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Chief of Staff Salary Report 2023

Chief of Staff Salary Report 2023
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The Chief of Staff role continues to increase in prominence all around the world, appearing in companies of all sizes and industries. Due to this company variability, the disparate backgrounds and responsibilities of Chiefs of Staff, and the relatively small number of Chiefs of Staff compared to other roles and functions, benchmarking compensation remains a daunting task.

As usual, this report exists to assist current and future Chiefs of Staff in understanding their market value and advocating for fair pay. Our research considered the specific factors that heavily impact Chief of Staff compensation, including years of experience, CoS level, company stage/size, gender, location, and more. Previous compensation data is available in our 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 reports.

This report provides one view of the survey data, but there are many alternatives ways to slice and pivot it. The raw data of this survey is available to members of the Chief of Staff Network. Apply here!

What is a Chief of Staff?

At the Chief of Staff Network, we broadly define a Chief of Staff as the primary strategic operator reporting directly to a C-Level Executive. As the role continues to proliferate in organizations of different sizes, Chiefs of Staff are also emerging as key operators outside the C-suite, reporting at the VP level or even further down the corporate hierarchy. 

The Chief of Staff has a unique relationship with their Principal as the facilitator of the Principal’s key objectives. The role is rarely an administrative function, rather focusing on operational, strategic, and cross-functional execution. Chiefs of Staff take on diverse responsibilities that depend on their previous career experiences, leadership capabilities, and the priorities of their Principal. These are also potential factors that impact compensation on a case-by-case basis. We have also written about where CoS come from and where they go upon “graduating” the role.

Chiefs of Staff by Level

As noted, Chiefs of Staff come from a variety of professional backgrounds and bring different amounts of experience and skills to the table. The “Chief” in CoS can be deceptive as not every CoS is working at the executive level. Despite sharing the same title, CoS operate with varying amounts of influence & ownership and therefore at different levels within their companies. 

With this in mind, the Chief of Staff Network conducted independent research to establish a Leveling Framework characterizing the dimensions of growth and advancement criteria across five common CoS role archetypes. Survey participants were asked to review the Leveling Framework and self-select into one level. Additionally, we collected number of years of professional experience noting that the two (experience and level) are not always the same.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Average Base Salary - $131,229
Average Base Salary, West Only* - $144,121

*“West Only” refers to US, Canada, Europe, & Australia. 

Histogram of Annual Base Salary

As in prior years, our data shows a relatively normal distribution. This year, there is some downward skewness. The average salary dropped to $131k, from $153k last year. This is mainly because we collected much more data from Africa and Asia this year. Excluding this data, the average is $144k, similar to 2021’s average of $142,533. Notably, 48% of Chiefs of Staff make between $100k-200k and 17% earn >$200k. 

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