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Tech Compensation in Europe (techpays.eu)
150 points by gdaramouskas on Aug 1, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 166 comments

Please don't put "Show HN" on projects you didn't create. Show HN is specifically for sharing your own work: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html.

We've taken Show HN off the title now.

Hi! I'm building this website, but I did not submit this show HN here. I don't think the site is ready for such a submission, it's currently in alpha - very clearly marked. It's not even beta-ready yet!

The data set so far is small - limited to a few countries - and we're working behind the scenes. There are also lots of known issues, and a few data issues.

I'm hoping this site will help people in tech get a better sense on tech compensation outside regions where there's better compensation transparency like the US. I started this site after I saw the impact of my article on the trimodal compensation model had [1], but got many questions on what companies pay "Tier 3" or "Tier 2" packages in various countries.

So, to reiterate: this is heavily WIP, we've got lots of work to do, and we're planning to add more countries, one at a time. Eventually covering all of Europe, and then beyond! One day I hope it will be ready for a proper "Show HN" submission. That day is not today :)

Also, I reached out to dang to remove it from Show HN as it’s not submitted by someone who did the project (and not ready for such a submission)

[1] https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/software-engineering-sala...

Hi Gergely, thanks for bringing salary transparency to the EU! Some of those numbers make me consider moving back ;)

Since this is early stage here is something for your consideration: so far I'm not very keen on how many of these websites account for equity/RSU in the salary information. For example, during my first 4 years at FAANG, my salary increased 50% due to stock appreciation alone. But the I faced a cliff where my comp went down after the 4th year. How to represent this data accurately?

If I introduce my comp at hire I'll discount how much I truly earned during that period. But if I introduce my data on the 4th year that'll give a distorted view of how much engineers at that level usually make. It will also discount the fact that my salary went down afterwards.

I don't know the answer but it feels difficult to capture with a single number a compensation package with a large and very volatile component.

> How to represent this data accurately?

One useful approximation - look at the grant values of your RSU grants. That is exactly how much your employer values you and is willing to pay you. Appreciation or depreciation of that grant is beyond your direct control.

They didn't offer to do another equity round after year 4? I really wonder what their motivation there is, it is almost as though they are incentivizing people to quit at that point.

They did, but my new grants came in 2021, when stock was at the highest. Stock price more than 3x in the 4 years after I joined. Now my grants are worth less than when they were granted. So I got overpaid for a few years and now I'm getting underpaid. They supplemented me with new grants but those won't kick in until next year. But hey I am still very well paid, I don't think I have much to complain about.

Ah I see, ok so then over time it sort of levels out. The big problem is always if the stock is not liquid and you want to get rid of it so if the stock is publicly traded then that's something to see as a plus and then temporary fluctuations don't matter as much (unless they are significant and going down ;) ).

Thanks! This is a tricky one as you already pointed it out.

I’m voting for simplicity: capturing the number in the point of time, and also capturing whether the equity component has appreciated or depreciated.

My bet is that having the date of the submission plus data on whether this was a new offer plus the indicator of how the equity changed will give a good enough sense for the sake of using this data.

Thanks, I appreciate choosing simplicity.

As a software engineer looking to optimize for comp (among others) I'm interested in how reproducible those numbers are. If someone got lucky and their initial grant is now worth several times more that's great for them, but doesn't tell me much about what to expect for myself. I agree that filtering by new offer works best when comparing offers.

Clearly I have misunderstood the rules of Show HN and for that I am sorry.

The website was shared to me some time ago, and I have actively used the information to yield a better TC; which worked flawlessly. And I wanted to share this with the community, by using the Show HN. Apparently things don't work that way here.

Again very sorry for the wrong submission and thank you for all the work that you have done.

Then it should not be 'Show HN', presumably OP just didn't realise, but that's for showing one's own work, not someone else's.

Yes, how can we take it off? I’ve sent an email to dang.

Hi Gergo, thanks for this, and keep up the good work! It blows my mind that nothing like this exists yet that is primarily focused on the EU - tech still seems to be biased towards the US. The Tier-info is also exceedingly helpful (for those of us sad souls who are starting out in a new country and have limited information and no connections...).

I was also wondering how you are planning to cover remote jobs, because it further complicates things - maybe info about average cost of living per country would be useful. Or info about taxation. Etc.

(So for example I could see that if I move to my farm in Portugal I won't need to worry about finding a remote job which only pays €2K per month, as the cost of living there is so much lower than anywhere else in Europe.)

Maybe you could have a separate country entry for remote jobs, as long as they are available within the EU... I hope I'm banging on open doors here :)

The problem with focusing on CoL as an "excuse" for low pay is that people really overemphasize how independent they really are from the world economy. It all seems like it works out evenly until you realize that if you ever move or take a vacation, your years of hard work amount to very little.

Why build something new rather than encourage folks to submit on levels.fyi? There's already data for EU-based roles.[1]

[1]: https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html?track=Software%20Engineer&c...

An interesting question here, on Hacker News.

Why did Paul Graham build Hacker News rather than encourage the use of Digg? It already had submissions of similar types that Hacker News started with. I assume it was because things were missing off Digg that Hacker News built, and the two sites ended up serving different audiences in the end.

Why build something new rather than encourage using existing services?

Because many of us have this entrepreneurial sprit to build, and do it the way we think is a good approach, filling in for gaps on the market. Time and people then decides if it was worth it.

The most obvious answer: TechPays caters for countries not present on eg levels.fyi - see how there are no data points for eg Estonia, Hungary, Belgium etc.

Then, this site is built with an anonymous-first mindset and offers additional context on data points - like whether or not equity is liquid - which I’ve not seen before, and has localization like being able to search for The Randstad in the Netherlands.

