Digital Trend Spotting: Germany

We delve deeper into the industry trends of specific disciplines across the German Market…

Digital Trend Spotting

Earlier this year we shared insights into the German Digital market and provided a full digital salary benchmark. But we wanted to delve deeper into the industry trends of specific disciplines. Ciaran McCotter, Technical Recruiter at Cogs Berlin discusses his insights into the market in 2016/2017:


In addition to increasing demand for Digital Creatives, the demand for User Experience continues to grow exponentially and its value in organisations has undergone a significant transition. Ideas around Service Design and Design Thinking have gained significant traction in recent years, and candidates who have a good understanding of User-Centered methodologies are enjoying more job opportunities and higher salaries in an increasingly digitalized environment. Innovative agencies in Germany have understood well this development, and are hiring additional staff to offer better, UX-optimised products and services for their clients. The trend for a lot of strong UX designers is to opt for freelance work, due to the high demand, flexibility and good rates of pay. However, this has opened up many opportunities for international UX designers to find well-paid permanent positions with the agencies, brands and startups.

Two other interesting trends we’ve mapped in the vibrant Service and Product Service industry; firstly a diversification into partial design disciplines i.e. Business Design (KPI definition and ROI modelling), Strategic Design (Service Vision and Proposition), and Experience Design (Products, Concepts and Service Models). Second a demand for a generalist skillset and for taking multiplies roles i.e. fast-paced product development cycles often force a consolidation of UX with UI-Design and a hybrid skillset becomes a key differentiating factor for prospective candidates.


Similar patterns and interesting transitions are happening for Marketing and Clients Services. There is a real shift for German social media agencies who are positioning themselves as digital transformation agencies. Content Communication continues to be a significant focus for the agencies, as well as Content Marketing, Personal Marketing, Cross Marketing and Collaborative Marketing. As such, there is increasing collaboration and overlap between publishing and digital agencies.

This overlap is mirrored by some interesting M&A activity across Germany. Last year, a new German influencer in Content Marketing was formed; C3-Creative Code and Content –  a merger between Kircher Burckhardt, formerly Germany’s leading agency for corporate publishing, and Burda Creative (a creative agency) and Cope (IT/Data agency). Similarly, publishing powerhouse Gruner & Jahr have bolstered their expertise in social media with Webguerillas  and also joined forces with media agency Medienfabrik, all of which are operating under the Content Marketing leader Territory.

The ascendancy of content marketing and activity within the sector have encouraged an increase in requests for talent. Candidates who can understand all forms of content are becoming highly desirable, and the more versatile the background, the better. For instance, a journalism and digital background is ideal in today’s diverse marketplace.


The imbalance between ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ for skilled developers and tech talent has become even more pronounced in Berlin. Naturally Tecchies in all fields are enjoying generous increases in salaries and benefits within a highly competitive marketplace. Some estimations reckon there are between eight and ten potential job offers for just one programmer. Nonetheless, the most prestigious and renown organisations continue to be highly selective, setting the highest benchmarks for talent and offering the most rewarding packages to only the brightest and the best.

Like Creative and Marketing, Technology departments within agencies are developing and transitioning into a more multi-faceted offering. There have been some interesting requirements for Web Developers whose coding expertise ought to be complemented with a creative sensibility – technologists who have an understanding of UX, prototyping, animation etc. but are still competent with the latest frameworks like ReactJS and Angular2.0. Versatility is key for the dynamic and cross-functional agencies, and programmers with an understanding of other disciplines will thrive in these rapidly-evolving environments.

For startups, corporates, and everything in between, the emphasis on cutting-edge technology continues to dominate, but there is also an increasing focus on scalability, Big Data technologies and ‘full product life cycle’ expertise. An Engineer who has experience in the AWS product stack, a Mobile developer who has built an app from scratch, or a Java Developer who understands Hadoop and building for scalability are all enjoying the most career opportunities and highest salaries in the startup scene. Full-Stack Engineers and Programming Polygots who can jump between javascript, PHP, or Ruby-on-Rails depending upon the application are also highly sought after, as well as those who are as talented in leading and communicating as they are in coding.

If you would like to explore digital opportunities across Germany you can view leading opportunities here, or talk to the team for some expert advice.

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