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2023 Report

Developer Hiring Trends in Europe

In this report

Developer retention

European employers are feeling the bite of a downturn in the tech hiring market — retention of your developers matters more than ever. How can you achieve a better retention rate? Pay attention to salaries and good management.



It’s been an extremely challenging year for Europe’s tech industry: An ongoing war in the Ukraine was followed by an energy crisis, rising inflation and interest rates. In the tech market, we’ve seen sudden difficulties in fund-raising after record growth during the pandemic and mass layoffs in the US that also reached Europe.

It’s a time of needing to do more with less. Software developers are entering a different job market in 2023 than they’ve come accustomed to during 2021’s tech boom.

Amid so much uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to find the signal in the noise. I hope that our data reports will help do their part to support you as you navigate these uncertain times.

Despite the challenges, there does seem to be reason to be cautiously optimistic:

That means tech companies with solid business models still continue to grow and have a strong pool of talent to hire from. It also means skilled developers still have exciting opportunities to explore.

I hope that this report will help to fuel meaningful conversations in the European developer community and give companies the data they need to support their tech teams in building thriving careers.

Philip Joubert
OfferZen Co-founder and CEO
Philip Joubert
OfferZen Co-founder and CEO

Developer retention

European employers are feeling the bite of a downturn in the tech hiring market — retention of your developers matters more than ever. How can you achieve a better retention rate? Pay attention to salaries and good management.

European companies take a knock from the downturn in the tech market

'Have you been retrenched in 2022?'

The past twelve months have been tough for the global tech industry and Europe has not been immune to the ongoing cool-down and reduction in VC funding. 7.5% of European developers report having been retrenched in the past year.

While mass layoffs haven't reached the same dimensions as in the US, it's not quite time for optimism. A significant number of lost developer jobs could be missing in retrenchment statistics because of European labour laws and the way some companies respond to it.

The structure of European labour law makes it harder to lay off workers, especially in countries like Germany and France. As a result, some companies that need to scale down have tried the route of voluntary departures and individual settlements.

However, despite the downturn in tech, there's still demand for excellent skills, which we'll explore next.

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"We expect demand for software developers to remain high in 2023. Factors affecting current levels of demand for developers include the adoption of new technologies, digital transformation initiatives across industries, increased reliance on software solutions, and the need to address cybersecurity challenges."

Jordi Arcas, CEO of TalentUp

1 in 3 developers want to change roles this year despite the cool-down

Developers' career timelines

During seven years of running OfferZen, we've seen that developers often change jobs every 2-3 years, and are continuously looking for new challenges and scope to grow. From our latest data, this seems to continue even when the economic outlook is uncertain.

A time of decreasing job security doesn't necessarily mean that developers want to hold on to their current jobs. The majority of developers have been in their current role for under 2 years, and yet, just over a third of developers in Europe are looking to move jobs this year.

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Follow the money: Developers leave for better salaries

Developers' reasons to leave a role

So, developers are on the lookout for new job opportunities but hiring budgets may shrunk. That means employers need to put extra focus on retention.

A better salary and poor management are the top reasons developers leave their roles in Europe. Most developers get an increase of more than 10% when they switch jobs, with 1 in 8 even getting a whopping 50% increase. Investing in competitive salary packages for your current team is therefore first prize for retaining talent.

If big increases aren't currently possible for your team, it's vital to look at the other factors developers care about, such as good management, work-life balance, and career growth.

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Resources on developer salaries:

Developer salary hub
Developer salary trends in Germany
Backend developer salary trends in the Netherlands
Frontend developer salary trends in the Netherlands

Developers want flexibility to work from home and see their peers

Fully remote
Fully office-based

Poor work-life balance ranks third on the top reasons developers leave a role. Particularly since the pandemic, remote work has a big role to play here. From our remote report, we know that the majority of developers see the option work from home as an opportunity to better control their environment and time management.

The majority of European developers lean toward hybrid over a fully remote set-up. This especially makes sense when looking at the most common remote challenge that developers face: a lack of day-to-day interaction. Offering developers the choice to work from home or an office space, and creating deliberate ways to connect, both online and in-person, can make a big difference to your team's well-being.

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“When hiring, a lot of people want to know, do we get together? Do we have meetups and how often does that happen? Does the team ever do anything fun? It’s really important to have these structures in place, as well as good tools to facilitate communication when working remotely. It can be quite lonely just sitting in front of your computer all day.”

