29 December, 2021

Hiring Ukrainian ICT professionals in 2022: challenges and opportunities

With the ICT sector heating up, Lithuanian employers have been increasingly looking abroad to make up for local shortages in specific niches, setting their sights primarily on neighbouring countries.

Having already examined the labour market of Belarus in last year’s report, this time we’ve decided to look at the situation in another regional ICT powerhouse – Ukraine, known to the world for such unicorn startups as Grammarly and GitLab. So, how large is the country’s talent pool? What compensation do ICT professionals expect? Are specialists there interested in relocating abroad for a job?

Read on to find out the answers to all of these questions, and more.

Composition of the Ukrainian ICT sector

The output of Ukraine’s ICT sector in 2019 was €5.7 billion, which accounts for a sizable portion (4.6%) of the country’s total GDP. A whopping 86% of this activity takes place in 3 main ICT hubs – Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv.

Given that Ukraine is the largest country in Europe by total area (603,000 km2) and is home to 42.9M people, it’s no surprise that its number of ICT enterprises is also massive. In 2019, the country had a total of 6,152 ICT companies.

The sector currently has 172,656 employees and 147,594 self-employed professionals. Interestingly, just a few years ago, there were more than 200,000 people registered as employees in ICT companies, but now the trend of going self-employed is very much prominent. This is because more and more Ukrainian companies choose to contract rather than employ ICT specialists due to lower tax rates.

In 2021, there were 253,608 STEM students enrolled in 700 institutions offering related study programmes. The annual graduation rate is around 50,000.

Assessing talent quality

In addition to being very large, Ukraine’s ICT labour pool is quite impressive in terms of other metrics, as well. As much as 70% of employees (including the self-employed) have 5 or more years of industry experience. That experience, furthermore, is of the kind that really matters – in 2019, SkillValue put the country at number 8 in its Best Developers in the World and Where to Find Them list.

The Coursera Global Skills report has also recognised Ukrainian techies, who score 5th in Europe and 8th globally for their ICT proficiency. The strongest skills include computer programming, databases, mobile development, theoretical computer science, and cloud computing.

The quality of the country’s ICT talent is also reflected in the fact that 1 out of 3 people working in the industry receive offers from Poland, Germany, the U.S., and Canada – all countries with years of experience in hiring from the Ukrainian ICT labour market.

Potential challenges in hiring

Our study has shown that net income – disaggregated by job title in the report – is quite similar in Lithuania and Ukraine. Consumer prices, on the other hand, are a different matter altogether. More specifically, dining, public transportation and utilities are all twice more expensive in Lithuania than in Ukraine. Moreover, a person living in a Lithuanian city pays on average 25%-50% more for rent, as well as when shopping for clothing, shoes, and groceries.

Since only 10%-20% of the people interviewed for the study reported being willing to relocate for a job, coupled with persistent recruitment efforts by a handful of advanced economies mentioned above, finding new hires in Ukraine is not as simple as it may seem at first blush.

Making Lithuania more attractive

To make the offer more attractive, employers might want to consider the factors listed below that are likely to be regarded as advantageous by prospective hires:

  • Proximity to Ukraine
  • Robust democratic institutions
  • Political stability
  • Friendly people
  • Pleasant climate
  • Plentiful green spaces
  • Membership in NATO and the EU
  • Good relations with Ukraine
  • Multiple paths to citizenship
  • Opportunity to work on international projects
  • High living standards
  • Western-minded business culture
  • Cultural affinity

Making your company more attractive

Our study identified three main expectations of Ukrainian ICT experts that should be duly accounted for in any effective job offer.

  1. Competitive salary. Given the relative wage similarity in both countries, an attractive job offer should include a competitive salary that at least compensates for the price differences between Ukraine and Lithuania.
  2. Exciting projects. As career growth in the ICT field is impossible without working on challenging and complex projects, you can entice prospective hires by offering them to work on prestigious international projects that make a huge impact and look nice on one’s resume.
  3. Explicit career advancement scheme. This is an area where Lithuania truly shines because most local companies are already involved in the development of different projects and products for their clients where they play a key role. In addition, Lithuania provides ample opportunity to reach a middle-management position before turning 30, which many Lithuanian ICT professionals actually do.

Recommendations

Do you want to learn more about sourcing ICT professionals from Ukraine? Get in touch with us to receive the full report, it contains many crucial insights and information about recruitment channels and partners, which can enable you to start hiring right away.

We also recommend you to join the Work in Lithuania programme and save yourself a good deal of hassle. The programme will allow you to post job ads free of charge and provide helpful advice on other international labour markets, migration procedures applicable to highly qualified specialists, and more!

Get in touch with us at ieva.staponkute@investlithuania.com