Lessons for Dublin as London, Paris and Berlin lead Europe’s start-up scene

6 Dec 2016

Dublin needs to make itself a more attractive destination for European developer talent. Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Dublin is trailing behind in a listing of European destinations for start-up tech talent, with London, Paris and Berlin dominating the scene.

London, Paris and Berlin are home to almost two-thirds of start-ups in Europe.

The study by Balderton Capital found that the UK proportionately attracts 31pc of European start-up talent, followed by France (19pc) and Germany (18pc).

Ireland languishes at the bottom of the list, with just a 2pc share of start-up employees in Europe.

Balderton compiled the report 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.

A highly mobile scene

Lessons for Dublin as London, Paris and Berlin lead Europe’s start-up scene

The study indicated that hiring is getting harder, with technical and product hires the toughest to find.

It depicts a highly mobile scene where tech talent flits from hub to hub.

London has a particularly mobile workforce, with 40pc of founders coming from abroad or spending considerable time overseas.

Almost 50pc of employees in European start-ups previously worked in another start-up or a large tech company, rather than in traditional professions.

For developers looking to work abroad, London is the most popular destination.

Pay is the most important denominator for potential hires, with wages for engineering roles expected to vary greatly between different European start-up cities.

The study found that it can take an average of 20 weeks and over $5,000 to hire senior tech talent, and this takes much longer where visas are concerned.

Start-ups in Europe can typically expect to scale their number of employees by a factor of 12, between seed and growth rounds.

The top companies that employees in European start-ups previously worked at include: IBM, Nokia, Microsoft, Accenture, Google, Rocket Internet, Orange, Ericsson, PwC, McKinsey, Vodafone, Philips, Deloitte, Oracle, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, eBay, HP, Siemens and SAP.

Where developers want to go


Lessons for Dublin as London, Paris and Berlin lead Europe’s start-up scene

The UK (particularly London) remains the top destination for engineering talent outside their home nation for almost all countries in Europe. The UK attracted 38pc of tech job searches followed by Germany (21pc), France (11pc) and the Netherlands.

Ireland was attractive to 3pc of tech talent who wished to work outside their home nations.

When it comes to pay, this is the one area where Ireland compares favourably for start-ups.

Lessons for Dublin as London, Paris and Berlin lead Europe’s start-up scene

Switzerland pays the most for developers with average salaries of around $91,000, followed by the UK ($70,500) and Ireland ($66,522).

Portugal languished at the bottom, with average salaries for developers at $22,549.

Lessons to be learned

The study offers a valuable insight into the status quo of start-ups in Europe and core lessons on where entrepreneurs and their tech talent wish to be based.

For Ireland, while the wages are good, it signals that the concentration of start-ups or the desirability of cities like Dublin are nowhere near where they could be or should be, despite the presence of industry giants like Google and Facebook.

Perhaps more accelerators, more corporate spin-outs and a more satisfactory capital gains tax regime could be the answer.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years