Competing for talent — it’s a two-sided strategy

In 2020, the average salary for tech talent in the U.S. was U.S.$146,000, the global average was U.S.$130,000 and Canada trailed at just U.S.$109,000.

With remote work here to stay and the fact that entrance of large American players (such as Amazon and Netflix) are staying in the Canadian market, Canadian startups need to be strategic about investing in talent to stand apart. Some of these American competitors are even hiring Canadian talent through professional employer organizations (PEO) that help them hire talent in any location.

In this tough and dynamic market for talent, startups need to adopt a two-sided strategy. They must be attractive to new hires and then work on retaining them. Traditionally, startups have overemphasized hiring numbers without having a retention plan for current talent. You should be bringing in new employees for the long-term impact on your business growth. Early intervention with the right incentives, career plans and learning opportunities are key to making this happen.  

Below are six actionable ideas that startups should consider to compete against bigger talent players. 

  • Pay at the 75th percentile for premium roles, using larger technology companies as your benchmark
  • Open new positions to remote or talent-dense locations in Canada (within three hours’ difference in time zones). Your current offices should become collaborator hubs and workspaces for those who need them
  • Guarantee movement after two years in specific roles when milestones are met
  • Build a competitive employer value proposition that attracts new hires and measures up to some of the large players in the market
  • Develop retention plans for top talent
  • Build excitement around growth goals with annual employee equity grants with shorter vesting periods. Read more about how Coinbase, a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing cryptocurrency offers annual grants, sized based on one-year targets, that vest in one year

Need more inspiration? We crowdsourced ideas from our high-growth ventures — here is what they are doing on the compensation and retention fronts.