In February of 2020, we decided to publicly share salary levels for each of our departments. The entire process took a couple of months of planning, preparation and implementation, but our goal was clear from the start – to become more transparent and to remove the taboo around this topic.
Transparency is something we highly value within the company, and this process of publishing salaries removed the shadow that is usually surrounding the topic of who earns how much and why. And at the same time, as we shared the salaries, we also published the seniority guide that we use to determine the seniority level of each employee in Bornfight. A perfect combination of activities that supported that transparency-focused goal.
This was one of the most important steps we had to do, together with explaining the benefits of this to the employees – what will they get out of this, why are we doing it and how will it affect the company.
We saw this as an activity that would allow us to evolve as a company, to become fully transparent, to deepen customer relationships, to continuously improve the quality of our work, to develop our people faster and to enable them to get the most value for themselves from Bornfight.
Not everything in this process was ideal, as the implementation of this decision was complex, but now, a year and a half after, we can claim that we did a good thing!
By the numbers
In the past 18 months, our company of 80 people (and on the course to have 100 by the end of the year) had an average gross salary increase of 29% (from 14.386 HRK to 18.360 HRK).
When we implemented this in early 2020, we set ourselves the goal of always being in the top 10% of the market when it comes to employee salaries, and this average growth of 29% shows that.
We currently have an average salary that’s 90% higher than the average Croatian salary, and 60% higher than the average salary in our capital – Zagreb.
Different seniority levels had different growth over this period. The highest growth was seen at the Middle level with the increase of 22%, then Senior level with a 12% increase, and the lowest increase of 3% was at a Junior level.
What influenced how much each seniority level’s salary grew was a combination of the company’s current focus and the speed of advancements. Because of the type of projects we currently undertake and our need for specialists on Middle and Senior levels, their salaries grew accordingly. And that is why we are always on the lookout for specialists who will bring our projects to the next level (check out our Careers to see all available positions).
On the other hand, since we have structured the seniority levels in the company and defined what is needed for promotions, our Juniors are moving to Middle positions much faster. In the year and 6 months since we publicly announced salaries and seniority levels, 17 people have progressed from Junior to Middle positions.
Public and media reactions
We were the first company in Croatia to make our salaries and seniority levels publicly available for everyone to see, and of course there were mixed reactions from the once we announced that we will be publishing it all on our website. Since we did it, the salaries section on our website has already been seen by almost 60,000 people. And most of the reactions were extremely positive.
We have had people come into the selection process already knowing what seniority level they’re at and what they can expect from us. But we were also told of situations where people in other companies were able to negotiate higher salaries because of our announcement… and there was even a situation where an entire team in an IT company quit because the owners didn’t want to go public with their salaries just as we did.
The ones who disagreed called this move controversial, but as we see it, it got people to start talking more about this theme that has been hidden for far too long. We have started to see more and more companies follow in our footsteps in one way or another, and that is exactly what we wanted to happen.
I am sure that this will soon become normal in other companies as well. Just as we have all embraced remote work because of the pandemic, and now companies that do not offer their employees this opportunity have big problems with hiring new and retaining existing people — it will be the same with public salaries. Whoever won’t have it will choose the harder path.
Just the beginning
The benefits of this decision are immense. From more direct internal and external communication, easier recruitment, faster advancement, clear expectations for each position, clearer focus on more important topics, higher quality products we work on, more responsibility, much higher levels of transparency…
Simply, when things like salaries, which have always been one of the biggest taboo topics that should never be discussed… when you make it public, then the implementation of all the other things becomes much easier. You can open your business to team members and explain to them how things work at all levels – when everyone has access to everything and they understand what affects what, then it’s easy to explain every decision that’s made, whether it’s easy or difficult.
When you publicly announce everyone’s salaries, the talents you are trying to recruit can put much more focus on presenting themselves in the best possible light, rather than thinking about that incoming question about salary expectations.
This situation also showed us that salaries are not the most important thing thing employees look at when choosing the company they want to work for, at least not in the IT industry. People also want to know what type of projects they’ll be working on, with whom will they collaborate and learn from, and, maybe more importantly, will they be able to grow.
Younger generations value flexibility, communication and the culture of the company more than the financial aspect, which is, of course, still important, but not as much as it used to be.
At the beginning, all of this looked like an experiment of some sort, but now it has become one of the main pillars of Bornfight – it helped the company and our people to grow much quicker and easier, and we hope this will become the norm in other companies as well.
However, we still have much to learn and do if we want to compete with the salaries of Western European companies – which is our ultimate goal, and that is why this is all just a beginning.
A detailed overview of salary levels in Bornfight for each position and seniority level is available on our Careers page, so hop over there and check them out. And if you want to become a part of Bornfight, send us an open application.