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Gender split in UK start-up community with 82% of founders male

Chief-level female executives earn 29% less than men, while male founders pay themselves average salaries 100% higher than women

There is an ongoing gender divide in the start-up community with just 17% of respondents to Forward Partners’ first annual Startup Salary Survey identifying as female, compared to 82% male.

The survey of 356 individuals across a range of functions, levels and funding stages found that chief-level female executives earn 29% less than their male counterparts (£56,250 to £39,600), while male founders award themselves salaries on average 100% higher than women in similar fields at £31,250 to £15,030.

However, women saw their salary increase by 10% compared to just 2% for men and female directors and heads earn more than their male counterparts at £85,000 to £50,000 and £60,000 to £55,000 respectively.

Overall, salaries across the start-up ecosystem saw a marginal increase of 4% from £48,000 to £50,000, while bonuses jumped by 50% in 2016 to an average of £15,000.

Strategists were found to have the highest average salary of £76,000, followed by financiers (£75,000) and general managers (£70,000). Operations earned the least at £38,000. Salary also increased steadily with age: those aged between 45 and 54 earned the most on average (£117,500), while those between 20 and 24 earned the least (£25,000).

Bootstrapped businesses had the highest average happiness at 8.4 out of 10, with companies at Series A the least happy (7.8), while CEO founder was found to be the happiest function at 8.8% and insight and analysis the least (5).

Of all respondents, just 8% had an MBA education, with most holding a BA level degree, while the average age was 42 and the average tie spent in a role was one to three years.

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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