State of Web3 Talent: Decoding the Jobs Revolution
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May 13th, 2022

TLDR

  • Web3 institutions, startups and DAOs have all-time-high levels of funding
  • Demand for talent outstrips supply of talent in Web3 with many vacant positions and billions locked up as grants
  • Talent need access to education and other resources to make the switch to Web3
  • Recruitment is still least researched and under-invested area in Web3
  • There are still many gaps that need to be better understood for Web3 recruitment
  • tr3butor wants to help fulfill the vision of the Internet of Jobs which will make Web3 mainstream
  • tr3butor is launching a large-scale talent survey to understand the gaps better
  • Results from the survey will be shared publicly as a public good.

Crypto has clearly moved beyond speculation to having real world use cases. As these tectonic shifts take place and with investors pouring in about $30 billion into blockchain startups, the demand for talent in Web3 or crypto has just surged.

According to LinkedIn, crypto job postings grew 395% in 2021, outpacing the wider tech industry. Coupled with the Great Resignation we’re witnessing a great migration of talent from Web2 to Web3.

State of the Market

As VCs piled in more than $30 billion into Web3 startups last year and even though there’s recent weakness in asset prices, the trend for venture funding hasn’t slowed down. In fact, according to The Block Research, startups have received nearly $12.5 billion in venture funding, a sector high, which has continued to increase for seven consecutive quarters now.

There’s 65 companies in Web3 that have achieved unicorn status with $1 billion or more in valuation. This makes them as or even more competitive than Web2 companies in attracting and retaining talent.

DAOs are also becoming easier to spin up. As of 2022 the DAO market cap is around $26 billion according to CoinMarketCap (CMC). In fact, CMC does not take into account all existing DAOs. To complete the picture: according to DeepDao, at the time of writing, there are 4834 DAOs with a total of $9.7B in their treasuries.

Recent data compiled by Galaxy Digital Research shows how the venture funding was distributed in the ecosystem. The largest portion of the venture funding was channeled to more traditional crypto companies offering trading, investing, exchange, and lending services. However there was also a growing trend of funding being invested in more native Web3 companies that are building NFTs, DAOs, and Metaverse tooling, infrastructure, and games.

As organic adoption rose and funding surged the demand for talent in the space has exploded. TrueUp, the tech jobs analytics platform, estimates there are 12,358 open crypto jobs in their March 2022 report. The top three job categories in this space are in Software Engineering, Marketing, Growth & Community and Data & Analytics. 

Exchanges still command most of the demand for talent in the space where the top three companies with the most open jobs are Binance, Crypto.com and Coinbase. Web3 has proven to be a remote first job market in comparison to other sectors. Slightly more than 40% of jobs are remote based.

According to a recent report by CoinMarketCap, those working in Web3 tend to prefer getting their salary in a mix of crypto and fiat, with stablecoins being the most popular form of payment.

While getting paid in the company’s native token might still be small, this could simply be early signs where, as Web3 becomes more mainstream, the proportion for native tokens grows.

Web3 reached a record level of 18,416 monthly active developers in 2021 according to Electric Capital’s Developer Report. This represents the highest level of participation in history with a 75% jump from 2021 levels.

At the same time 2021 reached an all-time high with 34,391 new developers contributing code to Web3 projects. This represented almost a 40% increase from the year before in 2020 and 14% increase from its previous all-time high in 2018.

Ethereum still commands the most developers with slightly more than 4000 monthly active open source developers. In comparison Bitcoin only has slightly more than 680 open source developers. It is estimated that 20% of new Web3 developers join the Ethereum ecosystem.

Through internal research at tr3butor we estimate about $12.8 billion in the form of compensation, rewards, grants or bounties that is waiting to be unlocked by talent in Web3 organizations. 

What crypto talent is most in demand?

According to The Blockchain Academy and Hired, the demand growth for all blockchain/crypto developers is growing by 300-500% a year. PWC estimates that blockchain will bring $1.6 trillion to the global economy and create 40 million jobs by 2030.

In addition, by 2030, people are expected to have about 50 billion IoT-enabled devices. Interesting projects are emerging at the intersection of IoT and blockchain technologies: IOTA, VeChain, etc. Therefore, there is an exponentially growing need not only for blockchain developers, but also for T-Shaped professionals, multistack developers who understand blockchain, smart contracts, low-level programming, and AI/ML. Currently there’s a significant shortage of supply for developers with these skills and experience.

