It’s a good time to be a jobseeker in European tech. On the back of a record year for VC investment, competition for top talent among an ever-growing crop of well-funded startups has stepped up, and candidates are being tempted with increasingly weighty pay packets.
More than half the respondents to Sifted’s recent reader survey on hiring told us their startup has begun to offer higher salaries in the past 12 months, as they looked to lure tech’s brightest and best away from rival suitors.
But it’s data scientists in particular that should be rubbing their hands together, according to jobs platform Otta.
In the last 12 months, salaries advertised on job listings for mid-level data scientists in the UK — which Otta defines as having three to four years of experience — have seen the biggest increase, rising a healthy 16%, from £53.5k to £62k.
Senior data scientists — five to eight years of experience — also cashed in and saw companies increase their average offer 11%, from £72.5k to £80.5k.
Salaries for those roles are rising because the gap between tech companies that have a handle on their data and those that don’t is growing, says founder of recruitment company Juggle Jobs Romanie Thomas.
“Data scientists are the ones who can bridge this gap and help companies to make sense of the vast amount of data they store.” she adds. “[Without data scientists] they'll be left behind.”
Founders and technical leaders in startups also say that data scientists are key in getting the right products developed on time.
Interestingly, although tech companies seem keen to line the pockets of data scientists, just 16% of Sifted readers told us they struggled to hire for roles in that field. Nearly two thirds, however, said that filling engineering jobs was a challenge. Granted, the salary data from Otta only covers the UK and Sifted’s responses came from across Europe.
Salaries advertised on Otta job listings for mid-level engineers rose 9% to £64k, and senior engineers also saw wages climb 5%, to £90k.
Engineers at all levels are some of the most difficult roles to hire for, Otta cofounder and CEO Sam Franklin says, judging by the number of roles listed in that category and what Otta hears from companies that use its platform. Sales and talent people are also hard to hire, he adds, as are product designers and managers.
Roles for the latter have seen a considerable increase in advertised salary in the past year, too, and pay for mid-level product managers climbed 9% to £65k. Wages for product leaders — which Otta defines as having nine or more years of experience — also rose 9%, to £123k.
Salaries are rising most in mid-level to senior roles, says Franklin, because of the nature of running a fast-growing company.
“[Fast-growing companies] want to hire people with experience who can hit the ground running,” he tells Sifted. “As a founder it's super helpful when you can hire someone who can take ownership from day one rather than requiring a lot of coaching.”
Is equity dead?
In our community survey to Sifted readers about hiring in the current climate, just 23.5% of respondents told us that they thought receiving equity or shares was a main priority for candidates when looking for a new job.
Roughly 25% of the 17,000 UK jobs listed on Otta explicitly reference equity or shares — which is similar to last year, says Franklin, but adds he’d be “very surprised” if the other 75% didn’t offer it.
“I don't think we've seen evidence of people focusing less on equity in their employee value proposition,” he tells Sifted. But there are signs that candidates care less about picking up a piece of the startup they work at, he adds.
“Many candidates we speak to say they are driven more by mission-driven work rather than maximising compensation,” Franklin says. “And when they do talk about compensation, the conversation is focused around salary, pension and healthcare [rather than equity].”