The defining asset of every leading technology company is their talent.

At Balderton, our job is to provide capital to support European-founded technology companies at Series A.That capital enables those companies to attract, and retain, world-leading talent and get the best out of them. As a result, we’ve been fortunate to have learned a lot about what it takes to identify, attract and retain people.In December of 2016 we published the European Talent Landscape report, in which set out to identify where people working in European technology companies come from, what experience they have, and what they expect in their roles.  

The Research covers:

  • Which hubs dominate the tech landscape
  • Which hires are the most difficult to find
  • Variations in pay across hubs
  • Average time-to-hire for senior talent
  • Biggest challenges in talent hiring

Our approach

We developed the research by profiling almost 15,000 employees in over 1,000 venture-backed companies in Europe, and by working closely with a select group of recently launched start-ups.We have learnt that the talent market in Europe can vary massively. Pay for similar roles can range by four times, from Lisbon to Geneva.  We learnt that seed stage companies in London are generally able to hire twice as many people as their counterparts in Berlin.But there are also many similarities across Europe’s hubs, from the time it takes to hire, to the challenges facing HR.We’ve also tracked how the talent pool has changed. Over half the talent pool in European tech now has experience working in at least one major tech company or startup, and similar cities such as Amsterdam and Stockholm easily rival London and Paris when it comes to the density of engineers.On top of that, we’ve worked with our own portfolio companies to understand how European companies go about recruiting global talent, the challenges they face, and the time and cost of hiring at different seniority levels. This can provide guidance to new founders, and experienced HRs, alike.

The European Talent Landscape

Research into the tech workforce in EuropeGet the Research

The Portfolio view

In addition to surveying our Portfolio, we also interviewed CEOs on their Talent experience through growth phases. 

Chris Morton, Founder, Lyst

Chris Morton, the founder of portfolio company Lyst, looked at scaling, fixing and pivoting, answering questions such as:

  • When starting out, what’s more important: flexibility or five-year plans?
  • How Lyst maintains consistency in hiring after a large fundraise

Chris Morten of Lyst (centre) speaks on stage at the 2018 Balderton CEO Collective, along with Nikolay Storonsky of Revolut (left) and James Hind of Carwow (right).

Graham Cooke, CEO, Qubit

Graham Cooke, CEO of portfolio company Qubit looked at scaling culture from seed to C, answering questions including:

  • Whether each new round of funding heralds a different approach to hiring
  • Whether the hiring strategy at Qubit comes down to company culture fit
  • What the ‘after-hire’ process looks like
  • How the review system works

Graham Cooke, CEO of Qubit (far right), speaks on stage at the 2018 Balderton CEO Collective, along with Olivier Pailhès of Aircall (far left), Heini Zachariassen of Vivino, and Maria Raga of Depop.

Brian Garret, Founder, 3DHubs

Brian Garret, Founder of portfolio company 3DHubs, looked at approaches to trying new company structures, answering questions including:

  • What a holacracy is, and why 3DHubs chose it as an organisational model
  • How 3DHubs implemented their holacracy
  • How 3DHubs makes decisions as an organisation, and who is involved
  • Why 3DHubs chose to switch the model, and when they made that decision
  • How 3DHubs tracks organisational efficiency

Brian Garret (right), Bram de Zwart (left) and the team at 3DHubs

Share your thoughts

While not exhaustive, this report is intended to provide insight into how companies grow from seed stage upwards, and to help new founders and experienced recruiters to make great hires.We would love to get your feedback on further areas to look into.Please contact James Wise, the original author of the report. Or Kiana Sharifi, Balderton’s Head of Talent. This report was published in December, 2016