Bonus report: What’s the secret to successfully hiring developers? Our 2023 Europe Developer Hiring Report is now live.
Europe Report: State of the Software Developer Nation
It’s been an extremely challenging year for Europe’s tech industry: An ongoing war in 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 having to do more with less. Software developers are entering a different job market in 2023 than they’ve become accustomed to during 2021’s tech boom.
Amid so much uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to see 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:
- While VC investments are down year on year, German and Dutch startups are still raising more than they did pre-pandemic.
- Startups and early stage companies remain the primary job engines in European tech and have been less affected by the funding cooldown than their later stage peers.
- The majority of European developers remain open to exploring new opportunities.
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.
European Tech Trends
Europe’s tech industry is feeling the pinch of the market downturn and a cooling global economy.
Europe’s tech industry is feeling the pinch of the market downturn
Approximately 8% of developers in Europe were retrenched last year
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. Among widespread hiring slow-downs and hiring freezes, there’ve also been significant layoffs.
7.5% of European developers report having been retrenched in the past year. While mass layoffs in Europe haven't reached the same proportions as in the US, the data might be misleading: a significant number of lost developer jobs could not be showing up in these statistics.
This lack of data is due to European labour laws and companies response to these laws. The current laws make it difficult to lay off employees, especially in countries like Germany and France. As a result, some companies try the route of voluntary departures and individual settlements.
Developers are facing a changing job market in 2023
Despite the cool-down, 1 in 3 developers are looking to change roles this year
Developers are entering a very different job market in 2023 to what they experienced 12 months ago. While there remains great career opportunities for skilled software developers, there’s now more competition for job vacancies too.
While some companies have slowed down or even stopped hiring altogether, those remaining stable businesses who are able to hire now are facing less competition for the best tech talent. They can afford to be more selective in their hiring decisions, which means job search timelines may increase.
Despite a changing job market, 1 in 3 developers are still looking to change roles this year.
It’s become even more important for job seekers to do their due diligence when assessing a potential company. This includes questions about a company’s finances, speaking to past and present employees, and checking public datasets for funding information.
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Developers are leaving in search of better salaries
Reasons developers leave a role
Developers leave for better compensation, or because of poor management and wellbeing prioritisation. Companies who don’t ensure their team members see clear avenues for progression, both financially and skills wise, will face an uphill battle to retain their team members.
In the new macroeconomic climate, developers need to benchmark their compensation to realistic standards. One of the effects of the changing job market are on job package expectations. During the tech boom in 2021, salaries and job packages skyrocketed. In 2022, this trend started equalising again and is now finding its way back to pre-pandemic levels.
Senior developers in Germany earn a median salary of €63900
What median salaries can developers in Europe expect at different career levels?
Data from job ads in 2023 show junior developers in Germany earn a median salary of €40 300, which rises to €55 100 at the mid level and again to €63 900 per year once they become seniors.
Junior developers in the Netherlands earn a median annual salary of €42 900, rising to €57 800 at the mid-career level and again to €70 300 for seniors.
Developers based in the United Kingdom earn some of the highest salaries in Europe starting at €48 500 for juniors and rising to €73 800 for seniors.
Data provided by OfferZen data partner TalentUp
"We expect demand for software developers to remain high in 2023. This is driven by factors including the adoption of new technologies, digital transformation initiatives across industries, increased reliance on software solutions, and the need to address cybersecurity challenges. As a result, developers with skills in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing may see demand for their skillsets continue to rise."
Jordi Arcas, CEO of TalentUp
1 in 8 European developers received a salary increase of over 50% when they moved jobs
The majority of developers received salary increases of more than 10% when they made their last job change. 1 in 8 even received a massive bump of 50% on their previous salaries! By contrast, staying in the same job and going through its annual review cycle granted 61.8% of developers an increase below 10%.
That's not to say that changing jobs frequently will lead to a great career. While demand for skilled developers remains high, companies might be willing to overlook someone's job search behaviour. Eventually though, a track record of job hopping might make companies cautious about hiring.
Furthermore, as the tech hiring market returns to pre-tech-boom levels, developers may find negotiating the same large salary increases previously on offer harder.
Despite having the option to work internationally, developers are staying local
Developers are choosing to stay close to the office
The majority of developers in Europe can work internationally with 1 in 4 even having the opportunity to work in another time zone. Despite this, more than half of developers live in the same city that their company is based in.
There are a few possible reasons for developers staying local.
One might be that companies still prefer to hire developers based in the same city.
Another could be that developers want the option to work remotely but may prefer to stay rooted in one location due to family or other commitments.
Developers may also choose to stay local because it gives them the option to come to an office and interact with their team members. We can see this in their remote preferences.
