Findings Report

Compensation

The global pandemic has accelerated trends in compensation seen in what was already a fiercely competitive and dynamic job market. The shift to a distributed workforce has broken down regional talent barriers to create an even greater nationwide competition for talent. Continued venture and private equity investment has fueled job openings in some industries, while the pandemic has created shortages elsewhere. As these forces have worked together to drive the “Great Resignation,” this report reveals some of the rapidly changing dynamics in how companies of all sizes are compensating their employees.
Compensation Illustration

People Investment

Compensation is just one piece of a company’s total people investment, but a difficult one to get right, particularly while managing the dynamics of being a rapidly growing company in a highly competitive job market. Seeing how other companies scale and where they invest resources can serve as a guiding beacon for your growth strategy.

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Share of Payroll
Average Payroll

Regional Trends

Salaries across the U.S. are increasing rapidly. While the west continues to lead the country in salary levels, the rise of remote work coupled with high levels of venture and private equity investment is dismantling regional talent barriers and cultivating a true nationwide war for talent.

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Growth
Average Salary

The homogenization of pay

As startups compete with national and global firms for talent, we see cash compensation at startups once only found at the largest firms, and equity opportunities at large firms once only found at startups. If the boundaries of local and regional labor markets continue to soften, will we see pay levels become more uniform across the nation? We may already be seeing this in highly competitive engineering and product roles.

Pay Mix

Pay mix is important to look at in terms of how companies are compensating their workforce through fixed pay, variable pay, and other incentives. Our data shows that those in more technical roles receive the highest share of pay from salary alone. On the opposite side of the spectrum, those in leadership, sales, and administrative roles tend to have significant portions of their overall pay come from sources other than salary. 

Pay Gap

Pay equity continues to be an issue throughout the labor market, but the demand for change has never been greater. Employers are responding with a greater commitment to DEI initiatives while software and service providers are bringing more effective pay-equity solutions to market. Even so, our gender gap data shows that companies are still struggling to offer their female and BIPOC workers equal pay for equal work. With a broad stroke, male and White/Caucasian workers simply earn more than their counterparts. But when we drill into the data, we can see more nuanced insights looking through different lenses like salary overall, department, tenure, and salary growth trends.

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By Gender
By Ethnicity

Pay Gap by Department

Even in departments with a greater concentration of women or minorities, such as HR, pay disparities remain evident.

View Chart:
By Gender
By Ethnicity

Pay Gap by Tenure

Pay gaps between newly-hired and longer-tenured employees are a consequence seen through most eras of highly competitive job markets. However, the tenure pay gap is accentuated when delineating between men and women. The “Great Resignation” may present an opportunity for long-tenured, underpaid workers to find competitive pay elsewhere.

Pay Gap by Salary Growth

Although a pay gap continues to exist between genders and between ethnicities, growth rates of pay may point to a more equitable future. 

View Chart:
By Gender
By Ethnicity

Methodology

Insights from this report represent data collected from Sequoia’s Employee Experience Surveys (2017 – 2021), anonymized information and trends from our database, and Dataforest surveys. Dataforest is refreshed periodically with updates from new survey submissions.

Learn more about our data sources and methodology →

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