This year Germany continues to assert itself as a key player in the global tech industry. The country’s reputation for engineering excellence, innovation, and a robust education system has contributed to a thriving tech sector. With a diverse landscape of established companies and an ecosystem of startups, Germany remains at the forefront of technological advancements in Europe, particularly in fields like artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and Industry 4.0. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated digital transformation, emphasizing the critical role of technology in various sectors. This change has led to increased demand for tech professionals, creating ample opportunities for young individuals pursuing careers in the industry.

For young people entering or already working in the tech sector in Germany, the outlook is promising. The industry is characterised by a culture of innovation and a commitment to sustainability, aligning with global trends. The German government’s initiatives to support digitalisation, coupled with strong investments in research and development, provide a fertile ground for career growth. Additionally, the emphasis on vocational training and apprenticeships ensures a well-rounded skill set for those entering the workforce.

Nevertheless, individuals should be prepared to engage in continuous learning and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem. Companies too need to take notice of the retention levers and prevailing trend towards office-based work and appetite for AI.

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Germany was one of the participating countries of the study which surveyed 2000 respondents from the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Spain. These were some of the key takeaways regarding the young generation in tech (YGIT) in Germany, where thousands of young tech workers are employed by fintech, software, and internet companies.

Key takeaways

  • German millennials and Gen Z working in tech demonstrate high levels of job satisfaction and a strong sense of job security
  • German tech professionals prioritise companies with stable compensation and promising career prospects over positions at tech giants
  • Pensions and personal development valued most beyond pay
  • A noticeable trend towards a preference for working in the office is on the rise
  • Roles taking toll on mental health despite ‘just right’ work-life-balance
  • Majority believe impact of AI on their roles will be positive

1.Young Tech Workers Display High Job Satisfaction and Feel Secure in their Roles

In a fascinating turn of events, it appears that despite prevailing reservations about market dynamics and overall company performance, young professionals in the German tech industry continue to have high levels of job satisfaction and a strong sense of job security.

Interestingly, the majority of respondents say they have no confidence in their company’s performance or the current state of the market with a total of 60% taking this position. Only 3% placed themselves in the high confidence bracket.

In 2023, young professionals in the German tech industry are not just finding jobs, they are finding fulfillment and security in their roles. A staggering 87% express contentment with their current positions, with 56% declaring themselves very satisfied, and an additional 31% indicating a moderate level of satisfaction. A mere 13% report any dissatisfaction in their present roles. 

These numbers reflect a resounding endorsement of their work environments. Furthermore, when it comes to gauging the experience of working at their current companies, a substantial majority—53%—affirm that their expectations have been met (compared to 47% in 2022), while an impressive 30% believe their experiences have surpassed expectations, just slightly down on 2022 (at 39%). A relatively smaller fraction, just 17%, felt that their experiences had fallen short.

One of the most striking aspects of the report is the high levels of job security. A remarkable 66% express a strong belief in the stability of their positions. This sentiment is underscored by the fact that only 15% harbor doubts about the security of their roles, while a mere 18% find themselves in the ‘undecided’ camp. Not surprisingly, this perceived sense of job security has reinforced levels of job satisfaction. These statistics collectively paint a picture of a tech industry in Germany that not only offers exciting career prospects but also provides a reassuring sense of stability for its young workforce. This synergy of job satisfaction and security bodes well for the future of the industry and the professionals who drive its progress, particularly against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.

When asked how they would rate the impact of the economic downturn on their career plans, most said it had somewhat to very much impacted their plans. Only 10% said it has not impacted at all. A third said they felt the economic downturn had not affected their interest in working in the tech industry (38%) and 33% said they believed it has affected all industries equally. Broadly speaking, they still have confidence in the tech industry as a career choice with 23% stating this.

2. Germany’s Young Tech Talents Aren’t Swayed by Tech Giants

Germany’s young professionals in the tech industry have a clear vision of their ideal workplace, and it aligns with their aspirations for a secure and promising career trajectory. For a substantial majority, their dream company is one that promises a secure compensation package coupled with robust avenues for career growth (based on training and development), garnering a significant 43% of responses. Interestingly, the allure of working for a leading technology brand, though still notable, garnered slightly fewer votes at 30%. Equally intriguing is the attraction toward startups dedicated to cutting-edge technological innovation, with a commendable 34% expressing their preference for such dynamic work environments. This inclination towards startups reflects the spirit of innovation and disruption that characterizes the contemporary tech landscape in Germany.

Furthermore, it’s evident that the young generation in German tech circles believes in two distinct strategies for career advancement. Half of the respondents subscribe to the notion that a smart career path involves either accruing tenure and seniority within a single company, a perspective endorsed by 25%, or seeking opportunities at well-established brands, a preference shared by 24%. This dual approach highlights the value placed on stability and recognition in the pursuit of a successful career.

