Silicon Valley startups are paying headhunters up to $30,000 a head for hot engineers

For startups trying to hire engineers in Silicon Valley, it’s not just about affording high salaries.

Recruiter fees are also a big deal, according to a discussion on Twitter among founders on Thursday.

One Silicon Valley founder spent $US500,000 in recruiter fees in 12 months to hire 15 engineers, tweeted startup founder Sten Tamkivi, CEO of Teleport, a startup building software to help people re-locate for new jobs or work remotely.

So that startup paid out over $US30,000 per head to the recruiter. And that’s typical. Headhunters often charge 20-30% the entire package: salary, stock, and any signing bonus.

The average salary for a software engineer in Palo Alto, heart of Silicon Valley, is $US108,000, according to Glassdoor. But the big companies in that area tend to toss in cash bonuses (often another $US15,000) and stock (another $US50,000+) 

So call that $US150,000 per engineer + $US30,000 to the recruiter, and you can start to see how startups can burn through some cash.


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