Salary Insights - Lead Engineer

We were recently engaged by a client to conduct a search for a Lead Engineer. Our client, a startup backed by a large financial institution, is developing a self-serve financial services app. They were looking for us to hire employee number three, having previously placed a CEO and CPO to get started on developing their MVP.

We conducted a targeted search on their behalf, seeking Engineering leaders who had launched a successful mobile product (ideally in the banking or insurance space) in an international marketplace. 

We presented 4 candidates:

The Start-Up Expert – $160K base + small bonus

  • 20+ years of employment experience, 7 of which spent developing and launching a B2C mobile app and serving as that organization's CTO. 
  • 4+ years working in the digital and self-serve products space at big banks, leading engineering and new feature development + launch.
  • Computer Engineering Degree

The Banking Expert - $130k base + 25% bonus

  • 25 years of employment experience, 6 of which were spent in the banking and finance space, working on developing new products for large, established players. 
  • This person owned the digital platforms for a financial services giant in Toronto, in a hands-on engineering leadership role.
  • Product experience included mobile apps (iOS/android), self-serve web applications, ecomm platforms used by consumer marketplaces and experience releasing products to international markets.
  • M.Sc. Computer Science degree 

The International Expert - $150K base + 15% bonus

  • 15 years of employment experience, 7 of which were leading engineering teams for large, established financial services players focusing on digital products.
  • This candidate had extensive experience launching products in large international markets and working with off-site teams to coordinate development and release.
  • While the most technical, their soft skills were very consultative given their past experience working for a global consultancy in a client facing role.
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD

The Hire

  • 14 years employment experience, 6 of which were leading engineering teams within startup spin-offs of large financial organizations.
  • Over the last 7 years, this candidate was hired with the same mandate: hire and build an in-house engineering team, code and develop where needed, launch an MVP, and assume the leadership role.
  • He also had experience shipping financial products (that are in market today) internationally.  
  • Computer Engineering degree

To secure our candidate, our client offered a $135K base + bonus + significant stock options. For this candidate, the stock options were the critical part of the offer as they felt tied to the organization's story and their future success

As you can see, compensation for these candidates varies significantly based on the length and scope of experience, as well as their ability to thrive in similar environments.

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For organizations and job seekers alike, it can be challenging to understand what a particular position should pay. Often, it’s a calculation between salary surveys that lack all context, what a person has earned in the past, and ad hoc conversations with others in the field.

We’re sharing market insights into current compensation packages for key roles in the tech industry. Our recruiters conduct targeted searches on behalf of our clients, seeking out candidates who fit the requirements of the role and diligently qualifying them to present only the very best talent. These posts are meant to highlight the contextual elements that makeup compensation, and to help our clients and candidates better understand the current market forces that affect earning potential. 

Is your organization hiring key product talent that will drive your growth? Book a consultation with our friendly and knowledgeable team today—we live and breathe the tech talent ecosystem every day, and can help you understand the market for the talent you need.