These statistics point to a strategic mindset among young tech professionals, who recognize that their most cherished career attributes—such as competitive pay, ample growth opportunities, and the chance to work on cutting-edge technology—can predominantly be found in companies that offer a secure compensation package and robust avenues for career development. It implies a generation that is forward-thinking, discerning, and poised to thrive in an ever-evolving tech landscape. As they navigate their career paths, their preferences not only shape their individual trajectories but also contribute to the broader narrative of innovation and growth within the German tech industry.

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3. Benefits beyond Pay: Most Crave Personal Development Budget

According to survey data, these individuals receive a comprehensive package of benefits that extend beyond standard pay. Foremost among these is a dedicated budget for personal learning and development; 50% of respondents said they received this. Following closely behind are pension plans with 45% of young tech professionals indicating this was provided. Health benefits also emerged as the third workplace benefit offered at 44%. Family-centric benefits, including support for fertility treatments, ranked impressively in fourth place, indicating a desire for a holistic approach to employee well-being, with 39%, indicating companies’ appreciation that this generation might anticipate needing to postpone having a family.

In terms of company perks, chief among their priorities is a strong appreciation for learning and development with 41% saying they liked having a dedicated budget for this. In second place is the appeal of hybrid and flexible work arrangements, a priority for 36%. The company’s overall strength and health benefits also hold sway, capturing 34% of respondents.

While competitive pay remains important, it is complemented by a desire for comprehensive benefits that support ongoing learning, work-life balance, and overall well-being. It’s noteworthy that a substantial 87% express satisfaction, either to a very (46%) or somewhat (41%) high degree, with the benefits offered by their current employers. 

4. Preference for Office-Based Work Signals Thirst for Collaboration and Structure

In terms of preferred work models, the young tech workforce in Germany shows a diverse range of arrangements. Almost twice as many respondents (40%) work a traditional five-day week compared to 22% who embrace a hybrid model, splitting their time between the home and office environments. Additionally 24% follow a configuration encompassing four days in the office and one day working remotely. 

When it comes to engagement and motivation, a compelling trend emerges. Nearly two-thirds of respondents, or 38%, assert that their highest levels of engagement occur when working from the office. Almost as many, 36%, feel equally motivated whether working from home or the office. Intriguingly, just under a quarter (23%) report feeling more engaged and motivated working from home.

Notably, when presented with a choice between two distinct work models, the majority’s preference becomes clear. A resounding 58% opt for the option of working four days in the office and one day from home, highlighting a preference for a more centralised work environment. This inclination towards a predominantly office-based setup suggests a strong desire for in-person collaboration and a structured work routine. These statistics collectively paint a picture of a workforce that values flexibility and a balance between traditional office dynamics and the benefits of remote work.

5. Balancing Act: Young Tech Professionals Weigh-up Work-Life Harmony Against Mental Wellbeing

When it comes to work-life balance and mental health, there is a notable dichotomy at play. A significant portion, 41%, find their work-life balance to be just right, while an additional 37% report it as better than anticipated. This suggests a generally positive perception of the equilibrium between professional responsibilities and personal life. However, almost half – 47% – of respondents, admit that the expectations from their roles are taking a toll on their mental health and wellbeing. This concern is somewhat assuaged by the fact that 45% feel adequately recognised and rewarded for meeting demanding deadlines and thriving under pressure, indicating a degree of acknowledgment for their efforts.

In terms of resources and support, a notable 41% feel equipped with the necessary tools to excel in their roles. This implies a level of organisational investment in providing the essential infrastructure for effective work. Moreover, 36% note that their companies afford them time to engage in volunteering or community events, underlining a commitment to fostering a sense of social responsibility and community involvement among their employees.

While many appreciate the balance they’ve struck between work and personal life, a substantial number grapple with the mental health implications of their roles. The recognition of their efforts and the provision of resources and opportunities for community involvement indicate that companies are making strides in understanding and addressing the multifaceted needs of their workforce. This complex interplay between professional fulfillment, mental wellbeing, and work-life balance underpins the evolving landscape of employment in the tech industry, where young professionals are seeking both personal fulfillment and professional growth.

7. What Motivates Young Professionals to Stay or Venture onto New Horizons?

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A striking majority, totaling 70%, appear content with their current professional standing. Nearly half, 49%, express a strong intent to remain loyal to their companies throughout 2023, while an additional 21% affirm their commitment to their current employers for the foreseeable future. On the flip side, a smaller yet noteworthy faction, comprising 14%, envisions departing by the end of 2023, while 15% plan to explore new opportunities in 2024.

