Market update 2019: Engineering

The software engineering recruitment market in 2018 was more highly competitive than ever, with Bay Area start-ups having to fight tooth and nail for top talent with in-demand skillsets.

We saw particularly high demand for Head’s of Data, Head’s of Machine Learning, Head’s of Devops, Full Stack Engineers (react and python), and Front End Engineers. This trend was driven by the fact that whilst most companies had artificial intelligence / machine learning at the core of their product, the need for a well-crafted and user-engaging UI also remained paramount.

Engineers are increasingly more intrigued by (and attracted to) mission-driven sectors such as health-tech and ed-tech. Many engineers also prefer to work for companies that are close to their home, or at least for companies that offer remote working opportunities so that they can avoid long commutes. The world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency took a well publicized downturn at the beginning of the year. This led to uncertainty for engineers already working in this space, however our clients in this sector remain highly optimistic about their future growth opportunities and as such are still able to attract top talent. Companies that produce products that make peoples lives easier, such as banking, shopping, and travel, continue to do well in attracting top engineers. However, enterprise SaaS companies are overall considered safer and more recession proof from a career perspective.

An experienced software engineer in San Francisco coming on to the job market continues to be in the fortunate position of having multiple opportunities available to them. This has lead to a growing push in hiring companies to improve the candidate interview experience, and some particularly efficient companies focus their efforts on being able to make a hiring decision within a two week and three step interview process. Companies where speed is not a priority have missed out on candidates in what can be an ultra fast moving recruitment environment, as now more than ever, the relationship building side of recruiting is key. It is also more important than ever to truly understand the opportunities that engineers will be inspired by, because in such a candidate driven market it can be easy for to disengage if an opportunity does not tick all their boxes early on.

Our recruitment team here has been particularly successful in scaling machine learning engineering teams for high growth start-ups, and have been able to attract several PhD level engineers from the major Bay Area based tech companies. This is largely due to the bad publicity some of the larger tech companies have attracted, but also because earlier stage start-ups have worked hard to close the gap in base compensation, and are now paying more than we have ever seen before.

As a reminder, we cover engineering leadership searches at the manager, director and VP level, as well as helping key partners find high-performing individual contributor engineers. As always, please feel free to get in touch with us if your engineering organization needs strengthening. We can also be an asset in giving advise on how to improve the hiring process, talent mapping, diversity initiatives and more.

To discuss the current market, or get help with your hiring, please reach out to: 

Matthew McGrigor, Managing Consultant - Engineering

Dir: +1 415 549 2016