Every metropolis wants to add “tech city” to its list of attractions, but when it comes to European urban centres, many of them actually come good on the claim.
According to 2020 research from Oxford Economics, there are a large number of bona fides in the form of London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm, Madrid, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Hamburg, and Barcelona. All of these make the tech city grade based on a number of factors around their size and growth in terms of employment, in an assessment of Europe’s 100 major cities.
The study also looked at whether there is a proliferation of start-up firms within the city; whether it tends to attract capital for investment in growing technology firms; and also if there is a presence of large well-established tech companies, which then provides a pipeline attractive career paths and lasting investment.
While Europe has some catching up to do when it comes to the U.S., it is home to an increasing number of unicorn companies (aka a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion). 84 new unicorns were created in 2021, and it currently counts 130 unicorns. These have led to the creation of more than 135,000 jobs, plus a combined valuation of €370bn.
The upshot is that European countries are a great choice for those working in the tech sector. The future looks bright too, with $30bn of VC money invested in the first quarter of 2022. “European tech is on a strong trajectory, with venture capital delivering consistently benchmark-beating returns,” according to 2021’s State of European Tech report.
In addition to lots of choice when it comes to great cities for tech workers, Europe has many other advantages. New mobility for remote workers in terms of the ever-increasing number of digital nomad visas is another big plus. A number of Member States are offering visas, including Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Iceland, Germany, and Spain.
While these won’t apply in all cases if you’re already resident in the EU, they are a timely move, as a Work From Anywhere white paper revealed that 55% of companies believe that the ability to work from anywhere will be a core employee benefit over the next 10 years.
Many European locations are desirable places to live and (remote) work. Lisbon has become known as the “New Berlin” in recent years and Porto is an attractive destination for those seeking a cheaper cost of living. The local government in Madeira has also launched the Madeira Digital Nomads project, where workers will be able to live in the Nomad Village in Ponta do Sol.
Those looking for year-round sun can consider Greece. If Athens doesn’t appeal then on the island of Crete, the CreteWork project is extending the 5G network to encompass the whole island, and this has already begun to entice digital nomads.
In Prague, the central European location makes for good transport links and a strong cafe culture means WiFi is readily available. To the north in Tallinn, the Estonian capital is renowned as having one of the best free and open internet accesses in the world, according to the 2018 Freedom on the Net index. Additionally, the city is emerging as a tech hub, and as such is a good place for remote tech and knowledge workers to be.
Europe also scores well when it comes to salaries and benefits. A recent piece of research from cloud training specialists Revolent and Salesforce recruitment specialists Mason Frank International found that those looking for a highly-paid career in cloud tech should consider Switzerland, which scored the highest in a ranking of 14 countries based on average salaries for cloud professionals.
While paid time off, health care, and maternity leave provisions, for example, all differ across the bloc, most have good accommodations for their residents. EU citizens have the right to access healthcare in any EU country, and from the start of August this year, all Member States are now required to adopt EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance.
It’s called the directive on work-life balance for parents and carers, and it sets out minimum standards for paternity, parental, and carers' leave, which are in addition to existing maternity leave rights.
This all results in an environment for tech workers where mobility and freedom of choice are baked in. So, if you’re ready to find a great place in which to work for a brilliant company, then Europe has the location for you.