EU vs US have completely different Product Management views

EU vs US have completely different Product Management views. How do you see this?

This might be a bit of a rant post but I think it is necessary to wake up the global product management community!

I regularly scout product management positions and I have to shockingly say that the job requirements in Europe VS the US describe a completely different picture. Which leads me to believe that we are drifting away from each other and in the long run killing the Product Manager career…

Example: Product Manager

Your qualifications and experience:

You have a successfully completed master’s degree or state examination in the field of computer science, sciences or economics (or comparable)

You have several years of professional experience in [domain, domain, domain]

You have experience in successfully managing the expectations of different stakeholders e.g. commercial and technical contacts etc.

You have in-depth knowledge of key standards [for domain]

Likewise, you are confident in the use of [domain] vocabularies

You have good knowledge of the central building blocks [of domain]

This is from one of the largest companies of Germany - not a single word about PM experience!

Are we about to break the PM career track globally?


It would be useful if you could provide the side by side comparison of European vs US role descriptions.


Having 5 product roles in the EU/UK and 4 state side, they’re the same to me. Sometimes I hire for the domain knowledge because it’s specific and train people on product, sometimes I hire great product people and they can pick up the domain. It’s team dependent.


So you looked at one job posting and extended it to cover the views of an entire continent? I don’t understand the logic behind this post.


@CarolynMiles, I clearly wrote it’s an example, but no I have been meeting PM for the last 1 year here in Europe and looking at at least 50-100 job posts.

My saying: A PM is not a defined career in Europe and could get very different understanding coming from the US or doing any certifications from the US. If we don’t come to an alignment I would even say that it is a risky career path but I would go that far yet…


I’m sorry - what you’re saying is simply not true. I worked in the EU - companies definitely understand what a PM is.

Europeans are a bit more conservative and value education and theoretical knowledge more than tech companies do in the US, so entry requirements might be different - but in terms of the actual job I don’t agree that it’s “not a defined career” the same way PM is in NA.


Looking at the UK market it’s always been heavily domain, domain, domain. Or machine learning :wink: I think lots of places assume you can get up to speed with PM skills if you already understand something of the user


@BethanyGrey, Which is what the US would see different…

Also quiet funny to see products managed with no PM experience … often look like a giant airplane cockpit to solve every user need…


@Karan, I was also wondering if some of these adverts were really product owner/SME jobs in disguise or because that’s how some firms think about the role? I particularly hate when a marketing position is labelled as a PM role


This assumption is fine if one is looking for a Technical Product Manager. The modern PM role is much more than just domain. Probably this mindset is going to be counter productive in the long run. The ability to think, visualize and build a product needs more than just domain.


Product Management in Europe is mostly Project Management. Owners and higher-ups rarely trust their employees in non-management positions to call the shots themselves.


@AhmadBashir, Agree, and that is what I mean. So much risk averse here that owners and CEO would rather say "lets get someone with 10 years domain knowledge but I will still do the whole strategy part.“


I would want to see more side-by-side examples. Otherwise, this looks like another “woke” post with a complete lack of substance.

Working at an international company that (aside from other things) provides product managers and product owners in various geographies I know that we’re following the same or similar product mindset, using the same or similar frameworks and ways of working. Obviously, certain things differ based on domain, product, client, and geography, but as they say: product management is a product management is a product management.


I’ve worked for European companies and US companies in Product. During interviews they drilled me on experience, not domain knowledge. They care more about how my product management skills and not my domain expertise.

Plus if you work in a company whose main product is a cloud / mobile SaaS, your customers come from different industries. Domain knowledge is a plus but not a must - you’re not selling to just one industry. The only exception is if you are building a very niche, industry specific solution.

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@NaomiNwosu, I agree with you, but how do you then explain such differences? Only SaaS VS non SaaS companies? It would still mean that these are two completely different career tracks?