While there is data on levels.fyi, I expect this site to get significantly more data for European countries as it’s the main focus of it. Eg it already the has the most data for the Netherlands across any data source online - more than 2,000 entries -, and I have not promoted the site, this came from running in stealth. Same with eg Hungary which just launched but it’s hard to fine any data on this country - and impossible to submit data on most similar sites for it.


Building a brand is a fine answer, but this is incorrect:

> The most obvious answer: TechPays caters for countries not present on eg levels.fyi - see how there are no data points for eg Estonia, Hungary, Belgium etc.

All three of those countries have submissions on levels.fyi.[1][2][3]

[1] Estonia: https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html?track=Software%20Engineer&c...

[2]: Hungary: https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html?track=Software%20Engineer&c...

[3]: Belgium: https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html?track=Software%20Engineer&c...

I had no idea. Always assumed it was limited to these countries listed here: https://www.levels.fyi/locations/

The point stands that I’m building an Europe-focused site, being a former hiring manager based here. Eg in Hungary, the compensation data is in HUF for most companies with local contracts. On TechPays, this information is in HUF. On levels, it seems to be in USD.

It’s a different site. I’m building it because I’d like to have something with more details on this market and because it’s a very fun side project and an excuse to keep coding.

I am glad that you are building this. Often websites are built for a US market and then try to shoehorn EU usage into it. Sometimes that works, but aside from things like currency issues you also often end up with a user base/community that is just primarily interested in the US, with very little activity around other locations. I think it would be great to have this kind of thing specifically tailored to an EU community.

Localized currencies is very useful! It seems like such an obvious thing, and yet.

Wasn’t hacker news originally ‘startup news’ and mostly around to promote discussion around startups that might help out the companies yc was investing in and help yc get more companies to invest in? And wasn’t partly it was to prove pg’s new lisp dialect?

Today it’s not so clear to me that/why it’s valuable to yc but I’m glad they find the site and its moderation.

I welcome any competition on the space.

Edited out: Levels is just full of dark patterns.

Hey, one of the founders of Levels.fyi here, anything in particular that you didn’t like that we can look into?

Sorry I just realized I confused your website with glassdoor. I just checked out levels and it seems awesome in comparison. What I like in particular is that I do not need to login, which is why I cannot use glassdoor.

You could start by not threadjacking this posting.

This is why I dislike the fight against location based pay in the U.S.

People are heated about how they add the same value whether in SF or Kentucky, but forget there are people even more valuable than them getting paid significantly less.

If you are fighting against location based pay, you should be asking your employer to pay all employees on similar teams worldwide the same

This is exactly what has been happening frequently in our company's Slack channels.

Highly paid Bay Area developer moves to elsewhere in the US and complains that they got a pay cut.

Developer in low cost US city agrees and says they should be paid Bay Area salaries as well.

Canadian developer points out that they get paid lower than anyone in the US despite having very high costs of living.

Someone else says think of how much the developers in India are getting paid for doing the exact same work.

Developers in India go - we are very happy with our salaries, leave us out of this please.

> we are very happy with our salaries,

I don't understand why this could be. Speaking up publicly is definitely a cultural no no in india. so maybe that's why?

Maybe they believe, rightly or wrongly, that the lower cost of labour is their strongest asset in getting hired by a Western company.

If their salary were raised to SV levels, sure, they might go from "well-off" to "fabulously wealthy" - but they might also get replaced with Western or Eastern European engineers. If they're not absolutely confident of their value to the company, it's not a gamble worth taking.

Here's a data point that may help put things into perspective – one of our employees in India lives in what would be considered a mansion when compared to silicon valley housing. His family has the best private medical insurance, and his kids go to the top private school in the city. He employs a driver to take him to work everyday. He has multiple full-time household help. His disposable income puts him in or close to the top 1% in India. And he does all this on a single staff+ level engineer's salary (his wife doesn't work).

Is it too hard to see why he would be satisfied with his work conditions?

If I had that kind of money ratio locally, I would personally blend in eg. "stealth wealth" to avoid being a target. Probably self limiting to feel that way.

I read that in some places there is an expectation that (wealthy compared to the locals) western expats employ lots of staff or pay for services they might carry out themselves in western countries (e.g. laundry, cleaning, but also things like grocery shopping). It’s seen as a necessary amount of ‘giving back to the community’.

Because if you have to pay SV salaries, why bother hiring in India and deal with the hassle of timezone disparities? Companies would just hire in SV...

This is the ugly truth people in first world do not understand or willfully ignore: someone in a third world country would kill for what you consider as table scraps. The low cost of labor IS their competitive advantage.

I am hyper aware of my strengths, my accolades, my career accomplishments.

I have no idea what "employees on similar teams" bring to the table. I am not going to negotiate on their behalf.

I am productive. I'll make an immediate impact on your team. I've added millions of dollars in value. I've done international product launches.

We can walk through my body of work from the past two decades in detail if you'd like.

I add the same value, independent of location.

I am not your commodity. Do not represent me. I will not represent you.

I negotiate for myself and my family.

That's it.

> I negotiate for myself and my family.

No, you don't. I get where you are coming from but you are not just negotiating for yourself and your family, others have fractionally negotiated on your behalf in the past and have set expectations that you are going to have to meet or exceed to be able to get hired and the same goes for those that come after you.

You do not operate in some kind of idealized vacuum, you are part of a market, whether you like it or not doesn't really matter. Market transparency benefits you too.

>If you are fighting against location based pay, you should be asking your employer to pay all employees on similar teams worldwide the same

My response to the OP is to the above.

