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  • Writer's pictureTara Stevens

Salary Snapshot: Product Management

Updated: Apr 25

As a recruitment partner to North American tech companies, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of high-growth start-up and scale-up leaders about their experiences, aspirations, motivations, and of course…. their compensation strategies!

When establishing a target compensation range for a new search, clients always ask us “What are you seeing in the market right now for a role like this?”. Since we’re having these conversations regularly, we thought we would pull back the curtains and share some insights to help you create a competitive compensation package. Alternatively, if you’re on the hunt for your next challenge, we hope you’ll find this data to be useful in the negotiation process.

Note: Be sure to subscribe to our Artemis Update and check out our archive of past issues for updates on big leadership moves and opportunities in tech!

The post-pandemic tech landscape forced companies to pivot, and then pivot again in many areas, but especially with respect to product strategy. Whether it's establishing PMF, expanding into new markets, launching a multi-product offering, or re-vamping pricing and packaging, product hires are often some of the most critical founders have to make. As such, we've gotten a lot of questions about what a competitive product compensation package looks like... ask and you shall receive!

The TL;DR:

  • Product execs are among the highest earners in tech (right behind sales and engineering)

  • Almost the entire sample (93%) reported an increase in salary over the past 24 months.

  • Overall, compensation has increased significantly (~ 15%) for both executive and non-executive product professionals between 2021 and 2024.

  • Product professionals reported feeling pretty satisfied with their compensation

    • Almost 75% reported that they perceived their earnings to be average or above average in the market.

  • When it comes to the product compensation gender parity, males are paid significantly more on average than females at the non-executive level, however, this trend reverses at the executive level.

  • 46% of the product professionals who responded to our survey anticipate that they will seek a new role within the next year.

Let’s dive into the numbers

Below is the breakdown of salary distribution within our sample, which includes Individual Contributors (ICs), Leads, Managers, Heads, Directors, VPs and C-level. This sample is reflective of Product Managers within startup or scale-up companies throughout Canada.

What are you looking at?

The bar graphs below represent average compensation by level, including base salary and bonus (on target earnings or "OTE").

Digging deeper...

Did those numbers seem high? Product Managers have experienced fairly significant wage growth over the last couple of years! PMs across the board (IC to C level) have experienced ~15% increase in compensation since 2021. This increase still outpaced our record-high inflation over the past 3 years.

On average, product professionals also reported feeling ~3% more satisfied with their overall compensation . Almost 75% reported that they perceived their earnings to be average or above average in the market. Interestingly, 46% of product respondents reported looking for new opportunities within the next year. We know there's a sample bias here given that we're a recruiting agency...but this feels noteworthy.

We zoomed out and compared product compensation to other functions, and found that product execs are among the highest earners in tech (behind sales and engineering). We often hear from clients how critical finding the right product leader is to their success and this data reinforces the notion that it takes more than comp to attract and retain top talent!

What about Equity?

There has been a dramatic uptick in the number of companies offering equity to product professionals from 2021 to 2024. It's important to note that our data collection changed between 2021 and 2024 (read more about our new salary survey below), and might contribute to this trend. However, we have seen companies (especially earlier-stage start-ups) get creative with compensation packages in an increasingly cash-constrained environment, so this trend isn't entirely surprising. Offering equity to offset cash expenditure is a great way to retain top talent before significant growth has been achieved.

Hot tip: One thing we've seen work well in early-stage start-ups is offering a few cash/equity options (ie. lower cash/ higher equity, higher cash/lower equity) that allows the candidate to choose the ratio that works best for them.

Inaugural Salary Survey Results

In March 2024, we embarked on our first-ever Salary Snapshot Survey, to enrich our existing collection of salary information and offer even more compelling insights. Here's what we found:

Compensation by Gender

Our survey revealed some interesting trends based on gender within product management:

  • Only 22% of product professionals in our sample were female

  • On average, male product professionals are paid significantly more ($188K) than females ($144K) at the non-executive level (IC, lead, manager).

  • However, this trend reverses at the executive level (Director/Head of, VP, C-level) with female average earnings at $276K and male average earnings at $264K.

Our hot take? Most of our clients are very intentional about diverse representation at the leadership level. With females being so underrepresented in product management, females out-earning men at the exec level might reflect how highly sought after female executives are, and that companies are willing to compensate higher to land their preferred candidate. 

Remote Work

  • Among product professionals, 46% reported being in fully remote roles, 46% reported following a hybrid work model, and 8% reported being stationed in the office full-time.

  • In contrast, the distribution across all other roles in our sample was: 40% fully remote, 51% hybrid, 6% in-office (3% chose not to disclose), indicating that product roles lean a bit more remote than other tech roles.

What’s behind the data?

Our snapshots provide valuable and current insights, derived from a select sample of individuals with verified and noteworthy experience in successful Canadian companies. This data, gathered from our recent searches and our newly launched Salary Survey, offers a more focused and relevant perspective than standard salary surveys.

  • Each Salary Snapshot represents between 60 - 140 sources.

  • Sources analyzed within the snapshots are aggregated from both direct conversations with candidates as well as our invitation-only tech salary survey of over 400 responses.

  • Each source is an individual who we deem a promising candidate for a role within a high-growth tech company. Most are gainfully employed and many were recommended as exceptionally talented. As a result, our salary numbers might be skewed towards the top of the range.

  • We elected not to show compensation figures related to equity or options. Though this was a significant aspect of the comp package for many execs, it’s often tough to put an annual dollar value on equity.

For privacy reasons, we will not disclose any specific information that could reveal the identity of an individual or their employer

Sharing is caring!

In the dynamic landscape of employment, salary data transparency acts as a transformative force benefiting both employers and job seekers alike. For employers, it provides a strategic advantage by aligning compensation packages with industry benchmarks, fostering equity, and enhancing recruitment appeal. Job seekers, armed with this knowledge, navigate their careers more strategically, negotiate effectively, and make informed decisions, contributing to a more open, fair, and empowered job market.

We believe that our Salary Snapshots are an effective delivery method for this data with our 4 T’s model:

Targeted: Specializing in the tech and innovation industry, our data reflects the compensation landscape of tech companies, making it directly relevant to your world.

Timely: Unlike traditional reports with multi-year lags, our 2023 salary data is up-to-date, providing you with the latest insights.

Trustworthy: Unlike free crowdsourced data, our information comes from one-on-one conversations with candidates actively involved in searches for our clients, ensuring reliability and accuracy.

Trim: We're agile and focused, offering a concise snapshot of current compensation trends, avoiding lengthy reports while retaining all the essential contextual information and analysis.

Please share this, or any of our other Salary Snapshots with your network!

Subscribe to our monthly Artemis Update to receive future Salary Snapshots directly to your inbox + more great content including our Industry Insights, Leaders on the Move, Humans of Tech, Dear Artemis and Tech Women on the Move series.

Created and published in April 2024


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