Polish view of the the UK Ruby Market

Salaam Alaykum Poland,

Hope you are all doing extremely well. Apologies for not addressing you in your language. I don’t speak Polish :frowning:

I’m writing to you today because I am interested in your view of the UK market. For the last 4 years I’ve been a prolific Ruby recruiter. Roughly 40% of everyone I’ve ever recruited for has been Polish so I am most appreciative of Poland for helping me pay my bills and eat :slight_smile:

I work with a huge range of UK based companies and have Permanent, Contract (Temporary) & remote roles for Ruby developers working for them. I help developers rewrite their CVs, tailoring them for the UK market and arrange a range of interviews (typically, 4-5 in person interviews) for developers who come over for a week, meet a bunch of companies, then pick the best offer for them.

Time line:

When I first got to grips with Ruby in 2011 & 2012 the majority of my Polish placements were people of all ages moving over to the UK for permanent roles and with plans to move to the UK permanently.

From late 2012 to mid-2014 I saw the majority of Polish placements being either developers coming over to take on short (3-6 month) contracts but with the view of moving back to the UK as soon as the work was completed. There were still some developers looking to relocate permanently.

From mid-2014 til now the only Polish developers who’ve been approaching me for permanent roles have pretty much been youngish developers (20-25 years old), who have aqured a good ammount of expeirence and are now looking for a Mid-level roles in London. I’m not getting the older developers want to make the switch, these developers are looking to either just come over for a short peiod of time or to work remotely.

What I’m interested to know is, have all the senior Ruby developers in Poland who are open to moving to the UK already done so or is there another explanation for this phenomenon?

Thank you for your time, and once again, sorry for speaking English on a Polish forum

Best, Louis. :smile:


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I consider myself a senior (mostly because of age, not necessarily skills :), and from my perspective moving to UK (or any other country) is a big deal.

Wages in Poland are on the rise, I think that over the last 12-18 months ads have been mentioning up to 50% higher wages than before.

Remote jobs are more and more available. I’m working from home right now and it’s a great convenience for me. Travel is not a big deal, I have great connections from Warsaw to anywhere I need to go to.

Costs of living make a huge difference. We’ve made a comparison on this forum and in my situation I’m way better off in Poland. My wife has a good job, my kids are in private daycare, I have an apartment. I don’t suppose I could afford this in UK (given the commute, size of the apartment etc).

Hope it helps.


The answer to the last question is: Yes. Since the opening of the EU market lots of people emigrated to UK, but now pretty much anyone who wanted to leave already left :smile:

There’s a very long thread on this very forum with long calculations. For senior developer it’s just much better to live in Poland and work remotely. You get paid european rates while having a Polish (much lower) costs of living.

The cost of living is roughly half of the cost of living in London. You can for example live in a center of Warsaw and/or Kraków right next to Wawel in luxury apartment (think apartment near Hyde Park or Backingam Palace) for the cost of renting a small flat in London.

So unless there are other factors involved (like you refer to live in a country with sane laws and non-hostile bureaucracy, or you hate catholic church), there’s really no reason to move (at least for senior developer that earns more then 12k PLN / month ~ 2,5k GBP/month netto).


Thank you for the replys.

I understand the point that you can get a bigger house in Poland, but I’m interested, are the future opportunities the same as they are in London?

There’s people i placed in senior developer roles in 2013 at £65k who are now on £95k as CTOs etc (yearly salaries)

Also: There are so many people who moved over a few years ago for a permanent job, but then found people they got on well with and formulated ideas and started large start up using investor money they found in London. Are those sorts of opportunities exciting enough to tempt people to move over?

I think that the main issue is that we no longer need to compare opportunities on a city-to-city basis. Remote is the key here. And more and more companies open their offices / have development teams in Poland.

£65k that’s before taxes? Well, if you’re a developer, with proper skills and not in a rush to get the first job that’s out there then you can make almost as much here in Poland (working for a foreign company). And when you’re on a contract basis then taxes are really low.

Startups are exciting but there’s already plenty of people doing this here in Poland and our market is slowly getting more and more recognition amongst foreign capital.

One other thing - I think that 99% of inquiries from London were for well established corporation-like companies. I’m more of a startup person and I know that I wouldn’t fit well to that kind of environment. That could be another reason.

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Recently i was looking for a new job. I wanted to move to UK/Berlin/somewhere to meet new people, and see how life looks like in foreign countries.
But after few days of searching , i found a remote job - i can earn same amount of money that i would earn in UK or Berlin working in office. But as Filip and Świstak wrote, living costs makes huge diffrence. In Poland (Białystok where i live) i can have 70m^2 new apartment for 500E / month or even less. I have friend developer who lives in London and he sent me his bills and receipts from local shops where he buys ham & bread ;] Calcuation was simple - even if i earn 20-30$ more in London after all costs i have much less money left for me ;] So i decided to work remotely even if my first thought was - i want to move somewhere and work in the office so i can meet new people.
If you want to hire as much developers as you can as Head hunter, convince your clients to hire remote devs ;]

There are plenty of articles why remote working is good, f.e.:

Sorry about the late response.

I’m not a big fan of corporate entities so I’ve always focused on exciting start ups. I’ve got a huge range of jobs working for pretty ground breaking tech teams, many of which offer really good options/equity etc. I’ve even got roles currently for backend developers working in the Video games market for a company backed by Sega.