I don't have to advocate for others. I don't even know the others capabilities, so I can't make an honest case for/against them.

I know my skills. I know my value.

Your value is not dictated by you, but by the market. The above poster pointed that out much more eloquently than I, but it is a fact.

You know your value relative to the market. Without the market you would not know your value at all. This is different for sales people where it is much easier to benchmark individual contribution but for tech people the reality is that your individual contribution is not something that is known beforehand so it is you versus a bunch of others and unless you are exceptional (which may well be the case, I have no idea) your position is not rational and even then it does not generalize which is what we are aiming for here.

"The market" can be a very broad range.

Especially when you get into 20+ years of software engineering experience. It's not "you versus a bunch of others" - it's me and maybe one other candidate.

Salary ranges are huge. Exceptions are made all the time.

And when you're a contractor, the deal making is even more flexible (as is my case).

Would you consider moving to a lower cost of living area (country perhaps) to compete with someone with comparable qualifications who did not require the same pay since they live in a lower cost of living country?

Your salary doesn't mainly depends on the value you bring, that's merely an upper limit. It's determined by how much somebody else who brings the same value is willing to accept.

There will always be someone somewhere who will offer to do your work cheaper than you.

I would much rather be paid based on skill than based on location. I think people should be able to make the case that indeed they are more productive than X people from Y location. If not, by all means higher the cheaper people and see how that turns out.

For those middling developers who are adversely affected it would make sense that they focus on jobs where location is more important.

> I would much rather be paid based on skill than based on location.

And that is how societies, especially middle class, gets decimated. Look at what happened to midwest when The Capital discovered that chinese workers are equally skilled at manufacturing stuff at a fraction of the cost.

Sometimes, you don't need skillset beyond a certain level to do a job. And I would rather have that job stay in my community to ensure its stability, rather than outsourcing it so that a few in my community get fabulously wealthy while a big chunk suffers unemployment and all that it entails.

With sufficient competition cost savings on labor turn into consumer surplus. It’s incumbent on those who wish to remain in the middle class move up the value chain. This is supposed to be done by using the wealth gained by being early to the middle class to reinvest in additional productivity and specialization. Unfortunately a lot of that wealth has been squandered so those same people are now falling out of the middle class.

A case could be made for maintaining an inefficient and underproductive middle class as a more efficient tax on the productive middle class (as opposed to a less efficient direct redistribution). I am of the view that the US is a net beneficiary of globalization and Americans would have to be prepared to be a lot poorer on average in order to wind it back. I’m also of the view that subsidies for unproductively is long term counter productive.

I think management often overestimates the savings of cheap labor, but instead of legislating nationalistic hiring practices, I would prefer those companies to fail and new ones with new management who can more accurately assess costs and value to replace them.

> With sufficient competition cost savings on labor turn into consumer surplus.

Nice theory. Though consumer surplus is not evenly distributed which creates problems.

> This is supposed to be done by using the wealth gained by being early to the middle class to reinvest in additional productivity and specialization.

Again, wealth gained goes to a different set of people than the ones who need to reinvest in additional training. Also, if you are worked until the age of 45 in a certain field, retraining and becoming expert in another field is near impossible given how much time you have to spare with other commitments in life. So again, a cute theory but fails in practice.

> I am of the view that the US is a net beneficiary of globalization

Citation needed. Maybe there are benefits in the short term but I am afraid we have destabilized our society for the long run.

> I would prefer those companies to fail and new ones with new management who can more accurately assess costs and value to replace them.

Sounds good in theory. Haven't seen it working in practice over the last 2-3 decades across the Western world.

A lack of consumer surplus creates far more problems.

Again, lack of wealth causes more problems across the board.

I cite myself for my opinion.

I’ve seen a lot of failed outsourcing over the last 20 years. It’s not like companies haven’t been trying and it’s not like they won’t keep trying. In any case, I’m not sure how effective spreading the wealth through labor restrictions will be if developer salaries normalize after the next recession. I think it is probably a moot point.

> And that is how societies, especially middle class, gets decimated. Look at what happened to midwest when The Capital discovered that chinese workers are equally skilled at manufacturing stuff at a fraction of the cost.

Look at what happened w/ workers in China and elsewhere in that same timeframe. It takes two to tango. Why don't mfg towns in China and Southeast Asia count as "strong communities" too? There are plenty of locally-bound jobs in any First-World country - most of those have well-developed service economies after all. But other stuff will just get done wherever it's most convenient.

> Look at what happened w/ workers in China and elsewhere in that same timeframe.

The “cool” thing about neoliberal trade is that it drives internal inequality (usually on pre-existing race, ethnic, tribal, and other distinct subgroup lines of advantage/dusadvantage) in both the more and less developed partners in trade.

What do you tell your Kentucky-based employees at that point? "Look, 30 cents a week is our business model. You don't see Harbaglarb in Racetothebottomland complaining,"??

Thats pretty much what happened to most US based labor-intensive industry.

It all seemed to work fine for US business leaders until it slowly started dawning on politicians that their "free trade" schtick created a colossal national security risk in the form of enormously fragile multicontinent supply chains.

Well yeah, if Harbaglarb does the same job as the Kentucky person why shouldn’t they be paid the same?

Burden of proof is on you to demonstrate why they should be paid the same. Employers (aka Shareholders/owners) are always going to maximize money going to their own pockets. Why should they give more of it to Harbaglarb?

From a rational economic standpoint, they should, but that isn't the fight that the anti-Harbaglarbers wanted; there's an assumption that there's culture in common between SF and KY that gets lost somewhere overseas to the cheapest bidder.

It wouldn't get lost if you didn't go for the cheapest bidder. And you don't have to go as far as paying US salaries to get that talent as well.

