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: