The highest paying fintechs, & the upside of lower pay elsewhere

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The highest paying fintechs, & the upside of lower pay elsewhere

If you're looking for a high salary and an impressive bonus in a fintech firm, there are a few places that should be at the top of your list. Stripe, for example, has a very well-deserved reputation as one of the top payers in the industry. But high pay isn't everything, and as the fintech sector matures there are signs of bifurcation between high players with a grinding culture and lower payers that like to take things a little more easily.

The chart below shows a range of combined salary and bonus points for software developers by years of experience at top fintech firms globally, based on figures from Levels.fyi. Variations in job title and location notwithstanding, Stripe is almost always the best payer at each level of experience. Klarna, the loss-making Swedish payments fintech, is almost always the worst. 

Before software developers rush to work for Stripe, however, it's worth bearing in mind that high pay comes with high expectations and with potential career risk. Reviews on Blind suggest that Stripe is still known for its very sweaty work ethic, with recent complaints of a "horrendous" culture and "really, really bad work life balance." In December last year, there were also claims that the company had a "hire and fire" mentality. Four months ago, a viral post on HackerNews alleged that Stripe ghosted a senior candidate after seeming to make him an offer. More positively, insiders say the Stripe upsides are the pay, the vacation days, the opportunity to work from home forever. 

At the other end of the spectrum is Klarna, where even people with 10 years' experience seem to be earning less than $100k (albeit in Stockholm). Writing on Blind, Klarna insiders acknowledge that their pay is low, but highlight significant advantages that come with that. "Expectations are low so if you want to chill and don’t have big salary expectations or got there early for stock it’s paradise in Europe," said one senior product manager in March, adding that the work-life balance is commensurately "great." Because of the poor pay, however, another insider said people typically only stay a year before looking for higher salaries and bonuses somewhere else.

If you don't want low pay and a chill life at Klarna or high pay and freneticism at Stripe, what are the fintech alternatives? There's always Robinhood, which pays towards the middle of the range, but is now axing 10% of staff as growth slows and the value of its stock plummets. Or there's PayPal, which is more mature but which also has a few stock issues of its own...

If you're looking for a pre-IPO fintech, the best bet might be Ramp, the corporate card platform that's achieved $100m revenues within two years of launching and that was valued at $8.1bn following a funding round in March. Ramp both pays well and attracts glowing revenues from engineers, who've latterly described the company as "incredible" and with "smart," or "kind and motivated people."

Ramp will also work you hard, though. "Work is intense," said one software engineer last November on Blind: "Don’t join Ramp if you’re looking for a standard 9-5. Probably ~50-55 hours/ week." Writing recently, another Ramp engineer agreed: "Everyone is super ambitious and wants to build the best product possible. This often means that folks put in more hours. It's not crazy 60+ hour weeks, but it's not 35 hours/week."

Photo by Tech Daily on Unsplash

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