Since 2012, our friends at Mind The Product have done multiple surveys on the facts and figures of the product community. We at ProductTank Amsterdam have always looked with a lot of interest at these and have wondered for a while how those numbers would compare to a local investigation here in Amsterdam.
So here there is the first local survey of our Amsterdam community.
The purpose of this survey is to get a snapshot of product people working within the ProductTank Amsterdam community and to provide some statistics as we build out the community. It’s also designed to give you a better understanding of where you stand professionally within the community.
Who are we?
This year, the survey had 63 respondents. The survey was conducted between January and April 2016. Of the 63 respondents, 22.2% were female, 77.8% male. Women are still definitely in a minority, but we think the number is rising every year.
The respondents come from a wide range of company sizes: the smallest has just one employee, while the largest has more than 1,000 staff. In general respondents come from companies with between 51 and 250 people.
Our respondents work across a wide spread of industries. Only a low number of respondents work in the health and education sectors, and in not-for-profit companies; most respondents work for a private company or public company.
How do we work?
About a third of product people work in the product reporting line, and about 17% report to another business function. Other departments like technology, marketing and sales account for the rest.
The place of product in the organisation tells a lot about the history of a company: for instance traditional banks seldom have a head of product/VP of product, as they usually are more structured across business lines, while newer companies like start-ups or single product companies are organised much more around the product.
What are we paid?
A key goal was to establish some sort of realistic numbers around salaries and remuneration for product people in the Amsterdam area.
Just over a third of respondents are receiving equity as part of their compensation. No real surprises here; it’s about the same as in other regions of the world.
For salary analysis, we omitted a few responses without salary details, leaving 58 responses.
As expected, salaries increase in line with different job titles. Bear in mind also that some job titles only have one respondent (for example VP of product), making comparisons unreliable. Note that we didn’t ask people to correct for the fact that they might work less than 40 hours a week (about 20% of the respondents work in a public company/government organisation which in the Netherlands typically means they have a 36-hour work week).
As far as company size goes, the bigger the company, the better the salary – with the exception of companies in the 11-50 category. Although we cannot back this with data, a possible cause of this is that product people profit from personal agreements on their salaries with founder/directors, while in slightly bigger companies (>51 people) most companies start to use pay scales/grades.
One of the first things that struck us was that Product Owners on average are better compensated than Product Managers. This may sound odd, since in our book the PM role has a broader responsibility than a PO. Looking more closely at the results, we find that the spread of salary for a PM is much higher – as shown in the following graph:
So what might explain this? It’s not immediately clear from the results, but we do have some hypotheses.
Our first hypothesis to explain the higher average PO salary was company size. Further investigation does not show an obvious correlation, although a large portion of POs work in large (1,000+) companies. We saw that, with the exception of group 11-50, these companies pay more on average, which could possibly explain this result.
As for the larger spread in salary for PMs, it could be that the PO is a more strictly defined role as responsibilities are defined in the scrum methodology, in contrast to the role of PM which is more loosely defined. Since most of the time salary is linked to responsibilities, this could cause the narrower spread in the salary of a PO.
We have also noticed that in The Netherlands the role is (more) often called Product Owner. This observation is based on personal experience, comparing the Netherlands with the USA for example. Interestingly, this was not supported by our survey; in our group of respondents there were more PMs than POs. So we did some LinkedIn searches, as job postings can be seen as an indirect measure of relative proportions of job titles. A LinkedIn search for “product manager” in the “IT and services” industry in the Netherlands showed 41 vacancies, against 109 vacancies for “product owner” in the same industry. (We narrowed the search to IT and services, since product manager can mean different things in different industries). Comparing this to London: a search for “product manager” in the “IT and services” industry in London showed 117 vacancies, against 71 vacancies for “product owner”. Finally, comparing to San Francisco Bay area: a search for “product manager” in IT and services industry in the San Francisco Bay area showed 415 vacancies, against 60 vacancies for “product owner”.
We’re not exactly sure how this might impact the salary spread, we don’t have enough data to really spot a trend, but we believe it is worth mentioning. And we’re curious to hear what you think may cause this difference in use of job titles between countries.
Although our data sample was not that large, it was interesting to look at these results and get a sense of the trends here in the Netherlands. We look forward to comparing our results to this year’s worldwide MTP survey.