Mike Holmes, Head of Development at Brsk

Career growth should come with a clear path to a higher salary

Developers' sentiments on growth

In 2023, just over a third of European developers don't feel like they can grow at their current company. This is bad news for many employers: From previous reports, we know that confidence in their growth potential is a crucial factor for developers when deciding to stay in a job.

What can you do to retain your developers? Offer challenging projects together with a clear idea of the earning potential they can still tap into. Be sure to regularly check in with your developers on these factors to find out whether you're providing enough opportunities for growth.

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Developers stay local despite having the option to work internationally

Same country as my company
Anywhere in the world
Any country within the same/similar time zones
Same city as the company

The vast majority of developers in Europe have flexible remote policies within their teams. More than half of them can even work internationally! Despite this, 52% of developers work in the same city that they live in.

This could link into developers' hybrid preference or to many companies still choosing to hire local.  It's worth keeping in mind that a local hiring policy that requires developers to come into the office will drastically limit your available talent pool.

A solution we've seen work is optional office or co-working spaces. Providing a space for your team to connect addresses a major developer pain point about remote and gives you the freedom to hire more broadly.

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“The capacity in any given market is limited, and the availability of certain skills can differ widely between markets. At some point, you will experience your hiring slowing down. Then you need to find more opportunities to meet the goals and demands of the business."

Daria Mikolaevskaia, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Mobiquity

Growing your developer team

Transparency is essential to attracting developers and should be front and centre throughout your hiring process. 46% of developers won't apply to a job ad without a salary range.

Growing your developer team

Transparency is the secret to attracting new talent

Almost 50% of developers won't apply to a job ad without an upfront salary

'If a job ad doesn't display salary range, would you still apply?'

Despite the cool-down in tech, many companies with solid foundations are still hiring. If you're growing your team, it's crucial to pay attention to which aspects of your hiring process might be costing you candidates.

The secret to attracting new talent? A good place to start is salary transparency, as shown by the number of developers who won't even consider a role without salary details. If salary isn't at the front and centre of your job ads, you could be losing out on 46% of applicants.

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Find the 46% of developers that ignored your job ads

On OfferZen, your role's salary information gets shared with developers upfront. It's how we achieved a 96% response rate.

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Being lowballed on salary is a top interview pain point

What developers dislike in the hiring process

We know from previous reports that developers will opt out of hiring processes if they have a bad experience. If you don't want to lose top candidates in your own process, it's worthwhile having a look at developers' pet peeves.

One of the most sure ways to lose out on talent is not offering market-related salaries. Even if you're bound by internal budget constraints, there's other factors in your control. Too many steps in the hiring process, as well as being asked irrelevant technical questions, are other major pain points for developers.

Aligning on salary from the get-go will save both you and the candidate’s time, helping to prevent any surprises further down the line that can turpedo your process. Also keep in mind that many developers juggle multiple interview processes at a time. A drawn-out process can see you lose out on candidates to your speedier competitors.

Be sure to check in with your hiring team to regularly review your hiring process and see where you can make improvements. Asking candidates for direct feedback on your process is also a good way to keep your finger on the pulse on what to improve, and what to keep doing.

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Developers want transparency about your roles, interview process and salaries

What developers appreciate in the hiring process

Transparency and clear communication can set you apart when it comes to the rest of your hiring process too. Information on the role and your interview process is the top factor that developers appreciate in a hiring process, followed closely by companies being upfront about what they'll pay. Also make sure to brief developers in advance on the interview coming up, which stands out as a top factor among female developers.

Developers are often too short on time to consider an array of opportunities. Clearly communicating your offering can shoot you to the top of their shortlist. We see that senior developers value transparency even more than their less experienced peers, likely because they have less time to consider opportunities that aren't a good match.

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"When candidates drop out of a hiring process, it's usually because the hiring manager hasn't been communicating transparently. It’s important to keep in mind that candidates often interpret a lack of communication as negative news, so it's better to explain delays proactively. Sudden changes in things like the offered salary or remote policies are red flags for developers."

Janine Leitner, Account Manager at OfferZen

A bad hiring process has lasting effects on your company reputation


A great hiring process is an investment in your employer brand: The developer community is tight-knit, and they talk to each other about their experiences. 80% of developers report sharing their hiring experiences with their peers. Almost 89% rely on word-of-mouth to do so, while more than half also share their experiences publicly.

A bad hiring experience therefore not only impacts your current pipeline, but future applicants as well. On the other hand, making sure that your hiring process ticks all the boxes for developers can mean you receive more inbound applications and interest in your brand.