Eastern Europe is full of top devs who who work remotely for SV companies and understand US culture (New Yorkers couldn't believe I was a foreigner) and deliver value, while being paid half of what their US team members are getting and are (mostly) happy with that since 80k-150k is still way more than what local companies pay there.

There are larger legal differences across countries that mostly dont apply between SF and kentucky.

& timezone and language/cultural differences too that are not immaterial.

Is your argument that people in different timezones and cultures doing the same job with the same results should be paid less because of it?

If a part of the job is coordinating with people in a specific timezone who are ready to pay for availability during their own timezone then yes. We don't consider it abnormal that a waiter in Manhattan gets paid more than a waiter doing the same job in Prague. A more interesting question would be to ask how can we overcome these coordination hurdles between people in different regions and cultures in tech companies? It's a challenge for sure.

I think his argument is that in general their results would be worse because of the timezone and culture difference, thus earning less on average. I think there might be an element of truth there, but probably not enough to explain the entire difference, only a small part of it.

You know, there are a lot of cultures in the US itself - should we pay them differently based on that?

It's not that Indian culture somehow isn't as good. It's that there's sufficient supply there to fill all the positions at lower pay. If the exact same people manage to get a visa and transfer to SF, they will instantly start getting paid $100,000s more. Likewise, If Google moves an entire org, doing all the exact same work, from NYC to Raleigh, NC, it will cut everyone's pay by 25%.

I personally am moving from completely remote to completely remote but from somewhere else, specifically because my company pays more than the difference in CoL so it's "free" for me. From the company's point of view, I just became more expensive for no reason and at no gain to them, but that's their policy so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

for most companies, time zones and the added 200-400ms of audio delay are a big deal.

Time zones past a certain point perhaps. I routinely deal with a 5-6 hour spread (eastern US to Europe) and it works pretty well. No particular audio issues either--at least any more than video calls generally. I would agree that more than about 6 hours starts getting harder unless the people in one of the zones really shift their workday.

Not the OP, but I think you bring up a great point and just wanted to chime in...

IMO cultural compatibility is valuable and worth paying a premium for, both within an employer's team, between an employer and their customers or their marketers, etc.

The support culture can be vastly different between cultures, as can design sense, time prioritization, team dynamics, etc. It's hard to work effectively with someone who barely speaks your language, doesn't get your jokes, doesn't like the same food, isn't used to communicating the same way -- whether in body language or slang or powerpoints, etc. (And it goes both ways -- I'm not just talking about American companies offshoring, but also Americans trying to work overseas, or people moving to/from China for opportunities, etc.)

But in an actually free market, where capital, labor, and customers are all free to pick and choose as they please, I doubt the difference would be as large as it is now, like 5x-10x difference for the same work just based on cultural compatibility. I've met plenty of foreign (to me) people who work harder and are just plain better at my job than I am, but get paid less because of the circumstances of their birth.

In a hypothetical world where people were free to work and live where they please, I don't know what an appropriate value of that "cultural fit premium" should be, maybe 20-30%? Certainly not orders of magnitude. But we don't have that hypothetical world, and our protectionist borders seem to be getting more defined by the day, not more blurred, as the West goes through a cultural backlash against globalization.

The dark side of "equal pay for equal work" is that Americans often enjoy higher pay and a higher quality of life for less work, sometimes MUCH less work, compared to their counterparts in international tech sweat-shops. We have hard-won labor protections that took decades of organizing to achieve, and even then there are horror stories of abuse and burnout.

Ideally we'd be paying all workers the highest wages and letting them move where they please, but doing so would also cause hyperinflation across the world and in turn drive down purchasing power. And cause a horrifying housing crunch in all the desirable areas of the world. The whole system is rigged such that there can ever only be a small % of comfortable people, or else it all falls apart =/

Other options are to pay the lowest common denominator (and lose all your highest paid staff), just don't outsource, or apply a cost of living adjustment, etc. None are perfect or easy solutions.

But salary transparency is a great start, especially while there are still people doing the same job in the same OFFICE, sometimes on the same team, who get paid differently. It at least gets the conversation going so we can start thinking about solutions...

Companies don’t exist for the sole benefit of their employees, unless they’re a coop. Capitalism doesn’t allocate resources based on “hard work” or some sort of social notion who “deserves” to be paid what. You get paid what the market determines you should be paid.

A company that pays everyone the same thing is overpaying a lot of people. That’s great for those employees, but it probably means the company wasn’t able to hire as many people as it otherwise would have. Either that, or the company has become less competitive and runs the risk of failing.

It’s perfectly fair to argue that you should be paid the same as all the other employees at company X, and it might work as a negotiating tactic. But if your options are $150k at global company X where SF employees at the company are making $300k, or $75k at local company Y, what would you choose? Company X probably knows what your options are.

> there are people even more valuable than them getting paid significantly less.

Is this some reference to how SWEs are overpaid on the whole? OR something else..?

Just that U.S Based usually means highest paid. It doesn't usually mean highest performer. Because pay depended more on COL (or more accurately cost of hiring). Which then causes a COL-adjustment, which then causes the employee to go against said adjustment

But COL-adjustments are ingrained in every international company. It's just US based employees always benefited and liked it

It seems a bit controversial to include private company equity in total compensation.

For example, for Estonia, the highest TC is Bolt, but about 26% of the compensation is actually stock in this unlisted unicorn. Presumably that stock price is computed from the last funding round. Who knows what Bolt's valuation will be in the next round? That equity might be marked down 50% or more, and you still can't sell it until the company does an IPO one day (which would probably be many years from now when the IPO market is alive again).

