Startup Founders – Insights from Movemeon 2021 Work & Pay Report -Impact of COVID-19

Startup Founders – Insights from Movemeon 2021 Work & Pay Report -Impact of COVID-19

Our 2021 work and pay report, Understanding the Impact of COVID-19, is out. As in previous years, it is based on more than 35,000 data points, combining proprietary data from and with a survey of our candidate community of 50,000 strategy and commercial professionals.

The report answers questions about pay and job satisfaction by industry, role type, and country. This year, we have also added insights about the impact of COVID-19 on compensation and the workplace. Here, we’ve put together our key findings for startup founders. Request your free copy of the report here.

This report was developed in collaboration with Payspective. Visit to receive insights & benchmarks for startups and scaleups, and make sure you pay fairly and competitively and see where you stand in comparison with other startups and scaleups in the UK.

1. Average salary by seniority

Pay by function - average salary by seniority
Strategy, general management, pmo/transformation, corp/bus dev and operations role at associate, manager and director/vp levels

The salary data collected across all roles shared on Movemeon suggests that pay increases at the fastest rate between different levels of seniority for Business Development roles. Meanwhile, Operations roles show the least potential for pay progression.

2. Pay breakdown by company type

compensation breakdown by industry
in corporate consultancy startup pe/vc

Across all company types, non-cash compensation (bonus & equity) becomes more important as seniority increases.

Startups offer the highest level of equity at most seniority levels, while high bonuses mean that the share of base salaries as a percentage of total compensation is lowest in PE/VC companies.

3. Average pay rise by industry

average pay rise by industry
corporate consultancy startup pe/vc at associate  manager and director level

Around a fifth of all Corporates, Consultancies and Startups have taken government support during the pandemic. At the same time, they gave pay rises to about half of their employees (down from ~2/3 of their employees in 2019). Meanwhile, far fewer PE/VCs have relied on government support and 3/4 of their employees have received a pay rise.

4. Employers vs Candidates

pay expectations employer vs candidate

The gap between salary advertised and candidate expectations decrease with seniority. For all levels of seniority, the gap between expectation and reality has become a lot narrower in 2020 – overall, more than a third of the gap has disappeared. This points to a softer labour market in which the balance of power has somewhat shifted to employers because of the pandemic.

The differential between candidate and employer expectations is greatest for startups (23%).

5. Impact of compensation

When it comes to compensation, we don’t see a saturation effect – to the contrary, professionals seem to get quite a kick out of making more than half a million.

This lack of saturation effect may be caused by the uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic – a situation in which professionals particularly value their financial independence.

impact of working hours and compensation on happiness

6. Impact of working hours

We also tested a long-standing question with our candidates – what’s the influence of working hours on happiness?

Overall happiness is consistent up until 60h worked per week, but anything above that has a serious, negative influence.

7. Pre- vs. Post-pandemic

working hours pre v post pandemic for corporate consultancy startup pe/vc and overall

Across all industries and seniorities, working hours were 4% higher in 2020 than in 2019, indicating that – for the people who retained their jobs – the pandemic made work more intense. This trend holds true for all company types but is particularly pronounced for startups and PE/VC.

8. Factors that influence change

factors that influence change

Perhaps unsurprisingly, money and the work environment are the most mentioned factors that influence a future job change.

9. Gender Pay Gap – Gaps across all seniorities

gender pay gap

The gender pay gap exists and is substantial across all levels of seniority, though it’s particularly pronounced at Director level, with a 23% pay difference. Half of this gap comes from bonuses, which are significantly lower for women than for men.

10. Opinion of Employers

opinion of employers pre vs post covid

COVID did not have an impact on ~2/3 of professionals’ opinions towards their employers, though particularly people in more junior positions are somewhat critical.

While at Manager and Director level ~20% have changed their opinion to the better and ~20% to the worse, 32% of Analysts now have a worse opinion of their employers and only 4% a better one.

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