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Your current team are ambassadors for your culture

How developers assess culture

While scaling your team, never neglect your current team's experiences of what it's like to work for you. Developers turn to their peers as a window into what it might be like to work with you: Speaking to existing employees is the top way that developers assess your culture.

This is followed by your interview process itself. Always keep in mind that interviewing is a two-way street, and everything you do in your process can have an impact on whether you land a successful hire.

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“I think a lot of people look for reasons to fail candidates, rather than reasons to tie them in. It’s all about the candidate walking away going, ‘Wow, they were nice to interview at. I want to work for them.’”

Brian Blignaut, Chief Expertise Officer at Equal Experts

Putting together a compelling job package

Hiring top developers can help drive profitability for your product. A compelling job package entails bonuses and pension contributions.

Putting together a compelling job package

Bonuses and pension contributions make for a stand-out offer

Offering bonuses can make you stand out

Developers' most important monetary benefits

In the current market, building solid products with excellent talent can help drive profitability for a business. To do that, you need to make an offer that resonates with quality developer talent.

So, what does a great offer mean to developers? Let's look at monetary benefits first. Bonuses stand out as the top desired benefit for European developers, followed by pension contributions, training budgets, and equity.

That said, monetary benefits shouldn't dominate the conversation with prospective hires. Looking at the big picture that includes non-monetary benefits and exciting work can mean the difference between a good offer and a standout one. If you work with an exciting tech stack or industry that's especially appealing to developers, be sure to highlight that in your offering.

AI is currently the most exciting industry for developers, although many have not had the chance to work with it yet in their day-to-day work. That means companies that are able to offer an opportunity to work with AI could have an advantage. Make sure you highlight projects showcasing any cutting-edge work you're doing in the field.

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Remote work options can swing an offer in your favour

Other factors for assessing job opportunities

When it comes to other non-monetary benefits, placing remote work at the forefront of your offer can be the deciding factor in whether developers accept it. It's even more important to seniors, who are more likely to be able to work independently with little supervision.

If you can't afford the most popular monetary benefits right now, paying attention to these non-monetary benefits can give you the edge you might need to secure your next hire. Be sure to highlight the positive impact these non-monetary benefits could also have on salaries during negotiations with candidates. For example, remote work saves travel costs, and generous leave policies result in more paid time off.

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A lack of flexibility leads developers to turn down offers

Reasons to turn down a job besides remuneration

Why would developers turn down a job offer? We see the role that work-life balance plays yet again, as well as the impact of community: A lack of flexibility in working hours is the top factor, followed by negative feedback from people that work there already.

To give you the best chance of getting your offer accepted, highlight flexi hours and remote options above all.

0% represents no respondents at that seniority choosing that option.

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Want more insights into the minds of developers?

What is the hottest industry according to developers? What tech stacks are they excited to work with? Read our European State of the Developer Nation Report to find out.

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Developer Hiring Playbook

To help you win at dev hiring, we're sharing winning practices, hacks and templates from 7 years of helping over 2000 companies build world-class tech teams.


The data in this report does not claim to be representative of the entire developer population in Europe. Any time the term, 'software engineer, ‘developer’ or 'software developer' is used, it refers to the group of developers who took our #DevNationSurvey between 23 February and 26 May 2023.

In cases where no data slicing occurs, all 596 valid responses were included. In order to shed light on survey participant characteristics, we’ve included the demographic breakdown of all 596 valid responses below.






Coding experience



Organisation size


OfferZen conducted a survey to find out more about skills, work experience and job search behaviour of developers. A total of 1025 people took the online survey between 23 February and 26 May 2023. Of these responses, 596 were counted as valid because they were from developers, or developers who manage other developers, and are currently living in Europe.

We hosted the survey itself on Typeform and recruited respondents via emails sent to more than 40 000 software makers in the OfferZen community and social media posts to the public. Data was anonymised in accordance with GDPR guidelines and is housed separate to any and all of OfferZen’s platform data. Percentages may not always add to 100% due to rounding.

Salary data used in this report was provided by TalentUp. It is collected from 100+ global job domains and consolidated into a single dataset. Duplicate data points have been removed and validated across data sources.

About OfferZen

OfferZen is a developer job marketplace by developers for developers. Our platform matches job-seeking developers with exciting opportunities at companies, but this effort actually encompasses a much wider mission: To help developers and their teams thrive in the tech ecosystem.

Over the last six years, this has manifested in a multitude of ways from our core business of helping developers find awesome new jobs, to hosting local maker evenings and tech events, or helping developers share their experiences on our blog. We want to help build an inclusive, transparent, and thriving tech ecosystem.

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