I think it would be really useful to add a "Company is publicly listed" boolean column, so you'd immediately know if the equity is liquid.

Latest funding round (e.g. Series B) would also be interesting information because that helps calibrate expectations around equity and a company's staying power in general.

I'm building the site (but I didn't submit this Show HN).

The private part of the shares are clearly marked as private in details, and there's an explainer eg at [1].

I do think it's important to include private equity in packages. My Uber stock package turned out to be worth a lot of money once the company went public. I now have friends at Databricks with massive packages - which can go up or down, and are dependent on an IPO. But this is very important information in my view.

[1] https://techpays.com/details/bbkzjx1e6mhj6ynm8yhhu

Oh, cool, thanks! I didn't notice it's already there in the job posting's details.

How about promoting this flag to a column in the high-level grid display? It's pretty interesting, and would allow you to get a quick overview of the ratio of startups vs established companies. I imagine this would look rather different for Estonia vs Luxembourg, for example.

You are right about the importance of this information. But it would be even more useful if the latest funding round was included. Equity in a Series F has a very different risk/reward profile compared to equity in a seed round company.

Thanks for the suggestion! I do want to do a better job visualising things in the overview. I’ll think about how to do it, without being too confusing.

Trimodal distribution in full display there, wow.

Also, the "anonymization" of companies is so specific as to be almost useless. There's only one ride sharing company with an office in Amsterdam AFAIK, just as there are not all that many internationally operating social networks there. It would be better to just spell out the names I think.

Working on more generic anonymized names! The goal is not to guess which ones these companies are.

Just wanted to say thanks for putting this together. Looking forward too seeing the dataset grow.

I will take the chance to add our datasets as well (we are running tech job boards with mandatory salary brackets).

The data is based on what the companies advertise, and the data size is of around 2000 salaries for each country:

- Switzerland: https://swissdevjobs.ch/salaries/all/all

- Germany: https://germantechjobs.de/en/salaries/all/all

- UK: https://devitjobs.uk/salaries/all/all

- Romania: https://devjob.ro/en/salaries/all/all

Important to add that we don't catch the whole spectrum of the market (missing FAANG-like and some top international startups), so basically our 90 percentile will be probably an 80 percentile if you add those.

I think it's important to also have this perspective, because not everyone has the determination & luck to go through the whole interview process at FAANG-like companies.

> - Romania: https://devjob.ro/en/salaries/

Interesting. The avg salary after tax in romania is 11k ron, around 2300 eur. Tax and national insurance for permanent employees in that country is around 45-50%. So the average pay is around 4400 eur. More than the german average of 45k per year before tax.

It'll be interesting when they add Southern Europe.

I've seen adverts for experienced developers that pay €35k. And life isn't that much cheaper in the cities here.

That sounds ...very low, right? Given that it will be very easy to get twice that(and more) in northern Europe.

Well yes, and no, in most cities in Spain* with 35k€ you would probably be in the top 5-10%. Average salary in many cities is 15-20k€, so with 35k€ you'd be relatively very well off. Of course compared to international dev salaries it's low, but that's not relevant for all.

As a funny data point, my first salary ever as a developer in Valencia, Spain was 12k €/year (6k € part time), and I was very happy with it since it was while I was in college so it was all for fun and savings. Some day I should share my salary evolution, it's just crazy.

*I'd say on average if you exclude Madrid/Barcelona

You can get more than 35k in east europe. South europe is not much tech developed and pay is indeed low. In northern europe you get more but pay more in tax so its not really much higher.

Yep - the decent companies tend to pay like €60-70k though.

It's really bimodal, like in OP's post. The big multinationals tend to pay decent wages and the others pay a pittance.

I make about 24K euros a year after tax in Finland as a (full stack-ish) PHP dev. It's my 3rd year at the company. Is that a bit low then?

You are better off in east europe to be honest.

Yes. Shop around. Hint: you could probably double that.

I keep getting calls from recruiters offering 30k€ in North Spain, but they are hurting, as nowadays everybody is getting better deals thanks to remote work.

so I guess this is annual, not monthly? Or is there some other division of salary that I haven't thought of?

Yes, this is annual.

I've always wondered about this. You'll see cities with very high real estate prices and rents, and the median salary will not be sufficient to afford either. It makes me wonder why this is sustainable?

Info: this does not work in Firefox (102 on linux, but that's a detail) with content blocking enabled, because Firefox does not allow to load jQuery from google's CDN.

> The resource at “https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.5.1/jquery.mi... was blocked because content blocking is enabled.

And then there are cascading errors.

Thanks! Another reason this is still in alpha - I was not ready for someone to submit this to HN just yet.

Wow, how the world changed from using Google's CDNs to having to host it yourself.

I just pushed a fix to move the script to the local domain. It will be live in a few minutes.

Thanks, all good now!

Is that a default setting in Firefox? To not allow third-party scripts from CDNs? That seems like it would break an awful lot of sites.

I was going to slam you for negotiating a laughable "up to €45,000 per year", but then realised it was 'up to €45,000 more per year".

Carry on.

Tax returns should be public. Like in Norway. That would sort out all kinds of "payment gap" issues as well.

Kinda, sorta. The public tax returns we have in Norway do not say:

- Where the income comes from (could be many sources)

- Whether or not there were any serious deductions

At the very best, you'll get a figure with lots of variance.

Say you sell a house / apartment, and made $xxk on that one. That one will get lumped in with your regular income. Same if you sell some stock / equity.

Most people don't go around perusing other people's tax returns even if they are public though. I'm not sure if most people even realise that they can just go and ask the tax authorities on what their boss makes.

