The Top 20 Startup Ecosystems by Engineer Salary

August 5, 2015

8:00 am

The top 20 startup ecosystems in the world pay software engineers $72,000 on average, Compass’s Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015 reported last week – with a $118,000 average engineer salary in Silicon Valley.

The seven cities with the highest engineer salaries are all in the United States. Meanwhile, even posh London – where the cost of living may actually be higher than in NYC – only pays engineers about $63,000 per year. And in nearby Canada, the cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are all paying software engineers between $50-70,000.

The bottom line? The VC funding you get could be going a lot further outside the US. Hop over the border from Seattle to Vancouver, for example, and you could hire two software engineers for the price of one. Find some remote employees in Bangalore, and make it four for the price of one.

High salaries don’t seem to be holding startup ecosystems back, though. The cities that were ranked top four overall – based on factors like funding, market reach, and talent – also have the highest engineer salaries. More activity means more startups, and more startups means more competition for the best talent – i.e., more perks, more benefits, and more money. High salaries may be a symptom of a thriving startup ecosystem, but for the companies who have to pay them, they’re more like an adverse side effect.

1. Silicon Valley: $118,000 average engineer salary

Overall ranking: 1

2. New York City: $114,000

Overall ranking: 2

3. Los Angeles: $109,000

Overall ranking: 3

4. Boston: $109,000

Overall ranking: 4

5. Chicago: $105,000

Overall ranking: 7

6. Seattle: $105,000

Overall ranking: 8

7. Austin: $97,000

Overall ranking: 14

8. Sydney: $88,500

Overall ranking: 16

9. Montreal: $70,000

Overall ranking: 20

10. London: $63,000

Overall ranking: 6

11. Tel Aviv: $61,000

Overall ranking: 5

12. Berlin: $60,000

Overall ranking: 9

13. Toronto: $54,700

Overall ranking: 17

14. Amsterdam: $53,800

Overall ranking: 19

15. Paris: $53,000

Overall ranking: 11

16. Vancouver: $51,600

Overall ranking: 18

17. Moscow: $36,600

Overall ranking: 13

18. Singapore: $36,500

Overall ranking: 10

19. Sao Paulo: $28,400

Overall ranking: 12

20. Bangalore: $23,500

Overall ranking: 15

The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking is based on 11,000 surveys by entrepreneurs and experts in the past five months, 200 interviews in 25 countries, and research by Deloitte, CrunchBase, Orb Intelligence, Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Compass’s other local partners.

Image Credit: Flickr/Ruiwen Chua

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact