Towards the end of 2018, I broke away from the London Java market to embark on a fresh Berlin Java Developer recruiting operation here at Understanding Recruitment.
Building something from scratch has its challenges, however, myself and the growing team knew we had Java recruiting expertise that would benefit tech companies in Berlin. Of course, there were still the apprehensions of stepping into the unknown. Sometimes I found myself asking the question, were we relevant here?!
Every tech hub has its nuances, but recruitment will always be recruitment wherever you are in the world, but I did find people in Berlin to be open, honest, and happy to work with you providing you are offering a niche product that can cut through the noise (In our case this was Java, just in Berlin, and only the best). Our pure specialism approach has really helped us because let’s face it, people only use external agencies when they really need to. When it is business-critical. When you really need a service, you want the peace of mind that it can deliver and do the best job. If you really need Elbow surgery, you choose the surgeon who does Elbow surgeries all day every day. Not the one who does a bit of Elbow, Heads, and Knees and as a result dilutes their expertise. When it counts specialism always wins, and with a small team we have used this to build up a valuable network that can be mobilized at any time – and the whole network is relevant to our current and future clients.
In 2019 I have had to manage and train up new recruits myself and say goodbye to some great recruiting talent all in a constantly moving market. I wanted to highlight some trends that I have noticed about the Berlin Java market in 2019 that I think could give us an idea to what 2020 might look like.
The Powerful Candidate
There are more Java Developer vacancies in Berlin than Java Developers – and in 2019 this gap has intensified. The hiring landscape has given more power to the candidate, so if a Java Developer is actively looking, they have more options than ever, and are on the market for a shorter amount of time. Berlin companies have had to adapt to create more sophisticated and quicker interview processes, and we have had to educate on the growing demand for our Java network. It still has not reached the levels of London where if you are a strong Java Developer who starts looking around on a Monday morning, you will have interviews booked in by lunchtime and could find yourself signing a new contract within 7 to 14 days. I feel Berlin will move in that way especially as numerous heavyweights are opening tech hubs in Berlin over the next couple of years – I am sure Elon Musk will have something to do with it…
The German language is more of a plus now
When the team and I came into the Berlin market it was very international and most tech teams were international speaking. However, this year the ones who required fluent German have struggled more than ever to find and hire top German-speaking tech talent. This has led some companies to relax their German-speaking requirements with some parts of the team being English speaking. However, if done incorrectly some Software Developers can feel alienated when there are languages being spoken that they do not understand. It seems trivial but it is us tech recruiters who speak to these Software Developers when they want to leave. It happens!
Relocation Perks never looked so good!
In 2019, 56% of our placements were in Berlin already whilst 44% relocated. People relocated from the EU Block, Egypt, Iran, Ukraine, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil. Someone looking for a move to Berlin has now numerous lucrative relocation packages to choose from, and it is not just the Unicorns offering it anymore. We have seen some impressive temporary accommodation being offered, big relocation lump sums up front, moving costs covered, and close and personal support to help you settle into your new surroundings. Some companies are really going the extra mile to help candidates with the emotional side of relocating to a new city.
Berlin currently ranks 10th globally for Unicorns with 11 and is still regarded as the 2nd largest Tech Hub in Europe behind London. Furthermore, between 2014 and 2018 there was €474 million in investment per Capita, so there is still plenty of room for Berlin to grow (Stat from Dealroom).
Although it is a mature tech hub it can still “mature” a hell of a lot more, and the hiring process of Java Developers and tech teams, in general, will not be excluded from this exciting maturing process!
Bring on 2020!!!