Helps with salary gaps within those countries, but salaries are still laughable compared to US software engineering salaries. Does anyone know why that is?

Demand: US has much more investment in pure-tech. In EU a lot of SWE are working in IT offices of non-tech companies. So the job market in the US is more competitive.

Supply: In the EU university is easily accessible, meaning that there are thousands of universities pumping hundreds of thousands of graduates a year. Plus, now they even invented the Blue Card to make it easy for skilled second/third worlders to immigrate to the EU.

At least according to [this](https://www.cbi.eu/market-information/outsourcing-itobpo/sof...), there's an under-supply of developers in the EU.

Listen to the MBAs and they'll tell you there's a shortage of developers everywhere. What they really mean is that there's a shortage of devs willing to work for what they're willing to pay.

Tax returns are public in Sweden too.

I would guess it's the same in Denmark (even if they're not quite as socialist); Perhaps Finland.

But the majority of tech in Europe is: Dublin, Berlin and Amsterdam.

AFAIK none of those have host countries which publicly disclose tax information;

>But the majority of tech in Europe is: Dublin, Berlin and Amsterdam.

And Zurich and London (non-EU).

Ah yes, I totally forgot the non-EU ones.

Zurich IME is more in line with Californian salaries though.

While being more expensive than California.

You can't compare Zurich with California. According to Wikipedia, California is 10 times as big as Switzerland.

Rent is usually the biggest part of expenses and the prices are crazier in the SV than in Zurich (the city).

Maybe you were not referring to the SV, but then you have places 30min away (by train) from Zurich that are also way cheaper.

Same in Finland, just not in the Internet (except for the highest earners' tax returns), you can call by phone or physically visit the tax office to get anyone's tax return

Sweden and Denmark don’t differ in how much “socialist” they are. Also, they’re not socialist countries.

Sweden & Denmark favour high taxes and social responsibility; I'm sure you are aware but in socialist countries, healthcare, education and economic support are all provided free to every citizen, regardless of how much they earn.

Sweden & Denmark absolutely live that vision.

People get confused because they've conflated socialism and communism, where communism is a means of controlling and distributing the means of production across the people; an economic model that differs from socialism which puts the needs of the people in control of the state; but allows innovation outside of that.

Some people also get confused because they believe that anything involving a private market means Capitalism; that's not true, capitalism is a specific system where, by definition, the wealth has similar rights to the labour in how it gets paid. Some people think this is why capitalism is innovative, because it incentivises "old money" capital to invest, but it favours rewarding people who already have money, which is at odds with the Swedish model.

I think you're right that Denmark is not materially less socialist, in fact you could argue that Sweden is the less socialist one as they've been selling off their healthcare systems to private healthcare for a while now.. Which has resulted in a pretty bad healthcare system honestly.

Most countries in Europe provide that don’t they? Also, Sweden has the number 8 highest income tax in Europe and has in fact very low taxes on investments (the ISK accounts). “Pretty bad healthcare system honestly”? That’s a big exaggeration… both public and private healthcare has worked great in my experience. Sounds like you have some kind of beef with Scandinavia.

1) Most countries in Europe provide [healthcare, education and economic support]

Varies state to state, in some countries there is "mandatory health insurance" which is subsidised, NHS is free at point of sale in the UK.

Education is also dubious, as in some of Europe there's subsidies for childcare under school age, but it's nearly universal to have free healthcare for standard ages (school years 0 - 11); and very few countries offer higher education (university) for free (and even fewer pay you) -- Sweden/Denmark do all of that.

When it comes to income support, if you lose your job then you're really taken care of, it's not really as binary as "do they offer support", in Sweden you can have 80% of your pay for the first year in most cases, only 20% of that is paid by your employer; which is a bit unprecedented in Europe.

2) Sweden has the number 8 highest income tax

Such things are not so easy to quantify, Sweden has 2 tax rates;

a) Municipal tax rate, (usually around 32%~) b) Federal tax rate (20%)

Municipal tax applies to everything you earn, Federal tax only applies to everything after 45,000 SEK (4.500 EUR/mo); that's for income tax, there's also social contribution tax that your employer pays (19-30% depending on how they operate in the country) and the highest VAT in Europe.

You'd have to try to understand how that applies for you. My salary is higher than average but not absurdly high and I'd earn more money in my pocket in every single other country in Europe, I think that's because there's an "absurdly high earner" tax in most countries and a lot of those comparisons take "maximum effective tax" as their only reporting metric, UK has 4 tax bands for example, one of which only kicks in at 150.000gbp p/a; which is 4x the national average and the tax rate then is still lower than Swedens.

So it being "8th highest" is dubious. I'd be interested to see the citation; though I would agree that websites are not doing a real analysis about what they're saying and just stating an "effective top tax"

3) Private healthcare works for me

Private healthcare through my insurance is actually great, but nothing is better than a fully working properly socialised healthcare service; they have tremendous buying power, even operate their own supply chains and can provide services which don't just bring them profit.

My childhood in the UK without the NHS would have been positively miserable, it's hard to imagine how it was because of what it has become now though.

"if you lose your job then you're really taken care of" only if you've paid into insurance: to get taken care of you need to pay into both an a-kassa and an inkomstförsäkring. Ie, two insurances. The money you get from the government is usually capped, and capped low (considering all salaries in Sweden).

My source for the tax income: https://taxfoundation.org/top-personal-income-tax-rates-euro... note, it's the marginal tax rate, ie, what a person with a top salary would pay.

Also, remember the ISK accounts. By paying 0.375% on your account assets annually, you don't pay any capital gains tax. This is imo a big enabler for the "common person" to build up capital.

