Many companies are currently feeling the effects of a lack of talented IT specialists with suitable skills on the labour market and have begun to look for talented help abroad. The Paylab Portal focused on IT specialists from the Baltics, Balkans and Central Europe in an effort to determine their willingness to work abroad. A total of 4,343 IT specialists working in this region across 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) participated in a Paylab survey at the beginning of 2017. They primarily included software engineers, technical specialists and programmers. Higher earning potential was the most attractive reason to work abroad, given that they were likely to earn at least double in Western Europe than what they were earning in their home country.
The vast majority of information technology (IT) specialists are known to take a keen interest in new job opportunities and actively monitor the current options available to them on the job market, even if they currently have stable employment and are not looking for work at the moment. After all, a Stackoverflow global study mapping the career behaviour of IT specialists confirmed as much. The study shows that only 13.1% of developers are actively looking for a job. But 75.2% of developers are interested in hearing about new job opportunities.
In terms of IT skills, the region is considered to have a very attractive concentration of people with an IT education and a good level of language skills. Based on the latest European Digital City Index, cities including Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia, Ljubljana, Tallinn, Riga and Budapest are rated as focal points for an attractive IT labour force in terms of the quality of their skills. Some call the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region the Danube Valley due to the concentration of its innovative business environment, something which has been written up in the Financial Times. Investors from around the world rank this region is the third most important after Western Europe and the USA. In EY’s Attractiveness Survey 2017, which was global in its scope, the CEE region was ranked as competitive and attractive and the countries in the region found success in the rankings in terms of attracting foreign investment and creating new jobs.
IT talents from the Baltics, Balkans and Central Europe are open to job opportunities abroad
IT specialists in the Baltics, Central Europe and the Balkans are open to attractive job opportunities and express a relatively high willingness to travel abroad for work. Only 22 per cent of people working in the IT sector in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe completely rule out working abroad. While a third of employees would be willing to travel abroad for work for a period of up to a few months at most, up to 22 per cent of people working in IT would be willing to travel for a period of more than one year if they came across a truly attractive offer.
The first way to convince them to make a move is to offer a good mix of compensation and benefits that exceeds their earnings and conditions at home. Guaranteed higher earnings and attractive options for personal and professional growth would convince up to 57 per cent of IT specialists from the region. Paylab has salary data for more than 40 technical IT positions for the region of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.
Higher salaries abroad are the main attraction for IT specialists from the region of the former Eastern Bloc
IT professionals enjoy higher than average earnings in their home countries, but remain in search of career challenges that could take their salaries to the next level. An attractive option for greater financial security is to work abroad in the same profession for a pre-determined length of time on interesting projects and with working conditions that are better than those at home.
The second most important factor to motivate them to pack their bags was attractive career opportunities. People in the IT sector are attracted to technical challenges that give them the opportunity to work with quality technologies and to participate in interesting and meaningful projects.
Companies increase their chances of attracting IT talent from the CEE region when their offers include the ability to bring immediate family members along in the case of long-term contracts. This is the third most important factor with the highest weight in the overall decision making process for leaving and working abroad among IT specialists, given that long-term separation for family and friends is the biggest factor holding people back from migrating for work.
Some of the major advantages of working in IT are the relatively high level of flexibility it offers and the ability to work remotely and communicate online, with face-to-face meetings being replaced more and more with video calls. A relatively large portion of IT specialists know English and work as freelancers on their local markets. This group accounts for around a tenth of the IT workforce according to global statistics. Other opportunities for cooperation that companies exploit include establishing local company branches that employ IT specialists in the given country at local wages and remote collaboration with specialists in the form of remote work, which does not require moving for work; rather, it simply consists of the remote delivery of IT services.
The Alma Media group maintains a network of local job portals for the entire region of the Baltics, Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe through its network of local salary portals with identical data acquisition methodology under the Paylab brand and has data on salaries and benefits for individual jobs and positions.