The variable seeking new solutions

The variable seeking new solutions

My book appeared at this year’s Belgrade Book Fair in an ocean of new books – a Robinson Crusoe in a post-capitalist era. Was I happy? You bet I was! For years I had been summing up my professional and life experiences, looking for improvements, solutions and meaning in what I do. Am I satisfied? Yes, I am. That’s one phase done and dusted.

I reread my book recently after two years. I finished it back in 2013 and not long after fell pregnant with our daughter Petra. The entire project was put on the back burner. But this turned out to be a silver lining. Having a break from the content is a great feeling; I was able to re-experience it, evaluate it and think about whether I still stood by everything I had wrote.
And do I still think the same way? Yes, I do. Everything done so far has led me to where I am today. And I am satisfied. But I’m still on a journey. I see there’s more to go. In this stage, there’s room for other people, for a team. Involving other people in my work brought me particular pleasure: being able to rejoice in their successes, and being able to help them achieve their future successes. There is no external success without internal effort, which is called – overcome, step out of the box, embark on change.

Fear is the biggest problem standing in the way of personal progress. What will happen to me?
Doing something new is always a risk, I agree with that. But remaining in the status quo, where there are no challenges or satisfaction, destroys our potential, we become rusty. It’s enough to live by the saying – you sow what you reap. If you fight for good, for the right things, the right way, you have nothing to fear.
Great fear breeds ignorance or half-knowledge. But why ignorance in the information age? Everything we need for new results, for the goals which we sincerely aspire to, really is available. We need to be that variable seeking new solutions. The variable that is not idle, that wants, that has determination and the will to persevere.
When you embark on something completely new for you, such as launching a start-up, moving abroad, becoming an entrepreneur or moving to the village 🙂 – from experience I know this: you need support, knowledge, advice, a new angle, proposal and sentence – it will be fine, just keep going.

If you would like to know more about the variable I’m talking about, please visit my blog.
If you would like to have your own, signed copy of the book, you can order one. For those just joining us now, the book contains systematised blog posts and reader comments.
The book costs 770 dinars + posting and packaging.
Take a look at the first 20 pages.

I wish you all the best.

Is the Serbian IT market pushing local developers away?

Is the Serbian IT market pushing local developers away?

Trying to come up with a topic for this post, I was scrolling through theIT column and came across and read this article How to employ senior developers?, and thought that it would be very useful ifwewere also to share the details of the research titled:“State of the Serbian IT industry – 2014 Survey.”

Three hundred and ninety-two respondents, holding 10 of the most prevalent IT industry positions, took part in the research, with developers making up almost 50% of them.

How important it isto know for sure and not just presume again proved to be crucial for making decision related to employee recruitment and retention. Who would have even guessed that the highest-paid industry in the country was dissatisfied with salaries? Furthermore, we would never have dreamt that 74% of respondents would state that they want to go abroad to work. This dissatisfaction lies, believe it or not, in material factors – they want better salaries, better conditions, and better bonuses. Why?

One of the main reasons is that IT professionals nowadays value their knowledge on a global labour market where they position themselves more easily and readily than ever. The second, but no less important reason is our IT professionals’ resistance to the positioning of the Serbian IT market primarily as anoutsourcing market on which there are no real, desirable challenges. And this is what all our respondents, from juniors to seniors, actually value: more challenging projects immediately after pay check size.

Thus, if some of your IT employees want to go abroad, take that as a given – 74% said that they would want to go abroad to work if something attracted them. That “something” has an external character, i.e. factors which a company would have little influence over: functioning institutions, a normal political and economic situation, good schools and good conditions for raising children amongst other things. But there are internal, company-related factors which companies could influence: providing more challenging projects, newer technologies, more proficient teams, more interesting work. One of our respondents said: “Better conditions would attract me, jobs with a bigger challenge which are much higher paid than the average and to be recognised and awarded for successfully completed projects.”

There are no major differences in terms of the desire to work abroad between junior, senior and middle level IT professionals. Mobility as a tendency is also present in Serbia – almost 60% of respondents at all levels have the desire to change jobs even when satisfied with their current one.

If an IT employer wants to attract (recruit) and keep (retain) staff, what should the employer do?

– offer higher salaries than the those present on our market
– introduce and pay bonuses (42% of respondents say they get no bonuses)
– provide work on challenging projects and the latest technologies
– allow better career progression
– continually train current employees in order to have a team that is as proficient as possible
– raise staff selection criteria in order to create the image of an employer where high quality staff work

And finally, our main recommendation is to make these improvements as soon as possible. But before you make any HR changes in your company, first do your research: ask your employees about their needs and never forget their wishes, then look closely at the results and create unique HR systems which best suit your current employees and the business goals you plan to achieve.

Good luck!

P.S. The details of the research are here: http://www.slideshare.net/SandraPrvulovic/fenix-hr-state-of-the-serbian-it-industry-2014-eng-final


Are your financial offers competitive enough?

Are your financial offers competitive enough?

 Once upon a time, back in my student days, I read this somewhere – everything that happens once may never happen again. But everything that happens twice, it will surely happen the third time. In this post, I’ll share what happened to us more than twice. One of our candidates accepted a competitive offer in a new company. After completing the exit interview, he got offered the same conditions at his current job and decided to stay.

You might be thinking – what’s the big deal, you might do the same?

But I wonder – are we witnessing an emergence of a new trend? That it’s enough to bring a better offer to one’s company and get an instant salary increase?

Not so long ago people changed jobs because, first and foremost, they did not want to work for the same company any longer – they grew tired of the ‘same old’ or it simply wasn’t challenging enough anymore. They longed for a little bit more freedom, a different piece of the sky in which to spread their wings. And somewhere in that, a better salary would come along.

Today, the situation seems to be different. In a lot of IT companies, the work environment is cool (to use the millennial term) – or in other words, the work conditions are good and improving constantly. With above average work environments, one thing that can always be improved upon in Serbia is the size of the salary. IT professionals who want more than that are already working or planning to move to work abroad.

For some years, companies have invested their HR budgets into designing better work environments and non-material rewards. The IT industry has been very successful in this. Programmers, especially those in senior positions, are satisfied with the non-material factors at their jobs – from the amount of free time to team expertise to the recognition they receive from their superiors as well as from their colleagues. Nearly 70% of senior programmers told us that their efforts and accomplishments are appreciated at work and that their ideas and suggestions get regularly implemented.

With the employee mobility and demand for qualified IT staff at an all-time high, the deciding factor in this situation is once again – salary amount.  With similar work environments, projects and technologies on the job market, for a company to become competitive in their offer, financial package seems to be a key factor to attract – and retain – top candidates.

Is this an emerging trend? Practice suggests so. Lately, the questions our clients ask most often are – How much should we offer? What exactly counts as a competitive salary for IT today?

Our research team tried to do everything to find out. We have designed a survey which answers this and similar questions  –  by participating, you will get access to a detailed analysis of IT salaries and benefits in Serbia, as well as see how well your company ranks when it comes to offering competitive packages in the Serbian Software Development sector. You can learn more here.