Element • London, United Kingdom

Engineering Manager - Backend

Employment type:  Full time


Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Job Description

Who we are

Element is the startup which employs the core team behind Matrix— the leading project for secure, open decentralised communication.

Matrix’s mission is to make messaging as open as email— allowing everyone to choose where their data is hosted, enjoy private conversations and ultimately be in control of their own communication.

Practically speaking this means building open, self-sovereign alternatives to WhatsApp/Slack/Teams for governments, civic institutions and communities. At one end of the scale the French government has adopted Matrix for all of its instant messaging needs and more recently we delivered the world’s largest-ever single contract for a collaborative software service helping schools in Germany support remote learning. On the other end of the scale open source communities such as Mozilla have adopted Element for all of its community chat replacing IRC

The Role

Reporting to the Head of Engineering Management you will lead and provide engineering management support to the Element Backend team, which covers development and maintenance of all our production backend infrastructure.

This means not only the matrix.org instance available on the open federation but also the server implementations run by Element’s SaaS EMS offering and governmental scale Matrix installations.

More concretely you will:-

  • Shape and communicate the technical strategy for the team.
  • Ensure that the team is on track to deliver on its goals, course correcting where necessary.
  • Facilitate technical design sessions, retrospectives, 1:1s etc.
  • Take responsibility for the ongoing professional development of the team.
  • Contribute to the hiring strategy and participate in interviews and hiring decisions.
  • Act as a point of contact for other areas of the business.
  • Relentlessly remove impediments blocking the team.

The team operates remotely and is made up of seven engineers, we can support most locations in Europe as well as the US. We have our headquarters in London and will require travel from time to time.

Since (almost) everything we do is open source you can get a great feel for exactly what it would be like to work on Element - joining dev-centric channels such as #synapse-dev:matrix.org provides a window into the core team and the community. Come and say hi!

If you have any questions please feel free to reach Neil via matrix on @neilj:matrix.org


  • You have experience leading a high-performing team of engineers, including managing and shipping cross-functional or multi-team projects.
  • You are endlessly curious about the technologies your team works with and strive to keep your technical knowledge sharp — but you also feel comfortable knowing your greatest impact won't be as a technical contributor.
  • You place a tremendous value on good communication and appreciate async- and remote-friendly working practices.
  • You understand methodologies like Agile, XP, and Lean, and see their value, but don't believe there's only one right way to get work done.
  • You are comfortable with the pace and trade offs of an early stage startup (meaning: know how to take care of yourself and your team, get your work done without working around the clock, prioritize ruthlessly, be able to tolerate a little uncertainty and sometimes wear different hats).

Nice to haves

It would nice if any of the following were true.

  • Some previous history working in an open source environment, either professionally or as a community member.
  • You have worked as a developer on distributed backend systems in the past. We don’t need you to have used our technology stack (python/twisted/redis/postgres) but familiarity would be a plus.
  • An interest/experience in the world of decentralised technology and/or messaging technology.
  • The backend team’s remit bleeds into operations, experience working in tech ops would be a bonus.
  • You have managed remote staff or have worked remotely yourself. Element is a highly distributed organisation and we continually strive to improve our remote experience.


Our general approach is to treat people like adults and acknowledge that by being flexible, we create an environment for people to do their best work. For more details, here is our manifesto.

That said, specific points that differentiate us.

  • Yearly bonus and meaningful equity options.
  • Mentoring by our experienced subject-matter experts
  • Work (almost) full-time on FOSS projects with high visibility and a large, enthusiastic community
  • The chance to work with large-scale governmental installations through to high-profile FOSS projects such as Mozilla or KDE.
  • Option to work partially or fully remote (our head office is in London), we offer flexibility and consider ourselves to be a family-friendly environment.
  • People tend to stay with the company for a long time. We take this as a sign that we have a cohesive, supportive culture, that we have engaging, challenging work and that people can develop their skills and careers here for the long term.

Element does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, colour, religion, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other reason prohibited by law in provision of employment opportunities and benefits.

Company benefits

Open to part-time employees
Open to job sharing
Work from anywhere scheme
Enhanced sick pay
Pregnancy loss leave

The FlexScore® is the result of a rigorous 2-step verification of a company’s flexibility

First we assess the flexibility options Element provides and then we anonymously survey a statistically significant proportion of their employees to make sure Element is as flexible as they say they are. Our assessment is based on the six key elements of flexibility: location, hours, autonomy, benefits, role modelling and work-life balance.

We ask the hard questions so you don’t have to.

Working at Element

Company employees


Gender diversity (male:female:non-binary)


Office locations

London, UK and Rennes, France

Funding levels


Hiring Countries

United Kingdom
What employees are saying

"Element is 100% one of the most flexible companies I've ever worked for, and it makes a big difference. I've had recruiters offer me salaries that are £60k higher, and it's still not enough to make me want to leave this lovely place. Founders make a BIG DEAL about flexible working. In fact, they have apologised company wide for sending emails a bit late or a bit early. And they've made it VERY CLEAR that this is because they take their children to school or take time out, and the rest of us aren't supposed to feel pressured by that. It's just a lovely environment all round and I feel very lucky!"

Anonymous Element Employee

Awards & Achievements
Most flexible Saas & Dev Software companies

Most flexible Saas & Dev Software companies

Industry awards 2022