How would you recommend that I reach out to people to highlight these sorts of opportunities if people are assuming that the companies that the UK have to offer are corporate?

I think you should be selling location. Money-wise the gap has been decreasing, especially considering taxes & living costs.

But that’s not the point; I’d personally prefer to earn less and live & work in silicon valley (vs. Poland), because nothing beats that location, people and overall experience (in my opinion). I would not be interested in UK or London - but many people could be. It’s probably 2nd/3rd best place in the world when it comes to emerging tech market & startups.

Actually @mark rised very good point - you should sell location. I, personally, would like not to go to SF - its too far, a bit crazy in my opinion, far from Europe. *
I would emphasis such advantages of London market (based on opinions from my friends, who where working in London):

  • 2nd/3rd world tech market place - from @mark
  • experienced people you could learn from - in Poland, I never met 20+ years experience developer in RoR or JS. In London, I know they exists - learning from people with such experience is great.
  • much more happens - in London tech talks about some technology are given by its core developers (they come i.e. from SF ;)). In Poland, its rather guy who used given technology two weeks ago (maybe it changed now, I haven’t been in tech talks here since 2012)
  • multicultural working environment - you can meet people from all over the world
  • bigger chances for big projects, and try interesting solutions (but it may be beyond rails)

Also its worth to mention, that connections to Poland are really good from London - often faster than between major polish cities.
Sadly for you, right now every week there is lot of job offer with very good salary, so you won’t have easy job to find people, as well salary is not crucial since after all you will save same amount of money at the end of month. If not, the difference is often not worth to leave friends and family…

  • However, working there for few months would be nice experience.

Really appreciate the advice.

Quick Salary check:

For example: today I just got a role in today for a senior £100k working for a startup.- Looking for a super experienced Ruby Developer.- This is on the high side of things (probably the highest i can get right now for a permanent developer)

This is the tax breakdown accoring to a tax calculator

How does this compare to Poland? (I’m not sure of the tax situation with you guys)

£5.5k net / month is a great salary, no question about that

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In terms of Renting in London, if you wanted something Flashy::
http://www.gumtree.com/p/2-bedrooms-rent/huge-2-bed-split-level-flat-on-penn-road-only-3-minutes-walk-of-caledonian-road-tube-shops/1103097552 - this would cost you £1720

If you wanted something nice but not as expensive, you could get something outside of the centre for around £1k.

With the above salary minus the living cost, how would that compare VS Poland?

@LouisRoR what’s the living cost? I know a common-sense formula is usually ‘the same as the monthly rent’ ?

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@mark I’d say 60% of rent (in Inner London); rent prices are extremely high in London due to so called housing crisis.

The main problem with that £100k role ist that there’re just a few of them per year and most likely they will be filled soon by someone local. Mid- or Senior- level Developer coming from Poland (or basically any non-native speaker) is more likely to earn somewhere in £45-65k range. Assuming it’s 55k pa. (~£3,250 pcm after taxes). After renting a flat and covering increased living expenses (incl. a few trips to home country per year and transportation costs) you end up being able to save similar amount of money, as you would save from being a contractor in Poland (after deducting taxes and covering living costs, of course). It’s still a great salary, but I believe it just doesn’t justify moving to London for most people.

If your goal @LouisRoR is to find new or best selling points for perm roles, I would suggest stressing out personal development opportunities, scale, future career prospects (including deep specialisation path) and a chance to learn from the best people in the industry. Basically, there just a few companies in Poland that could match any fairly successful start-up in London in terms of technical mastery or even management system.

No they don’t :slight_smile: The first stable version of RoR was released 10 years ago. Internally it was used for 2-3 more years. I started with 0.13beta ~11years ago. So if someone is claiming 20+ years of expirience he’s lying through his teath.

Javascript indeed was released 20 years ago. But I guess there’s a handful of people in USA that used it then, and all of them worked for Netscape.

I do agree though that it’s very hard to find people with this kind of expirience in Poland. Several people I knew in Kraków with 9+ years of expirience either moved to London or USA already :smile:

@swistak84 I wasn’t clear enough. I mean people with 20+ overall experience, not in rails or js. Sorry!

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@LouisRoR few more info for you for better recognition in situation. In Poland, ie in Warsaw you can buy really nice flat for like 100_000 pounds. In other cities, its cheaper. Leaving abroad is much harder, and I really would say that even having more money won’t price it if you don’t have any other motivation. Such motivation is better technical level and more opportunities, but, here we are starting other aspect - probably top offers, like this 100k are not 9am-5am jobs, right? So sometimes it is better to have different, less stress job…
Maybe it would be good idea for you to simply come here (flights are direct and cheap) and give some presentations on local *RUGs, there is bunch of them. You can then demystify some facts about London, and anwser questions directly. And don’t focus on money, rather on adventure and personal management aspect (but sure, money is important)!


One more thought.

It’s easy for, say, junior / middle level developers to move. They are younger, no / smaller family, no mortgage, no permanent attachment to any particular place.

The older, the more experienced person, the more attachment to a particular place. Also, I love Warsaw and I would really have hard time leaving it. :slight_smile:

@filiptepper +1
So @LouisRoR you should start convincing companies hiring more and more remote employees.

That would be great. I get many offers from HR’s on Linkedin and they never have remote jobs. Euros, Dolars, Pounds are really nice if i can have them in Poland. For example 3K EUR in Poland is good cash, but in Germany it’s nothing special