There is also a shortage of developers in the context of programming languages. For example, Plexus notes a 300% increase in demand for Rust developers. Is this demand being fully met? Of course not. The market also needs specialists in Solidity, Viper, Cairo, Go, C etc.

As the demand for Web3 developers surges, it will also cause the demand for talent in Cybersecurity to increase because of the growing number of security threats.

In comparison to Web2, Web3 has more demand for jobs in Community, Developer Relations and Investing & Corporate Development. The less popular job category is currently Sales.

As the demand for digital assets increases, it is becoming clearer that Web3 organizations are hiring more non-technical roles with Marketing, Community, Support being key growth areas between 2020 and 2021.

Correlation Between Network Value and Talent

Electric Capital’s Developer Report for 2021 highlights a very interesting trend which shows that as the network value for Web3 assets increases, more developers tend to join the ecosystem. This is clearly visible in the 2016-2017 and 2020-2021 price surges. What’s even more interesting based on past trends is that the number of developers could continue to grow even if the prices peaked.

The ebb and flow of developer interest into the Web3 ecosystem reminds us of the infamous decision tree diagram from MakerDAO which shows how developer interests change based on asset price fluctuations.

Mind map showing correlation between crypto prices and dev talent movement by MakerDAO
Mind map showing correlation between crypto prices and dev talent movement by MakerDAO

However we can contrast this with the report from Electric Capital which shows that developers will still join Web3 even if prices may have peaked. However, what’s important to remember is that, while the past could be a good lesson on these trends, we’re quite certain that more talent needs to join the space because demand outstrips supply and will continue into the future.

It’s important for Web3 organizations to note that the more full-time developers they bring onboard the higher the chances these developers stay for the long-term as opposed to freelance developers. The Developer Report from Electric Capital shows that full-time developers that have joined from previous cycles tend to be still active today.

With the recent levels of funding being poured into the space we can extrapolate that as more full-time developers get onboarded to Web3, there’ll be more long term active developers in the space for years to come.

While the number of developers joining Ethereum and Bitcoin have been steadily growing with Ethereum significantly outpacing Bitcoin, the growth rate of developers joining other ecosystems has outpaced the growth in ETH and BTC by 86%. It is becoming clearer that a multi-protocol future is a definite trend.

This is supported further if we zoom in we can see that specific networks like Polkadot, Solana, Near, BSC, Avalanche and Terra have a faster initial ecosystem growth in developers if compared to the initial growth of developers in Ethereum. 

Employer Demand for Seniority and Experience

Along with market demand, the number of entry-level positions is growing. More often than not, candidates are required to have three years of experience or more, but there are not enough experienced employees for all employers. One strategy for employers to overcome this is to hire juniors and train them up internally.

Source: chaise-blockchainskills.eu
Source: chaise-blockchainskills.eu

Traditional and Crypto Worlds are Merging

In addition to native crypto companies, players from the traditional world that were not from the crypto sphere are entering the market. These players include banks, fintech, and large international corporations. Nearly 70% of banks are cautiously testing  blockchain in some way. According to a study by Blockdata, 32 of the top 100 public companies are positive about crypto, and 81 are using it for business.

Compensation in the crypto talent market

If we apply a Web2 lens to Web3 salaries and abstract away compensation for DAO contributors because it can vary greatly, we begin to see the following elements:

✅ According to Hired, the average salary of a blockchain/crypto developer: $150,000 - $175,000 per year.

✅ ZipRecruiter shows $154,550 per year with a maximum of $242,000 per year.

Angellist graphically compares the crypto and non-crypto sectors. So, for developers in crypto according to their data, the average salary is 12.9% higher than in traditional IT development ($112k vs. $108k).  For non-technical roles, the ratio is almost the same - 12.7% higher ($89k vs $79k).

While average salaries, after peaking in late 2019 and early 2020, have come to their mean, Solidity developer salaries have been steadily rising since 2019.

Source: Plexus
Source: Plexus

Talent Experiences

What about the experiences of talent in Web3? We can see that Web3 leads over Web2 when it comes to compensation and benefits. Not only is the basic compensation higher in Web3 organizations, they have more tools at their disposal like token rewards or vesting in comparison to Web2 organizations. 

We can see that compensation is important but not the main driver for satisfaction. A recent study by MakerDAO shows that developers working in Web3 tend to have a high satisfaction score (average satisfaction score = 8.4). 

