Europe's software engineering landscape is home to an estimated 3 million professionals, although finding the right talent for specific roles can be challenging. While major cities like London and Paris have a high concentration of software engineers, the availability of specific skill sets varies across different locations throughout the continent. Recognizing this need, venture capital giant Sequoia has developed Atlas, an online interactive tool designed to assist not only its own portfolio founders but also the general public.
Atlas leverages a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, including surveys, interviews, and aggregated data from reliable sources such as Dealroom, SeekOut, Remote, Ledgy, and GitHub. Its primary objective is to provide insights into the current technical talent landscape in Europe, covering the 27 European Union member states, the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
While London ranks highest in terms of overall volume of engineers and across various disciplines such as AI, DevOps, and security, Atlas takes a different approach. It recognizes that cities with the highest concentration of talent may not necessarily be the best for sourcing specific skills. Instead, the tool highlights cities with the densest per-capita talent concentration in specialized areas, showcasing two dozen European cities and their respective density spikes in 14 specialization fields.
For example, Atlas reveals that Dublin excels in AI talent, with a significantly higher percentage of engineers specializing in AI compared to its general engineering quality. Other notable findings include Germany, particularly Stuttgart and Munich, emerging as hotspots for robotics, drones, and autonomous vehicles, and Gothenburg in Sweden standing out for its systems engineers. Helsinki, on the other hand, boasts a thriving community of top gaming and graphics engineers.
While Atlas provides valuable visual indicators of talent density, it intentionally avoids direct percentage comparisons between cities. Instead, it categorizes cities into "notable," "standout," and "top city" groups to emphasize the differences in density. The tool also considers the correlation between specialization density and engineer quality, as reflected in GitHub star ratings. The relative abundance of talent in a specific skillset makes cities with outlier talent density attractive for recruiting.
Atlas can aid startups in identifying high-volume hubs that may not be immediately apparent, such as Madrid, which boasts the highest number of engineers across all specializations outside of London and Paris. Users can explore specific hubs to assess the volume of engineers, primary and secondary skills, percentage of female engineers, number of accelerators, and the overall "tech ecosystem value."
While Atlas offers valuable insights, it would benefit from providing clearer data sourcing. For instance, the "tech ecosystem value" of Vilnius is listed as €9.3 billion, but the exact derivation of this figure remains unclear. Sequoia confirmed that this data was sourced from Dealroom, which calculates ecosystem value based on valuations of startups within the ecosystem. Enhancing transparency by including clickable on-screen icons to indicate data sources would further improve the tool's credibility.
Atlas not only aids in locating specialized talent in robotics, hardware, and systems engineering but also serves remote-first companies seeking to establish satellite offices or even their headquarters. Startups, scaleups, and tech recruiters can utilize the tool to determine optimal locations for their headquarters or evaluate their remote and hybrid work strategies. As the remote-work trend persists, Atlas provides valuable insights for striking a balance between in-person and remote teams.
After a year of development, Atlas is now publicly available. However, it raises the question of how effectively it will adapt to the evolving European tech workforce and shifting attitudes toward remote, hybrid, and office-based work in the coming years. The response from founders will shape the future updates and relevance of Atlas as a living reflection of Europe's tech talent ecosystem.
Sequoia's intention for Atlas is to gauge the response from founders and hiring teams to determine its usefulness and potential for future updates. As the tool gains traction, it has the potential to become a dynamic and evolving resource that accurately reflects the ever-changing European tech talent ecosystem.
The European tech workforce is a dynamic and diverse landscape, constantly influenced by emerging technologies, shifting market demands, and evolving work preferences. Atlas can play a vital role in helping startups and companies adapt to these changes by providing valuable insights into talent distribution, skill concentrations, and emerging hubs across the continent.
Founders can leverage Atlas to make informed decisions about the optimal location for their headquarters or satellite offices, considering factors such as talent density, specialization, and the overall tech ecosystem value. Additionally, the tool can assist in shaping strategies around remote and hybrid work models, which have gained significant prominence in recent times.
The remote-work trend shows no signs of slowing down, and as companies continue to embrace distributed teams and flexible work arrangements, the ability to identify talent-rich locations becomes increasingly valuable. Atlas empowers founders to strike the right balance between in-person and remote workforces, ensuring access to specialized skills while maintaining operational efficiency.
Furthermore, Atlas's ability to highlight cities that excel in specific specializations allows startups to tap into local talent pools and overcome the challenges posed by competition from established tech giants. For early-stage companies, having a higher concentration of specialized talent in a specific city can be advantageous, even if the total number of engineers is lower compared to larger tech hubs.
The success of startups often hinges on their ability to attract and retain top talent. With Atlas, founders gain a comprehensive understanding of talent landscapes, enabling them to align their hiring strategies with the unique dynamics of each city and specialization. By leveraging the tool's insights, companies can position themselves as attractive destinations for highly skilled professionals and gain a competitive edge in the talent market.
As Atlas continues to evolve, it has the potential to become an indispensable resource for the European tech community. The ongoing updates and refinements to the tool will ensure its relevance and accuracy, catering to the changing needs of founders, startups, and hiring teams across the continent. By providing actionable insights into talent distribution and emerging trends, Atlas contributes to the growth and innovation of the European tech ecosystem as a whole.