NOVEMBER 08, 2022

Skills shortage in IT ... and how to get around it

The digital transformation is in full swing. But for many companies, the desired growth is not happening because there is simply a lack of skilled workers. The market seems to have run dry, and companies are stuck in an innovation logjam - a development that is not stopping at the IT industry. 

The battle for bright minds is raging. But we know how you can emerge as a winner and soon have a highly qualified developer or an entire team at your side for your project.  

Problems in the IT market

Our society is in the midst of an ongoing digitalization, which has been further accelerated by the Corona pandemic and the resulting home office trend.

At the same time, new business models are emerging. Driven by Big Data, Artificial Intelligence or the entry into the metaverse, the possibilities seem almost unlimited.

The emphasis is on "seem." Because in order to jump on these promising hypes in time, you need experts - who, at first glance, don't exist. 

Because last year, 96,000 IT positions in Germany could not be filled (source: Bitkom, 2022) and there is no end in sight. But digitization is not waiting. In this context, the Boston Consulting Group forecasts a frightening shortage of 1.1 million tech experts by 2030 (source: Handelsblatt, 2022).

Subdued optimism is spreading. But the consequences have long been visible: companies are being prevented from growing and IT projects are stalled or delayed enormously. In addition, unfilled positions cost money.

Such vacancy costs are currently around 37,000 euros for a job in IT. And this only involves filling a single position (source: Stepstone, 2022). 

Once a suitable employee has been found, onboarding comes up short because projects have to be processed as quickly as possible. And these are becoming more and more complex as digitization progresses, because the demands are growing and the technical complexity is constantly increasing.

Whether a team fits together as people and the skills harmonize with each other must first take a back seat.

But how could it have come to this?

Over the years, many new IT apprenticeships have been introduced. The number of IT students has increased and employers are not stingy with good pay. 

But the real problem started much earlier. Twenty years ago, no curriculum included computer science as a subject. And even today, schools lack subject teachers who provide basic computer science skills or teach IT expertise during dual training. And this is despite the fact that almost every profession today has something to do with it. This is a missed opportunity that is now evident in almost every industry and is being further exacerbated by demographic change. 

As quickly as digitization creates jobs, it also destroys them again.

IT boom in Eastern Europe

Fortunately, this is not the case everywhere in the world. 

In Eastern Europe, information technology has a long tradition dating back to the history of mathematics. There is a technical university in almost every major city in Ukraine, and studying IT is considered one of the most attractive career prospects there. Around one third of all school leavers aspire to this, because they choose a subject related to IT and are even supported by the government in doing so. 

It is therefore not surprising that the number of IT graduates there is considerably higher than in Germany. With its 36,000 IT graduates per year, Ukraine ranks fourth in the world.

This makes the IT sector in Ukraine extremely diverse. In fact, half of Ukrainian companies are those that offer their own product or service. 

So software development, AI, Big Data and cloud computing are all part of the everyday job in this country for the 200,000 or so IT professionals estimated to be in the country. (Source: Ukraine IT Report, 2021)

Ukraine as a nearshoring country

For digital pioneers, this realization is not new. Numerous companies already rely on the know-how and highly qualified reputation of Eastern European IT professionals and outsource their work to them or directly establish a local branch, such as:

  • Skype
  • eBay
  • Microsoft
  • Ericsson
  • IBM
  • PWC
  • Ubisoft
  • Upwork
    and many more.

The principle of outsourcing work to nearby countries is called nearshoring. 

This is in contrast to offshoring, where work is outsourced to more distant nations such as China, India or Pakistan. 

Of course, there are also IT specialists there, but the cultural differences often lead to problems in time and quality management.

Nearshoring is quite different, because development teams - from Ukraine, for example - not only score points with specific expertise, but also understand European culture and the associated demands for data protection, quality and speed.

The cultural similarity means that Eastern Europeans can integrate flexibly into project development and contribute efficiently to its success.

Nearshoring sounds like a real gamechanger for business and offers a great many advantages.

IT specialist wanted?

If you are looking for highly qualified IT specialists for a project or on a project basis, you will not get anywhere without good contacts, as is the case everywhere in the world, and especially not without technical knowledge. This is because each person has to prove their knowledge in advance and, for example, complete a dedicated code challenge. The result says more than 1000 words about the mindset, the cleanliness of the code and how the solution looks like. But not only hard skills are important, soft skills should not be neglected either, because programmers are no longer loners but work in agile teams and open communication should not be missing.

Advantages Nearshoring / Outsourcing / Outstaffing

In fragile and uncertain times, with high demand for specialists or general order uncertainties, it is usually not possible to find the perfect full-time employee or even to fill an entire team and must fall back on other resources, such as freelancers.
An external employee may cost a little more at first glance, but brings the security that he does not have to be employed further after the project is completed or can flexibly fill another project. Companies like emit.digital make it possible to make the right match between IT specialists and the company, to minimize the entrepreneurial risk and to increase the professional quality. Thus, individual programmers or entire teams can be staffed externally and dissolved after project completion. All without risk. 

You are not sure yet?

Here you get the advantages of an IT specialist once again at a glance!

Sources
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