The survey reveals that enticing prospects do indeed exist. For 48%, a better salary would be enough to tempt some away, while 50% express readiness to depart for a promotion. A substantial 42% seek a company that offers robust support for career development, in line with their aspirations for continuous growth. Management opportunities also hold significant allure, with 39% open to such prospects, while 33% value the flexibility that a new role might offer. Interestingly, a mere 17% would be swayed by a friend’s referral, demonstrating the weight they place on tangible career incentives. Additionally, a quarter of respondents would consider leaving for a role in a company with a stronger brand.

However, in their quest for greener pastures, young tech professionals are not passively waiting. A proactive 30% report being approached about new roles on a monthly basis, while 28% have received such invitations within the past 6-12 months.

Ultimately, the decision to stay or seek new opportunities hinges on key factors. A substantial 59% emphasize the importance of a better compensation package, while 52% prioritize the prospect of a promotion. Significantly, a third believe that a more supportive manager would be a compelling reason to stay in their current roles. This interplay of career aspirations and professional contentment speaks volumes about a generation of young professionals in Germany’s tech industry who are strategic, ambitious, and discerning about their future paths.

When asked what they liked most about their companies, close to two fifths  (37%) cited their role followed by the industry (36%) and the company culture (31%). Hovering around the quarter mark were their managers (28%), their immediate teams (26%) and the relationships they have built with colleagues (27%).

There wasn’t a standout response to the question of what they most disliked about their companies with the following all coming in at around the quarter mark including: company culture not being positive (24%), the company not making a positive contribution to the world (25%), relationship with their manager (23%) and a lack of balance and inclusivity for all minorities and LGBTQ+ (23%).

8. German Tech Talent Exhibits Cautious Optimism in the Age of AI

In the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), young professionals in the German tech industry exhibit a cautiously optimistic outlook. A substantial 44% believe that AI will wield a medium impact on their roles, prompting contemplation on potential transformations in their job functions. Significantly, a sizable 33% anticipate a high impact, indicating a recognition of the substantial changes that AI may usher in. Conversely, only a minority, constituting 15%, foresee a low impact on their roles, suggesting that most perceive AI as a powerful force with the potential to significantly influence their professional landscape. Interestingly, a small but notable 9% remain uncertain about the implications of AI on their roles.

Despite this mixed bag of responses, confidence in the potential of emerging technologies is palpable. Nearly half, totaling 45%, exude high confidence in the idea that evolving technologies will enhance their performance in their roles, auguring well for their workplace experience. Another 33% express a sense of guarded optimism, indicating that they feel somewhat confident about the impact of emerging technology, yet are unsure about the full extent of its effects.

Delving deeper into their perceptions of AI, the majority, well over half, contend that it will catalyze increased creativity (58%) and bolster efficiency (53%) in their roles. A substantial 47% also anticipate heightened productivity through the integration of AI. Interestingly, only a modest 10% harbor concerns about AI potentially leading to the elimination of their roles, suggesting a prevailing sentiment of adaptability and a belief in the symbiotic relationship between human professionals and artificial intelligence.

The results suggest that young tech professionals in Germany are poised to harness the potential of AI, viewing it as a transformative force that could enhance their capabilities rather than displace them. Their confidence in the positive impact of developing technologies underscores a forward-thinking approach, positioning them at the forefront of innovation and adaptability in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

9. German Tech Professionals Advocate for Authentic DEI&B Commitments

Regarding DEI&B in the workplace, for a modest most (36%), it entails active recognition of DEI&B acknowledgement days followed by intentionally diverse hiring (29%), and less about specific causes such as PRIDE (7%) or International Womens’ Day (10%). They see it put in practice at their workplaces mainly through gender neutral and company facilities (42%), representation in leadership (38%) and the recognition of celebration days/events (37%). Only 18% cited internal and external marketing and communications, suggesting that in Germany, while they don’t just pay lip service to this cause, it still has some way to go before it can be said to be a strategic company directive.

Summary and Conclusions

In 2023, young professionals in the German tech industry hold a positive outlook. They report high job satisfaction and feel secure in their positions, despite economic concerns. These professionals prioritise benefits like personal development budgets and pension plans over monetary compensation. Interestingly, they prefer office-based work, emphasizing collaboration and structure. This indicates a shift away from the WFH trend for this generation. Loyalty and satisfaction are evident, as many express a strong intent to stay with their current companies.

Balancing work and personal life, as well as maintaining mental wellbeing, are significant considerations. While many find their current balance satisfactory, challenges remain. Notably, over three quarters anticipate that AI will impact their roles, with more than half expecting a positive effect on productivity and creativity. This underscores the importance for businesses to expedite AI integration for a competitive advantage. Despite the overwhelmingly positive outlook, businesses should continue finding ways to sustain and build on this high level of satisfaction as the industry landscape evolves.

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