This is really interesting. In india, most startups pay insane amount of salaries, so much that an average entry level employee in a startup gets as much as 2–3 times the money of a 3–5 year experienced guy in a bigger company.
I’d argue that if you pay higher than market salaries, it’s more than fair for companies to offer smaller or even no equity stake. However, if you are paying significantly less, then it makes sense to be more generous with equity.
I have been at both sides of the table. My belief is that risk is just about the same in every company. Whether startup or a bigger one. People get fired all the time from bigger companies. Problem is, since most people in bigger companies handle very specific roles, it will be harder for them to land another job. Startup employees will find it very easy to get jobs mostly due to the diverse set of skills they’d have acquired working at startup.