Crypto job compensation shifts as equity gains preference — Survey


Recent hires in the crypto industry are more inclined to get equity instead of tokens, according to a survey by Variant and Union Square Ventures. The two crypto companies surveyed businesses in their investment portfolios to grasp emerging trends in 2023.

Drawing from data gathered by speaking to employees at 32 Web3 startups, the survey revealed that unlike in the past when crypto companies tended to compensate employees with tokens instead of equity, the reverse is now preferred.

According to the survey, Web3 firms have provided token-based compensation to employees since 2013, with none offering equity compensation before 2018. Since 2013, less than 40% of surveyed employees received equity, while about 50% received tokens. In 2023, this trend reversed, with new hires three times more likely to receive equity than tokens.

While it may be too early to describe this as a trend, the data suggests that startups are experimenting with new incentive mechanisms that may be less reliant on tokens than in previous crypto market cycles.

However, 50% of survey respondents indicated they primarily compete with other crypto startups for new hires, while 25% said their main competition comes from Web2 organizations.

The survey also suggests that recruiting within the Web3 space is more accessible during a bear market than attracting newcomers to the crypto industry.

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Engineers comprised the majority of employees at the startups surveyed, comprising 50% of the staff. These engineers also receive higher pay than colleagues within the company and their professional counterparts outside the crypto sector.

The survey states, “Senior-level Web3 engineers earn a 23% premium, and early-career engineers earn 27% more than their counterparts in the general market.”

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