Your source (tax foundation) is incorrect in the way I mentioned, it takes "top personal income tax" as its only metric without consideration about where that tax rate begins to be applied.

It's also completely wrong about Denmark, where the top tax rate is actually capped at 52.07%

> Altogether, the marginal tax rate cannot exceed 52.07%


> People get confused because they've conflated socialism and communism, where communism is a means of controlling and distributing the means of production across the people; an economic model that differs from socialism which puts the needs of the people in control of the state; but allows innovation outside of that.

This is incorrect. Socialism is workers owning the means of production. Communism is a post-capitalist classless stateless society. When people say socialist in terms of the Nordic countries, it is more about social democracy than workers owning the means of production.

The problem with our understanding of the term is that it's used by people who mean socialism to be communism, and have conflated them. (perhaps unintentionally).

Even in Marxist theory, which is the point of reference to communism, Karl Marx States: ‘socialism is the first stage of the worldwide transition to communism’

Ergo it is not communism in of itself.

I'll leave this little prose from the bottom of the dictionary definition for socialism:

> The term ‘socialism’ has been used to describe positions as far apart as anarchism, Soviet state Communism, and social democracy; however, it necessarily implies an opposition to the untrammelled workings of the economic market. The socialist parties that have arisen in most European countries from the late 19th century have generally tended towards social democracy

"True Communism" has always been the promise of heaven-on-earth without a God. It never happens, of course--any power vacuum is immediately filled by greedy people with no scruples. At least in a society with a God, there's something for the power-brokers to be afraid of.

I fully agree.

Autocrats are pervasive and sometimes they feel inevitable, which is why it's nice when we are able to build social structures that are resistant to corruption.

Unfortunately even they are fallible.

But why did you say this in response to my comment?

...aka "Socialism with Scandinavian Characteristics".

Swedens and Norways top political parties have ‘social’ in their name. Also, I would say socialism is more of a sliding scale based on ‘how big’ the role of government is. It depends on what level of the ‘social programs’ fall under the perview of the government vs. private industry.

I would say Sweden and Denmark are more ‘socialist leaning’ compared to other democratic republics of the world.

Government spending per GDP in Sweden is 50.6%, Germany is 51.5%, France 59.9%.


Government Spending does not need to be spent on social causes (USA for example).

Government spending is spending, it can be investments, defence, police, social programs, education, pensions, etc;etc;etc;

You can infer precisely nothing from this data.

Thank you /a dane ;-)

It might work, but the presumption is that you are in a country with high social cohesion and low wealth inequality.

Otherwise, by stripping people from their privacy, you create basically a database of targets for thieves and other criminals.

Really needs Ireland in here

We've collected some data for Ireland here: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/Ireland/

I'd love to share my comp, but as the only person in my country at my rank in my department (at a 100k-person global company!) I might as well just post it on LinkedIn.

Super nice to see this becoming public finally!! Great stuff, I'm excited to see the clarity and transparency this will bring to the table.

I can't believe that people working as Software Engineer in Berlin Area is getting paid 300k+ €.

This might be realistic for people working 100% for San Francisco companies

We've also started adding international support on Levels.fyi. For some additional data points, you can check out some of our pages for Europe. Here are some countries I didn't see covered:

Ireland: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/Ireland/

UK: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/United-Kin...

Switzerland: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/Switzerlan...

France: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/France/

Spain: https://www.levels.fyi/Salaries/Software-Engineer/Spain/

Also a whole bunch of other locations, which you can browse here under the International section: https://levels.fyi/locations/

I think the list of roles is missing the IT ones, and the infosec ones as well

I and everyone I know are severely underpaid, or this site is a bit wrong.

If it's any consolation, people with above average incomes are more likely to fill these sites, so I think they are skewed upwards.

People also lie, often even to themselves.

I'm with you. At Thales (big french tech company), AFAIU there's essentially no way of reaching 60kEUR/year without becoming a manager. And even then, reaching 100K requires climbing a lot more levels.

> At Thales (big french tech company), AFAIU there's essentially no way of reaching 60kEUR/year without becoming a manager.

You're probably thinking of after-tax salary, also known as take-home pay (5k/month in your example).

Salary is almost always discussed in pre-tax terms, because two employees with the same salary can get very different tax deductions based on their family situation etc. This website is no exception, as far as I can see.

(Of course, this makes sense when comparing within the same country. When comparing different countries, tax rates are already different before you consider discounts.)

> You're probably thinking of after-tax salary

I am not.

> Salary is almost always discussed in pre-tax terms

That's correct.

Wayfair, Amazon, and MS probably pay above the market. But I heard 100k+ is typical for senior SE. While 80k has been on the higher end just 2-3 years ago. That’s for Berlin.

Here in Austria 60k-65k is pretty high end for a senior SE... I should probably move to Germany.

Weird to generalize this over "Europe", since you better live in very specific countries/cities in the UK, Switzerland, Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg or Germany, otherwise those salary ranges are completely meaningless to you/your employers, especially the Tier 3 wages.

Better naming would be "Compensation across Europe's biggest tech hubs".

Since the EU is a free market for employees with no immigration laws and mostly using the same currency, it's not weird at all.

Europe != EU

I don't agree to generalize over Europe if you cherry-pick the few specific places where the 1% of the (top paying) jobs in the continent are.

If we cherry pick, we might as well be specific. It's why we refer to SV wages and not US wages. The difference is massive.

Europe tech wages as a whole, as pretty shit overall.

It's needlessly pedantic, the navigation says "More countries coming soon". OP's submission headline is editorialised and I guess most people understand what to expect.

Only if you ignore the cost of moving, which is enormous. Basically dropping your whole life to get maybe 20k€ more, abroad. If you are happy with your life, not even 150k€ would justify a move because good money ain't going to buy you the same friends and family.

