H1 Review: Tech and Product Recruitment

H1 Review: Tech and Product Recruitment

Orange Quarter Founder Joe Walsh on the H1 Tech Hiring Market

8 August 2023

H1 2023 has been tough for us recruiting folk – let’s not feel too sorry for us, (I know you won’t) we’ve had a very good post-covid run! I think this is a good opportunity to let you know about market dynamics as we see them in Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona & London. 

Being as transparent as possible – we placed fewer permanent Engineers in Q2 than we did in Q1 and I can’t wait to stop hearing the phrase “in this market”. The contrast to where we were 1 year ago is wild. You could literally cut our revenue and permanent placements in half (we have the same headcount).


What we are seeing is that there is still an access to talent problem for businesses, there is still a demand for engineers but the jump to hire permanent team members has been met with more deliberation and barriers only similar to the credit crunch period of 2008 / 2009.


Sorry to start with such doom and gloom – but the redeeming points to make here are July was the best month we have had as a business since October 2022 and we are seeing a continuous rise of 3 & 6-month freelance job offers.

In April we conducted a survey with 200 founders across Amsterdam, Berlin & London we asked them to rate the biggest challenges that they face in the next 18 months. It was resounding that ‘access to capital’ & ‘access to talent’ are by far and away the biggest challenges within these businesses. The other categories that were dwarfed by ‘access to capital’ and ‘access to talent’ are Supply dynamics, Competition, Demand dynamics then finally Employee morale.

Business challenges according to founders

90% of growth companies have less than 2 years runway – we really want to see a H2 investment bounce-back.

Q2 saw some at least signs of recovery, finally halting a six-month funding decline and some moderate. A gradual return to success looks more likely rather than a big bounce-back and we feel that with interest rates and lack of investment, the worst will be behind us. 

There is still a pleasure in hiring for quality and key hires and we have certainly focussed on that. In H1 we did some of our best work with long-term clients like Klara, Hendrick, South Pole and Photobox.


The flexibility of hiring freelance has also become an even more attractive option and headhunting leadership-level roles has remained constant.


Read more about our partnership with Amsterdam-based HealthTech Abcam, and how we hired 7 Interim Engineers to join their team in H1. 

We are also focussing on smaller more focused industry-led events rather than invite all meetups. The power of speaking to people in your network and navigating a path through this more turbulent period is more important than ever. Check out our last event with Achmea in Amsterdam, geared toward leaders in mobility. 

Growth at all costs has gone. Hiring for quality never leaves us! Working with you means we are working in the best and most vibrant cities in Europe and with some of the most innovative tech companies in the world. 


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