If there’s anything we’ve learnt this year, it’s that tech skills have become more in demand internationally, especially in Europe. That’s not surprising, when you consider the state of technical talent today, and how there has been a monumental shift in how candidates are engaging with potential opportunities. But one thing underpinning this, as shown by The State of European Tech report, is that MeetUps are now playing an increasingly important role in activating and engaging technical talent
There is a high correlation between the number of tech-related meetups in a given region and the attraction of new investment and company formation. Therefore, for those cities who are relatively behind in the number of meetups that are formed, there is less interest in its growth as a technical hub
Additionally, there are cities with large engineering talent pools, who are seemingly behind in the sharing of knowledge and ideas, when compared to their other European counterparts. Take Cologne, for example, which is a city I cover in DevOps and Cloud professionals. In this city, there are an estimated 165,000 developers here, with only 0.1 meetups per head. Compare this to Berlin, which has 0.13 meetups over its 100,000 developers, and you can immediately see the stark difference. Cologne illustrates one of the largest talent pools in Europe but has the lowest form Meet-Up of engagement in Europe. It seems a shame that a city with so much potential remains untapped.
But what does this mean for Cologne and its future as a tech hub?
Data suggests that the more active and vibrant the engineering community, the higher the levels of investment into the region increases. Again, looking at Berlin and Cologne; the capital investment compared to the 0.13 meetups per head was 9,682.00m for the former whilst Cologne, however, with its 0.01 meetups per head invested 110.00m; one of lowest figures amongst the study.
Talent is necessary, but talent alone is not enough. Cities need to engage that talent in active communities to drive greater levels of company formation.
Evidently, there is untapped potential in the North Rhine-Westphalia region with regards to engaging with the engineering talent pool in a different way. Not only is this a new way of integrating businesses into the community, but it may improve the region’s chances of standing out on the tech geography, not only internationally, but across Europe. This is compared to other cities in Europe, where they have managed to find success by nurturing a vibrant meetup and knowledge sharing community.
This isn’t surprising considering the challenges that businesses face in engaging with highly skilled engineering professionals, and making the region attractive to people internationally both in terms of investment and relocation. After all, the second highest reason a founder considers when setting up and choosing a city is the professional networks. This, in my eyes, can be improved through the sharing of knowledge and ideas in the form of meetups. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the level of talent increase in correlation with the number of MeetUps; talented professionals see these communities as the basis of where they move to next, so time and effort has to be putting in to establish these events and providing professionals with what they want – an opportunity to connect and to learn.
It is, therefore, time to put North Rhine Westphalia on the map.