Assets Under Management AUM

Survey suggests progress, room for improvement on fair remuneration for women in venture capital

Canadian Women in VC has released its third annual survey, which profiles gender-based compensation for all roles in the venture capital (VC) industry in Canada.

The 2021 Canadian Venture Capital Compensation Report found that for investment roles, salaries and bonuses are lower for women than for men in more junior roles, but higher in higher positions. , with the exception of associates.

On the VC operations side, the survey found that although women represent a majority in all roles, they are consistently paid less than their male peers.

The survey found that, for investment roles, salaries and bonuses are lower for women than for men in more junior roles, but higher in higher positions, with the exception of associates.

These results suggest that although the Canadian VC industry has made progress towards equitable compensation for male and female investors, two groups of women remain underpaid relative to their male counterparts: women in early stage investment positions. career and women working in operations.

Through the anonymous survey, which collected responses from 140 people working in VC in Canada, Canadian Women in VC wants to “increase the transparency of pay data, spark more conversations and move the dial on fair pay.”

Founded in 2017, Canadian Women in VC aims to support the next generation of women in the Canadian VC sector through professional development and networking opportunities. The local Toronto-based organization, which began as a bimonthly dinner series with five women, has since grown into a community with over 200 active members.

Nabeela Merchant, a member of the Canadian Women in VC committee that helped put together this survey, told BetaKit that the organization has decided to be heard more given the number of responses generated by its survey in 2020.

The organization conducted its first venture capital compensation survey in 2018, generating 26 responses. After skipping 2019, Canadian Women in VC launched its second survey in 2020, registering the participation of 120 people.

“In the past, [VC compensation] was… generally like something unspoken, or only talked about behind closed doors, ”said Merchant, former partner of Relay Ventures and current investor in the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good. “We had a really good performance last year, so it felt appropriate to be more vocal this time around.”

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Venture capital funding in Canada has skyrocketed amid COVID-19, and the sector has seen an explosion of high-profile exits fueled by the growth of Canadian tech companies during the pandemic.

In the midst of this, Canada has a number of women-led and focused investment groups including Toronto’s StandUp Ventures, BDC’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, Calgary’s The51, and Halifax’s Sandpiper Ventures. But, according to a 2018 report from Female Funders, women made up just 14% of Canadian VCs at the time.

A 2019 report from Female Funders and Highline Beta also indicated that only 13.5% of Canadian venture capital fund partners are women, with just 8.9% managing partners, suggesting that women also remain under -represented in investment leadership roles.

On the venture capital investment side, the Canadian Women in VC survey found that women in analyst, senior analyst and partner positions earn between 3% and 13% less than their male counterparts. in terms of median salary. In terms of bonuses, female analysts also earn 43-46% less than men, while associates earn the same salary.

Conversely, women on the venture capital investment side of higher positions, such as senior partner, vice president, director and director, mostly earn more than men.

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However, that excludes female partners, who get 27% less pay and 90% less bonus, according to the survey. It is interesting to note that these results contrast with those of the 2020 survey.

“Last year, for example, women analysts were earning more than men, but it then reversed somewhere in the middle, where from there, men were earning more,” Merchant said. “This time around we’re almost seeing a turnaround where at the junior level the women are earning less but now at the senior level they have caught up.”

While these statistics show some progress, they are based on a small group of topics and are not necessarily representative of the entire Canadian ecosystem. However, Merchant is hoping the investigation can help shift the dial. She expressed hope that the changes at the highest level are, in part, due to the fact that, following last year’s survey, people working in VC are able to ask for more.

“What we’ve discovered over the years, sharing this information, is that it’s sort of leveling off what the salary should look like and we’re finding that people now know what to ask for and can take more informed decisions at different levels, ”she added.

The survey’s gender distribution of earnings contrasts with the way Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) people are paid.

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In entry level and partner roles, the survey indicated that BIPOC individuals in VC earn more, on average, than non-BIPOC individuals. At the same time, they receive lower salaries and bonuses at the president and director level, where they are most represented, according to the survey.

These results do not match the findings of the 2020 survey, which found that BIPOC individuals in VC earned more than their peers at entry level and less in higher roles. “It’s hard to know what to do with [this]Merchant said. “BIPOC as a variable may not be a significant factor in salary.” Merchant added that with respect to some of the demographic findings of the survey, some categories also have limited representation, making it difficult to draw conclusions.

“As employers, we really appreciate the benchmarking and the details in it,” Michelle McBane, Managing Director of StandUp Ventures, told BetaKit. “In some cases, I think the sample sets may be too small to really draw a conclusion, and that will just change over time as more and more people join the industry.”

In venture capital operations, women earn a median salary between 16% and 21% lower than that of men in the same position. They also earn a 40-76% lower median bonus at VP / Director and Partner level, respectively. The survey found similar results for BIPOC people in operational roles across the board.

According to Merchant, these results correspond to last year’s survey. “What was frustrating to see was that it was clear that there were more women in operations than men, and so even though they were the main gender for this type of work, they were under. -paid compared to their male peers, ”she added. .

RELATED: Women in Venture Capitalists Still Significantly Under-Represented, New Report Says

The survey also found that although higher education does not have a significant effect on salary, larger amounts of assets under management (AUM) are associated with higher median salaries, on average, and for both groups, median wages tend to increase over time. overall work experience.

Canadian Women in VC also found that people with less overall work experience and less VC experience earn more than permanent professionals with the same title. “This may indicate a trend of increased competition for new hires and its impact on wages,” the survey said.

“More than I have ever seen, there are so many public announcements for VC roles that would have, even three years ago, been fulfilled before they had a chance to be released,” said Merchant. “I haven’t heard that people are struggling to find candidates for these positions, but there are definitely more. “

McBane doesn’t think competition is driving this trend. Instead, she thinks it could be fueled by the quality of new entrants with experience in other fields. “There are a lot of people with extensive experience joining the industry, and it’s pretty interesting because it’s going to help move the needle overall,” McBane said. “It’s starting to be appealing to people with extensive industry experience. “

“I think what you are starting to see is that [more] people see VC as a career path, or even a place to go during a period of your career, ”she added.

Featured Image by Christina @ via Unsplash