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Riviera Partners

Surprising Facts on Hiring in EU Versus the U.S.

Posted on Aug 11, 2022

Last year I came back to the UK to build Riviera Europe (as well as for family reasons). On the one-year anniversary, the team and I have been reflecting on the biggest differences between the U.S. and European markets.
Less surprising:

  • Candidates get and generally expect, less equity in Europe.
  • The sheer number of candidates who have seen massive scale is lower.
  • When compared to the U.S., engineering and product leaders typically earn about 20-30% less on a base salary.
    More surprising:
    -- We were expecting to do most of our work in London, Berlin, and Amsterdam, but some of the most exciting companies we’ve worked with are coming out of Paris. We’ve been lucky enough to partner with top companies, including Pricemoov, Sorare, and BeReal, and have seen massive opportunity in the French market across all stages.
    -- We often find that product leaders are more akin to program or project managers, and finding people able to build world-class product teams is harder. We expected a lower number of people who’d seen scale, but product as a function seems further behind the U.S. than engineering.
    -- From an engineering perspective, there is a much deeper ecosystem across Europe than we expected. The rise in remote and hybrid work has broadened the search location parameters. We are often asked to find someone working in European time zones, as opposed to specific locations (even at the exec level).
    -- There is an openness to people who have taken chances in different industries. Some of the best people leading at Facebook and Google in Europe have spent time at massive corporations like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, HSBC, etc.
    -- Notice periods in Europe are typically three to six months, compared to two weeks in the U.S. This wasn’t a surprise, but it has been a much more significant factor than anticipated. At the rate some companies are scaling, they don’t want to wait three months, let alone six.
    -- Relocating people to Europe from the U.S. is often easier than asking people to move countries within Europe.
    There is so much diversity in Europe, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with early-stage companies like Beauty Pie and nate, all the way through to Personio and Adevinta.

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us in our first year here; we’re happy to be part of this ecosystem and hope to add a lot of value in the coming years.

-Glenn Murphy, Managing Partner, Riviera Europe 

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