Senior Executives - What company size pays you the best?

5/23/2018 The Pay Index

Senior Executives - What company size pays you the best?

It may not surprise you that companies employing 10,000 or more employees offer the highest levels of executive pay, according to the latest data from The Pay Index, launched in February 2018, and already being used by thousands of global senior executives to benchmark their compensation.

However, what you may not know is that working at an SME is the next most lucrative category for senior executives to work within.

Analysing the very latest compensation trends, here are some key findings regarding which company sizes pay the best:

Does pay reflect company size?

It could be assumed that the bigger the company, the bigger the opportunity to maximise your earning capacity.

Within reason this is correct, with the very largest global firms, employing more than 10,000 employees, paying the most.

However, The Pay Index data, which analyses compensation from over 4,600 senior executives, highlighted some subtle twists and turns along the way.

Smaller companies can offer surprising earning potential

Although start-ups (company size of 1-10 employees) pay on average 19% less than the largest companies, an SME (company size of 11 – 50 employees) was the second highest paying category overall, playing less than 10% below the 10,000+ companies.

Pay suffers when firms begin to experience growing pains

However, as a firm moves beyond 50 employees it appears that compensation levels take a step backwards, most likely due to the need to invest working capital within infrastructure roles as the company begins to require additional non-commercial roles to facilitate further growth and development.

As a result, the data shows that if you work within a firm employing between 51 – 200 employees you can expect to be paid around 22% less than in you did the same role in a 10,000+ company.

Then for companies employing 201 – 1,000 people, the rate reduces slightly to 17% less, before steadily reducing further in companies of 1,001 – 5,000 (15% less) and 5,001 – 10,000 (11% less).

Referencing these statistics against other economic indicators

When referencing The Pay Index statistics against broader company and GDP data on statistics website,, it clearly showed that even though the SME sector dominated the economic landscape in relation to number of companies and overall employment (over 96% of companies employ less than 50 employees), they only contributed approximately 18% of sales revenues.

Whereas there were just 1.6% of companies employing 10,000 or more people, yet they contributed nearly 36% of total revenues.

In summary, Compile states that “Big businesses make an outsized contribution to the economy,” and according to The Pay Index data, this wealth is clearly passed onto employees.

So, if you want to earn up to 22% more in your role, then definitely steer your career towards joining the largest employers.

As a senior executive, how does your pay compare?

The Pay Index is an exclusive website, just for the global senior executives, where they can anonymously compare their compensation against the broader market. Thousands of senior executives are now using The Pay Index to regularly benchmark their current compensation package.

You can register on The Pay Index here or learn more about the benefits of the site via the video below:

The Pay Index: Executive Pay Compared from The Pay Index.