Product management has taken off all around the world, but there’s one place many people forget to mention when considering Product Manager opportunities: Europe. Although the European Product Manager job market isn’t as developed as it may be in America and China, the traditional European market allows for significant risks to be taken when it comes to product development.
Why is this? Great social welfare and easily accessible healthcare. With this in mind, many significant tech giants have relocated operations to Europe, thus injecting product management into the tech industry like never before. In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the product management scene in Europe.
Again, the European market lagged behind China and the US when it came to product development, but the recent injection of large tech companies choosing to operate there enabled large-scale innovation. Europe has constantly been overlooked due to its relationship with tradition and its slow growth, but that doesn’t mean it lacks potential for product management.
Even the FAANG companies have offices in Europe. However, the ratio of Product Managers to other roles is very little compared to that of Silicon Valley, and there are three main reasons why.
1. Dedication to Tradition
Project management roles still reign supreme in European tech hubs in comparison to product management roles, even if the job incorporates large elements of Product Manager responsibilities. Essentially, Project Managers are assuming the Product Manager role, just under a different name. In other words, product management tends to lag behind in European markets because the role doesn’t receive the proper attention and investment it deserves.
2. The Talent Pool
Leading on from the previous point, if there is a lack of Product Manager roles, then it is very difficult to find individuals with the experience and skills to assume the role as it becomes more prominent and popular. This means that it is the Product Managers’ market. If an aspiring Product Manager has the skills and experience needed for the role, then they have the pick of many different big-tech companies.
3. Population Division
Within Europe, there is a large split between rural and urban areas. As with any country, there are more Product Manager roles located in larger cities. However, unlike someone in the US, a European Product Manager can’t always easily relocate from a rural area to a city to be able to upvote a role. Relocation might mean a change in language, as well as a whole ton of paperwork for living in a new country.
Population Division and the UK
The best example of population division is the UK leaving the European Union. The UK has a number of different tech hubs, making them popular for product management jobs. Cities such as London, Manchester, and Edinburgh make the UK a very attractive place to work. However, after Brexit, European residents no longer have easy access to its job market due to no longer having freedom of movement, making it harder to emigrate and obtain a job there.
1. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is the place of a very exciting startup scene for companies, with many calling it the European equivalent to Silicon Valley. Start-ups breed innovation, thus creating more need for Product Managers. Currently, there is a huge demand for those who have skills in healthcare and IT, making Berlin a very attractive option for Product Managers who work with technology. Any individual undertaking a product management role in Berlin will have a large amount of creative freedom.
Aptly named Silicon Allee, one of Berlin’s tech communities hosts monthly get-togethers so that various different technology organizations and startups can learn from one another. Berlin is very much a large collaborative working space, which is a metaphorical goldmine for Product Managers as they are able to share ideas and improve upon their original work.
Berlin is also renowned for its work-life balance, with weekly working hours less than the EU average, and holiday entitlement much higher than its EU counterparts. Even though these benefits aren’t explicitly linked with only the Product Manager role, they contribute to overall job performance and satisfaction with the role. Other Berlin benefits include the low cost of living and its impressive transport system.
The average annual salary for a Product Manager in Berlin is €59,019.
2. London, England
As the financial capital of Europe, London is the perfect place for both new names — such as Monzo — and big firms such as Deliveroo. Furthermore, London has benefited from the increased focus on global environment and climate change, with further investment being directed into clean energy solutions. The term ‘Impact Unicorns’ refers to startups that promise to improve 1 billion lives, thus working on the premise that they’re providing a product/service that will improve upon societal issues.
As highlighted, because of Brexit, relocating to London for work is trickier due to lack of freedom of movement. In comparison, it’s far simpler to move between and relocate within the countries that remain in the EU.
Still, London is central to the UK, making access to other hubs within the UK very easy to reach. Other examples of tech hubs in the UK are Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Liverpool.
The average annual salary for a Product Manager in London averages out at £57,555. However, keep in mind that living costs tend to be a lot higher in London compared to other European cities.
3. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Nine out of ten of both the top US software and technology companies have located to operate within Ireland. It is also home to some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Airbnb, Facebook and Google.
The city of Dublin has an incredibly robust job market, which grew by 3.4% in 2020, even during the midst of the pandemic. Like in Berlin, IT remains a highly requested skill — any Product Manager within the IT industry has their pick of organizations in Dublin.
In addition, there is a high level of government investment when it comes to research and design. This presents Product Managers in Dublin with the opportunity and freedom to develop and improve products, leading to higher levels of success.
The average annual salary for a Product Manager in Dublin is €60,216.
4. Lisbon, Portugal
Like Berlin, Lisbon is an affordable place to live that provides easy access to other areas in Europe. According to data collected back in 2018, Portugal came second in Europe in regards to the biggest growth of technology-based employment. Thus, Lisbon presents a great opportunity for a Product Manager within the tech industry.
Part of Lisbon’s status as one of the top European cities for Product Managers is because the city hosts Web Summit, the largest seminar on new technologies. Not only does this show the country’s dedication to innovation and product/service development, but it also grants Product Managers constant financing and support.
The average annual salary for a Product Manager in Lisbon is €34,383.
5. Paris, France
Along with its renowned social and health care, Paris boasts impeccable transport links and a beneficial work-life balance. As is a common theme across all of the European cities included here, Paris offers a lot of opportunity for skills in IT and research.
Although Paris is not one of the world leaders in tech, the French capital more than makes up for this through its dedication to innovation. The city is home to many leading organizations that might appeal to Product Managers, such as Deezer and BlaBlaCar.
However, like London, living costs in Paris are quite high compared to its European counterparts. Still, the high cost of living is offset by higher wages: the average annual salary for a Product Manager in Paris is €46,000.
Before going into any specifics regarding the Product Manager role within Europe, you must first consider residency and obtaining full-time citizenship. As mentioned above, with the UK no longer operating within the European Union, European citizenship no longer grants UK citizenship. The rules are now different for the UK — check out your eligibility here.
Although the growth and development in Europe seems slower when it comes to product management in comparison to the US and China, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t great potential. The Product Manager role is less evolved in Europe compared to the US, which is predominantly down to the fact that it is a fairly new position there. If anything, this presents an opportunity for Product Managers to create the role how they see fit, as there is no blueprint dictating what the role needs to be.
Furthermore, the Product Manager has to take into account its political and economic contexts and how these affect consumer decisions. In Europe, press and legislation are huge driving forces when it comes to consumer decisions, with customers expecting the very best service and ethics from organizations.
The Product Manager role in Europe might be drastically different to that of a Product Manager in the US or China, but that doesn’t make it any less rewarding. As with any product management role — anywhere in the world — you’ll want to start by assessing your skillset, clarifying your goals, and asking yourself whether you’re up for the challenge: the product management job hunt is hard work!
Ready to start looking for your perfect product management opportunity? We’ve used our extensive network and insider knowledge to put together a PM job board with the latest openings on the market, updated weekly. Access it here and get applying!