Healthtech/Analysis/

How much do healthtech execs get paid?

We dig into the data to find out how much healthtech execs can expect to take home in their pay packets.

By Kai Nicol-Schwarz

After more than a year of pandemic-driven digital acceleration, healthtech is growing quicker than ever before.

Funding in the sector this year is already close to total investment figures for the whole of 2020. Only fintech and SaaS — which are having their own record-breaking years — have raised more than healthtech in 2021 so far.

But what kind of money does one of the hottest sectors in European tech offer to attract the top talent?

With the help of Storm3, Sifted dug into the salaries of healthtech executives in the UK — from CFO to CTO and CPO.

We analysed the salaries of 12k healthtech candidates, and compared the findings to Europe and the US.

From geographical hot spots to big money C-suite roles, here’s what the figures told us.

Who makes the most?

Unsurprisingly, for such a regulation-heavy industry as healthtech, chief risk and compliance officers are the most well compensated, earning an average of £165k in the UK. Pay packets can rise to £200k at companies with more than 100 employees.

However, it’s a different story in the US, where  chief risk and compliance officers fall towards the tail end of exec salaries and average £140k. Clare Cooper, founder of Storm3, says this is down to candidate pool size.

“In the US there is a larger candidate pool and network for these roles.”

“In the UK there is a smaller candidate pool as the role is so specialised and the chief risk and compliance officer would 100% need industry experience,” she tells Sifted. “In the US there is a larger candidate pool and network for these roles.”

At the top end in the US, CPOs are generally paid the most, taking home £175k. 

One reason for the CPO salary hike is that it’s a position often recruited from other industries, who in turn — especially in the US — demand eye-watering salaries that need to be met to lure top talent.

UK chief data officers are paid the least — possibly due to the role being such a nascent one. Cooper earmarks data roles as one of the key departments to watch for salary rises in the future, as healthtechs place greater emphasis on data engineering and machine learning. 

Stock options and equity are also key to attracting top talent, says Cooper. 

In this, however, healthtechs are sometimes at a disadvantage to other tech startups, due to academic connections and university equity stakes.

“Many are backed by leading universities who take a large chunk of equity, affecting not only that company’s future funding prospects, but also the share option allocation for employees,” Juggle Jobs founder Romanie Thomas tells Sifted. “Culturally they remain stuck in the past rather than creating wealth and value for a wider set of stakeholders.”

£100k is the minimum in the UK

Even at the lower end of the scale, at early-stage startups, healthtech execs can expect to be paid on average £100k in the UK. 

This figure gets exponentially larger as a startup grows, rising to £180k for execs in the highest pay bracket at companies with 100 or more employees.

Salaries in healthtech are largely dependent not on the type of subsector the company sits in, but on where the startup sits in its funding journey, says Cooper.

“A company at seed stage will simply not be able to be as competitive as a company that has just received $30m in a Series C,” she tells Sifted.

And while Covid has seen salaries increase slightly — due to digital acceleration and the increasing prominence of mental healthtech, fitness tech, femtech and telehealth — the main change is that the conversation is rarely just focused on cash now, Cooper says. 

Other benefits, like holiday days, work from home flexibility and parental leave have all taken greater precedence as working habits have shifted over the past 16 months. 

The UK and Europe lag behind the US

If you want to earn the big bucks as a healthtech exec, you’ve got to head to the US. 

As per, the US outguns its UK and European counterparts in spending power, but over the past few years the UK has made gains, says Cooper. 

“London has definitely seen an increase [in wages] in the past few years. Salaries in tech in general were just not competitive enough compared to other ecosystems [like San Francisco], where the same talent could be paid significantly more,” she tells Sifted. 

Comparison to other sectors

While healthtech executive salaries are somewhat higher than greentech pay packets, they fall short of the benchmark set by fintechs.

But, Cooper says that although fintechs and FAANG — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — dominate the big salaries in tech, there has been a major shift in candidates wanting to work for mission driven healthtechs.

“This means that even if the companies cannot be as competitive as Google, Netflix or the next big crypto firm, candidates are open to slightly less if it means working on meaningful products that are shaping, changing and saving lives,” she tells Sifted.

According to Storm3, subsectors like femtech and mental healthtech are the ones to watch for salary increases in the coming years. 

The data

The data used here has been collated by specialist healthtech recruiters Storm3. They pulled the salaries from a pool of 12k healthtech candidates in the UK, Europe and the US, as well as from a number of expert consultants who work solely on vertical-specific roles in the sector.

Just below you’ll see the raw data for UK healthtech salaries. 

This is the fifth in a series of data stories looking at how much people get paid at startups. Part one looked at CTO salaries in the UK, part two dived into UK COO salaries across different-sized startups, part three explored how much fintech execs get paid, and part four delved into greentech wages.

Kai Nicol-Schwarz is a reporter at Sifted. He tweets from @NicolSchwarzK

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