The main reasons why Web3 is able to retain talent with a high satisfaction score is primarily because developers have impactful work, collaborative community and autonomy.

Education and access to knowledge resources was identified as a major gap at the talent level to know where and how to contribute and also the practicalities of making a career switch which involved knowing more than just about the project or tech. It included understanding compensation, legal risks, benefits etc.

Understanding the Talent Recruitment Gaps

It’s becoming clear that Web3 is a force to be reckoned with. VCs have poured billions into startups, DAO treasuries have swelled to billions and centralized exchanges control billions more in funds. The demand for talent has never been greater and the major challenge lies in addressing the supply side. 

We also know that talent inflow has shown a correlation with asset prices and even if prices have peaked there’s a strong probability talent inflow will continue over the next few years. However even with this inflow the demand far outweighs the supply and the demand is growing beyond just purely technical roles. 

Through our own research, we estimate there’s more than 20,000 vacancies for Web3 positions with more than $5 billion in grants waiting to be unlocked by contributors.

While talent that have joined Web3 enjoy quite high satisfaction rates one of the main challenges lies in providing them with access to knowledge, education resources and real examples to help them make the leap into Web3.

It’s no secret that the best ROI for most projects will come from investing in talent recruitment. However it is still one of the least researched and most under-invested areas in Web3. Institutions, startups and DAOs will have to start investing and executing more seriously on building their employer brand, improving their recruitment practices and boost community development.

In view of all the research and lessons we have gathered there are still many gaps in Web3 recruitment that need to be understood better such as:

  • Soft skills that talent should be equipped with
  • Geographic breakdown of talent
  • Demographics who are most inclined to adopt Web3 careers
  • Current talent journeys into Web3
  • Specific role functions with a supply shortage in Web3
  • How reputation of talent and Web3 organizations assessed currently
  • Impact and lessons of Web3 compensation

In order to better understand these gaps, tr3butor is launching a large-scale Web3 Talent Survey soon.

Why this survey is noteworthy 

tr3butor has laid out data and research of the Web3 talent market from other industry players. However it's not enough. There’s a definite need for as much in-depth market research as possible. This is why tr3butor is kicking things off by launching a large-scale survey to better understand the maturity of the Web3 talent market and contribute positively to the ecosystem.

The survey will be conducted amongst current and potential Web3 contributors (both Tech and Non-Tech): Web3 pioneers, newcomers, and those who are just planning a transition from Web2 to Web3.

Participants will receive a variety of benefits (early and full access to the survey results, access to the community and beta version of the product, POAPs, whitelisting for Genesis NFTs, etc).

The whole Web3 community is set to benefit from having this focused analysis of the Web3 talent market. Additionally, the survey will help talent and organizations make better data-driven decisions which will result in better long-term results for both sides.

Fulfilling the vision of Internet of Jobs

Web3 today is clearly in a better position than it was many years ago. The next chapter of Web3 will trigger a revolution in how blockchains go mainstream. It is the same revolution that we at tr3butor want to contribute to - Internet of Jobs*.

 *A concept proposed by Kevin Owocki, founder of Gitcoin, Internet of Jobs proposes a vision where our traditional definition of work is revolutionized.

With blockchains enabling a seamless transfer of value, talent wouldn’t need to contribute in Web3 in a conventional manner. Web3 broadens the spectrum of compensation for contributions, which opens up new opportunities for both talent and organizations. Along with getting compensated in traditional ways like salaries, Web3 contributors can accommodate bounties, grants, tips, socially-coordinated rewards, token rewards, staking, referrals etc. 

tr3butor is building one of the many interfaces which can help fuel the vision of the Internet of Jobs. We are going to achieve this by building our product and community around the possibilities of Web3. Our ecosystem will bring talent matching on-chain and help unlock opportunities for contributors and new talent for projects, DAOs etc. 

The first step in this direction is our research project. Follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss these upcoming announcements.

Short Wrap-up

Web3 along with its talent market is growing rapidly and the possibilities of revolutionizing the way we work is becoming real. The evolution that Web3 is bringing about will unlock more opportunities for both talent and organizations.  As it stands now there’s already billions locked up in grants and tens of thousands of Web3 jobs. In order to fulfill a more frictionless vision of Web3 talent recruitment, we’re going to need more in-depth research and data, higher quality interfaces, and vibrant communities.


Are you looking to recruit Web3 talent or distribute grants? 

tr3butor can help. Click here to tell us more.

About tr3butor

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