Developers want to meet their peers in real life
The majority of European developers are working at companies with a hybrid work policy and also prefer this setup. Only 3.4% still work in fully-office based environments.
So what makes hybrid so popular? One reason may be that it gives developers the flexibility to work remotely some of the time, while still allowing them opportunities to collaborate with their team in person.
The hard thing about remote? Regular peer interactions and maintaining healthy boundaries
Software engineers' biggest remote challenges
Remote work has many benefits ranging from no commute to better productivity, but coming to the office some of the time might address a few of remote work’s challenges. Developers’ top remote struggles include the lack of human interaction with co-workers, the challenge in keeping personal and professional life separate, and looming burnout.
It's important for both employers and teams to find strategies to deliberately stay connected, and champion work-life boundaries, which can help improve a remote work environment.
“We’ve found that remote has made it even more important that teams can flag problems with their respective setups. What works for one squad might not make sense for the other. That’s why our work hours are set within individual teams and projects. We also have regular check-ins to discuss how our team members are doing and how we can support them better.”
Maria Sarwar, HR Manager at Omnidots
Despite the buzz, few developers have experience with AI
AI dominates as Europe’s most promising industry in 2023
The headlines have been dominated by rapid advances in AI following the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT. AI has captured developers' attention and leaves all other industries far behind. Across the continent, it’s the most promising industry in 2023.
It's safe to assume that the remaining industries on this list will be affected and influenced by further AI developments in the year ahead. As we share more data with AI tools, the importance of keeping data safe will only increase and make Cybersecurity more relevant than ever.
AI also affects the Cloud Tech sector as businesses like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google continue to invest heavily in AI’s potential.
The majority of European developers haven’t worked with AI as part of their role
The release of Open AI's ChatGPT and trial versions of Open AI tools like Codex and GPT-tools give developers a chance to explore the possibilities of AI. However, this may not immediately translate into using AI as part of their roles. Despite AI's overwhelming lead as the most promising industry for developers in Europe, the majority has not yet built with it. This includes APIs, machine learning models, and code-writing assistants.
German developers seem to be the exception to this rule: Nearly half of them have worked with AI in the past year.
Of the developers that have used AI, the majority has done so in their personal capacity rather than at work. This reflects a commitment to levelling up and honing their craft to stay on the cutting edge of their field – which is not uncommon among developers. Ourur 2021 Netherlands and South Africa reports showthat the majority of developers code as a hobby, beyond their 9-5.
Software engineer skills
AWS is redefining the art of the cloud war
AWS is Europe's most-used cloud platform
Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are the three top competitors in the cloud wars, but AWS is the clear leader across the continent.
With Amazon establishing an unassailable lead, the battle is heating up for second place. Azure may hold second place overall, but Google Cloud Platform takes second among German developers.
Company size also matters: While Microsoft’s Azure Platform is the most used platform among Europe’s enterprise companies, Google Cloud Platform is the most used platform by European startups with fewer than 10 employees.
Most wanted programming languages
Most used programming languages
Unsurprisingly, this is followed by its superset TypeScript in second place. The duopoly’s dominance extends to frontend and full stack developers.
On the backend, however, Java is the most used language in Europe, including two of its largest powerhouses, the Netherlands and Germany.
TypeScript is Europe's most-wanted language, but German and Dutch developers are keen on Python
Despite TypeScript’s continental popularity, Python remains the most wanted language for developers based in Germany and the Netherlands. Google-developed Go comfortably beats Python as backend developers' most wanted language in 2023, with another developer favourite, Rust, in third place.
Backend developers aren’t the only ones keen on Rust: 1 in 10 frontend developers indicate a desire to become Rustaceans in the near future.
React is the most-used framework in Europe
At the top of the pile is React, which is used by over a third of European developers and 37.7% of German and 28.4% of Netherlands-based developers.
Node.js follows in second place with Java framework Spring Boot taking third.
Among frontend developers, Next.js narrowly beats Node.js to second place.
React and Next.js are battling it out for the title of most-wanted framework
React may be the most-used framework, but it faces stiff competition from Vercel-created Next.js for the title of most-wanted framework. In fact, less than 0.2% separates React from Next.js.
Despite full stack developers still being keen on vanilla React, Europe’s frontend developers show a clear preference for powering their React projects with Next.js.
“Over time React has become so omnipresent that it’s now the standard we compare new technologies to. What I think really sets React apart though is its community. In the five years I’ve been organising Berlin’s React meetup, I’ve seen a shared enthusiasm that makes our community more than just a group of tech enthusiasts. Everyone, from newcomers to regulars, is excited to learn about the newest development in the field and also share their experiences. All of this creates a diverse mix of perspectives and brings people and resources to learn from and battle-test ideas with.”
Robin Pokorný, React Berlin Meetup Organiser
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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.
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.
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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