learning curve rises steeply, the average salary less so, but you’re at the heart of the business and building that equity stake.
Stable Learning, Career Roadmap
If you go down the corporate route, you'll experience a more stable environment in terms of learning and salary. This is about developing a personal brand and career road map to achieve the role you want.
Do you know your core values and intrinsic motivation? It's more enjoyable and interesting to achieve the career you want if it’s aligned to your values, rather than outside incentives or pressures.