Those were the questions we posed in what we believe is the first compensation survey to explore how executives with innovation-related roles are paid. We divided respondents into three categories (see chart below for a breakdown on respondents):
1. Leaders – This group typically included titles such as VP Innovation, SVP Innovation, or Chief Innovation Officer. Titles such as “Global Head of Innovation” were also placed into this group, as were executives with C-level titles who also oversaw innovation (i.e., CMO). One quarter of this “Leader” group (exactly 25.0 percent) were C-level executives.
Sample data point for this group: The most highly-paid Leaders, or those who receive base salaries that exceed $300,000, have one thing in common: they more consistently report directly to the CEO.
2. Directors – The most common title here was Director of Innovation, but “senior directors” and like titles were included as well. These “Directors” typically reported directly to the Leaders, above, but not always; some of them reported into the marketing or technology organization, and others reported to business units or product-line heads.
Sample data point for this group: The majority (55.6 percent) earn a base salary between $150,000 and $199,999.
3. Managers & Catalysts – This group included managers, senior managers, “catalysts,” and other staff-level positions.
Sample data point for this group: Ninety percent of respondents said that their bonuses would be less than $99,999. Their performance metrics tend to be tied to personal objectives, as opposed to business results.
The report explains how reporting structures influence salary; different ways bonuses tend to be structured at those three different levels; and how company size connects to compensation. (The majority of our respondents — 80 percent — work at companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenue.) About 63 percent of the survey respondents work at public companies, 30 percent at private companies, and the rest at non-profits or government agencies.
The report is a 13-page PDF, with charts related to salary and bonus, and direct comments from survey respondents. We were surprised at how honest some were. One director-level respondent told us that his or her “Cash bonus is tied to effectively advancing innovation initiatives across enterprise, but is highly subject to whims of the Chief Innovation Officer.” A manager-level respondent said, “My job is newly-created and it doesn’t seem like there was much benchmarking done.”