Urban Linker Tech IDF Salary Study 2021

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  •  26.05.2021
  •  9 MIN

Our annual study of salaries in digital professions is anchored in an obviously historic year 2020 due to the pandemic that has shaken the economy and the job market.


As a recruitment firm specializing in the French digital sector, we are a privileged witness to the impact of the crisis on recruitment and would like to share a few observations as a preamble to reading our salary barometer.






According to INSEE, 360,500 private jobs were destroyed in 2020. Yet the digital companies we support have done better than resist.


Indeed, the health crisis and the successive lockdowns have exploded eCommerce (+ 50% in traffic), digital payments, gaming or medical teleconsultation to name a few. These are all sectors largely invested by innovative startups. As for teleworking, multiplied by 10 almost overnight, it has forced organizations to adapt very quickly by using video-collaboration tools and using SaaS software adapted to work in confinement. Here again, it is essentially startups that create these applications and develop these tools.


At the same time, the French tech ecosystem posted 620 fundraising in 2020 for 5.4 billion euros raised: a record (+ 7% vs. 2019) which propels France to 2nd place in Europe, behind Great Britain. Brittany but ahead of Germany, for the first time. However, and we observe it on a daily basis at Urban Linker, fundraising systematically involves the creation of jobs, of which more than 90% are permanent.


As a result, Next40 and French Tech 120 (FT120) companies have created more than 10,000 net jobs in 2020 and at least as many are expected for startups and scaleups in the second promotion (2021) of these indices, unveiled in last February by the Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O.


These figures illustrate our empirical observations: if our partners have suffered particularly in certain sectors (tourism, aero, events), and if the entire ecosystem naturally curled up in the weeks following the first confinement in March (stand- by recruiting time to have more visibility, reluctance of VCs and Boards of startups, focus on the organization of work and business), startups have finally continued to develop and recruit.



The context of the war for talent, consubstantial with the digital sector, is therefore more significant than ever and the shortage of good profiles does not appear to us to be less important than before the crisis. Moreover, France Digitale's initiatives are legion to boost the attractiveness of the French tech ecosystem and help start-ups recruit. The “Scale-up Europe” initiative, led by France and recently launched by Cédric O, seeks to create European digital champions and the attractiveness of talents, on a European scale this time, is one of the four fundamental pillars. of this initiative.


During this year 2020, we observed a slight surplus of candidates available on the market during the few weeks which followed the onset of the crisis: a consequence of economic layoffs and termination of trial periods within companies particularly in difficulty, including ESNs. This supply of candidates was quickly absorbed by the startups who were recruiting.


On the candidate side, there was also a reluctance to change companies, mainly due to two factors if we refer to our daily discussions with these candidates. On the one hand, a psychological brake created by the instability of the situation and a need for reinforced reassurance about the sustainability of their future employer. On the other hand, a desire not to "let go of their box" in a difficult moment. Today, it seems to us that the situation has returned to normal and that these two trends are much less clear-cut than in 2020.


A key success factor in competing for talent this year has been candidate experience. Organizing recruiting processes that are validating from a skills point of view, while reassuring candidates, and offering them the ability to project themselves into the company has been a fundamental issue while all recruitments have been carried out at distance. Also, the candidate experience, just like the development and retention of talent, have become HR issues at the same height as recruitment.


A review of history shows that crises create changes that last after they are over. From a digital ecosystem recruitment market perspective, 2020 will have been a clear accelerator of the telecommuting trend. The latter was imposed de facto from the first confinement in March and it is now integrated into the organization of almost all the startups we support.


Total teleworking, with completely decentralized companies, remains in the minority. Note, however, that a significant number of players have chosen to return their premises to work 100% remotely. The possibility of teleworking one to several days a week, on the other hand, has become a standard to which it seems difficult not to subscribe.


Indeed, the vast majority of candidates we meet make it a selection criterion in choosing professional opportunities. We have nevertheless witnessed bad experiences for startups and candidates who have tried total teleworking: lack of social connection, working method not suited to all profiles, etc. We are also talking more and more with candidates who ask to be able to telework a few days a week, but who absolutely want to be able to come to the office in person on certain days of the week.


It will be interesting to study, in the longer term, the possible changes in wages caused by teleworking. For the moment, it seems that partial teleworking (a few days a week) has not significantly impacted remuneration. As for the salaries of profiles in full teleworking, they still respond to negotiations on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of position, the corporate culture and the location of the startups and the candidates concerned.


Finally, we observe a growing desire on the part of candidates to join projects that are meaningful to them, often in the social and environmental fields. This trend has already existed in recent years, as a paradigm shift seems to be slowly permeating civil society and generations are renewing themselves, but it seems to us to have become more pronounced with the crisis. A sign that the digital ecosystem is also being modeled on these issues, impact investment funds are multiplying, such as 2050, Marie Ekeland's new project.


Shaken by a singular crisis, the French tech ecosystem has therefore shown resilience. Better still, it continues to mature and the challenge of recruiting talent has never been higher. Based on our daily work and the recruitments we make, this salary study offers an empirical view of market trends and salary ranges observed for positions in startups and innovative SMEs.



With sometimes 360-degree changes for companies, due to the pandemic, projects have been turned upside down, have had to evolve quickly and employees have had to adapt quickly ... Recruiters will therefore increasingly try to detect soft skills, even among so-called technical profiles.

70% of employers say they are ready to recruit a junior profile mainly on the basis of their soft skills.


Curiosity, the willingness to learn and pass on, humility and the desire to update themselves by regularly monitoring ... are the skills sought by recruiters for Tech profiles.


Agility and flexibility - Emotional intelligence - Humility - Tenacity - Curiosity


Candidates are starting to understand the importance of these behavioral skills, but still struggle to put them forward on their CVs. As for recruiters, for 3/4 years, the study of the candidate's personality and his professional motivations have been scrutinized more than ever throughout the process.



Our study is based on all the recruitments made for our clients in 2020 in Ile-de-France, the research and interviews carried out by our specialist consultants, as well as the precise analysis of our database.


We processed the collected data taking into account standard deviations and outliers to focus on the medians of candidate salaries.

These medians therefore reflect the research we conduct and the recruitments we carry out for our clients. We believe it is important to keep in mind that the clients we support call on us for particularly difficult and / or particularly urgent research - often with a higher level of requirement than the market average. Consequently, if these medians appear to us to be very consistent with the daily life of our activity, they cannot be the exact mirror of the entire market and, as such, cannot be used as absolute references during salary negotiations. .


Indeed, in addition to the criteria that we used for our study (type of position and level of experience), many other parameters come into play when it comes to defining a salary: sector of activity, type of company , funding phase, academic background, last remuneration received, etc.


The compensation displayed corresponds to the median of the gross annual salary, made up of the fixed salary and a possible variable part when it exists.


In this study we have:

  • An analysis of more than 700 profiles spread over the Tech sector in Ile-de-France
  • A salary grid by position and by years of experience
  • The jobs most in demand by recruiters
  • Market trends from a recruitment point of view



Download our salary Study

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