I don't understand what you mean by enormous costs. Yes, permanent moving is not exactly cheap, but it depends very much on the individual's life situation: age, social connections, home ownership, having a car, furniture all matters and all differs. Based on this one might move with a single backpack or it might take a few months to prepare.

Most companies are happy to pay your relocation costs and / or get you a place till you find one on your own.

You can also fly rather cheaply if you miss your family, so this reads very weird to me.

I couldn't give a rat's ass about relocation costs, or furniture, or even home ownership tbh. Those are all relatively minimal costs.

But if you have a nice life, a nice social circle of friends, ...etc, do not take all that for granted. You won't magically get all that back once you move. You probably never will to be honest. You will meet other people but building a social life from scratch in a new country is hard and you will end up with a lot of shallow relationships, or maybe nothing at all.

But it really depends on your personal situation. If you are a 20 year old nerd with barely any social life to begin with, go ahead. It might even improve your life.

I'm a 39 years old nerd and I really have very little to hold me up here. Who says that building a social life is easy? I did that before too when I moved to the capital from my hometown at the age of 26, I barely knew anybody. I did that twice after that for shorter periods of time, totally works. Follow your interests and pals/friends will come.

Does it support Ireland? I couldn't see figures for that country.

Unfort not

The worst bit about this is that in Europe, employers don't have to pay for insurance versus the US side yet we still find ways to dick over our European hires by having them come in very low.

I've worked at places making 150k USD where the most knowledgeable people I worked with were making 90k GBP in Europe. We lost a lot of people during the great exodus of inflation at the beginning of the "Ukraine training exercises".

> The worst bit about this is that in Europe, employers don't have to pay for insurance versus the US side yet we still find ways to dick over our European hires by having them come in very low.

Pardon ? In France the net is about 50% of the super gross paid by the company, much of it social security. And that's before you pay the bloody income tax.

>in Europe, employers don't have to pay for insurance

They do in some cases. In France and Austria (I think Germany and others too), the gross salary you negociate to get is actually even higher for the employer as there is a tax the employer must pay on top of that to cover his side of the social contributions. I wish this would be more transparent.

What you said applies to places like Denmark, Switzerland, where the employer has to pay no extra taxes.

That happens in America as well, and I don't think people are well aware of it - the employer is required to pay unemployment insurance on top of the salary they pay to each employee. If you collect unemployment, this is where that money comes from.

Usually employees in Germany need to calculate with 1.15 to 1.2x of the salary they negotiate with the employee. The employer needs to match social contributions (retirement, unemployment, health insurance)

I don't know about Denmark or Switzerland, but in the Netherlands employers certainly have to pay premiums for social (mainly unemployment and disability) insurance.

Ah sorry then. I thought otherwise.

Here's a list how much employers pay for insurance:


Is 45% employer tax for France correct? Ie employer pays €181k for an employee to earn €100k, who then pays 40% income tax and is left with €60k?

You are correct for the first number (181k to 100k), but not the second one, as the income tax is calculated by brackets defined in adavance[1]. A single person with no family winning 100k would have to pay 23k, leaving them with 77k. This is more than twice the average in France[2] and nearly thrice the median salary [3].

[1] : https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1419 [2] : https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/serie/010752333 [3] : https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/6436313#titre-bloc-9

Thanks, I calculated 26.7k leaving 73k, so employee keeps just over 40% of what the employer pays.

If you look at income tax in high income tax states the income tax looks similar, so its the payroll taxes and VAT that really is the difference between France and US.

I may be wrong, but I think there is also a cultural difference: everything here revolves around your gross income.

You'll hear "I win 100k a year", not "I win 181k a year". During hiring, you negotiate on the 100k number. Your contract mention this number. In the end, if there is a tax raise on the company part, they have to maintain your salary to the same level, even if it ends up costing them more than before.

That'd be also why US salaries seem so high from the outside, but are less impressive once your factor this in.

This is exactly how it works in the US. Salaries here are listed and negotiated around the gross amount that the employer pays to the employee, without any regard for the employer taxes. The difference is that employer-side taxes on that salary are about ~8% (and most of this is capped at the first $147k), not 45%.

Sadly, US salaries don’t just seem much higher than Europe: they are much higher. Take home pay after all taxes for a senior engineer at a large public tech company can commonly be $250k+ per year, in addition to benefits like health insurance and 6+ weeks off once vacation and holidays are taken into account.

The employee doesn't pay 40% income tax on a 100k salary.

Income tax in France is progressive. You slice your income in brackets, and for each there's a tax rate. Your average tax rate is the average of your brackets.

The highest bracket in France is 45% for income above 160k, so for your total income tax rate to be about 40%, it would mean that you make an absolute shitload of money.

Income tax brackets, French, but the table is clear enough: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1419

Maybe someone from France can confirm it, but in Hungary, the 17% is just part of the whole tax. Here's a much better site explaining it: https://hu.talent.com/en/tax-calculator?salary=100000&from=m...

Not French, but it doesn't sound that weird. I think my grandmother (an accountant) once told me that the general principle is that an employee should be worth at least three times their salary for the employment to make sense financially.

At least here in ireland, the legal mandated contribution to the public health system is called Employer's PRSI, and usually most big tech employers will pay for private health insurance also (albeit private health insurance is priced much more reasonably here, due to needing to compete with the public system with its capped patient costs).

In the UK (still part of the European geographical area despite the Brexit foot shooting), employers pay a "National Insurance" contribution over and above the employee's salary i.e. it's not deducted from your salary.

Employees also have their own national insurance contribution which is deducted along with income tax.

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