What is the current situation in the IT job market?

28 04

What is the current situation in the IT job market?

logo-kwadrat-2-2 Author: Monika Paradowska

Monika Paradowska – has been focusing on the IT industry for over 5 years, currently as a Senior Business Manager at ITDS. Graduate of the Department of Informatics and Management at Wrocław University of Science and Technology and University of Warsaw. She has more than 18 years of experience in relationship management with key clients. Currently focusing on the needs of global banking institutions in the areas of recruitment and project management.

Over the recent years, one thing that has stood out, has been the fact that with the high demand for IT specialists, experts in this industry could count on exceptionally good employment conditions. Many young people dream about programming, and study to be able to pursue such career paths. However, does supply meet the current demand for qualified specialists? In this article, I will have a look at the current situation in the IT job market.

What is the situation in the Polish IT job market?

With the dynamic growth of technology, the demand for IT specialists has been growing too. The services of developers, DevOps, IT specialists, architects, testers, analysts, etc. are used not only by large corporations but also by medium- and small-sized companies.

For many years, demand has been so high that it has created a phenomenon called the employee’s market. It can be seen not only in Poland but also across Europe and in many other places in the world. There has been a lot of talk recently about the IT boom coming to an end but we still cannot say that we are about to see the return of the employer’s market.

IT job offers still include high remuneration figures, and candidates can often count on extremely beneficial employment conditions, e.g. numerous benefits or training allowances. More and more companies also provide broad perspectives for career development, and create opportunities to quickly advance through the ranks. IT specialists are encouraged in many ways to join recruitment processes.

The number of job offers for IT specialists published in 2022 stood above 106 thousand, with only over 75 thousand published back in 2021. Yet, the IT job market in Poland is not saturated as yet. Why is that so?

What is the situation of IT specialists in Poland?

Nowadays, an IT degree has been losing its significance as a prerequisite for finding employment. It still remains a reliable confirmation of a Junior’s competences when they are just entering the job market, and of their experience so far in the field. But for many years now, IT recruitment methods have been shifting away from that standard. Emphasis is now mostly more on practical skills and experience, gained largely with personal commitment and one’s own study of areas that go beyond the university curriculum. You can boost your knowledge and development by taking part in numerous boot camps and courses that have attracted interest for at least a decade. Those forms of study, together with the still high demand for IT specialists, influence the dynamics of the IT market in Poland. People under 30 already make up half of the active labour force, and this translates to progressive changes in industry-internal approaches.

Access to knowledge is much easier now than it used to be and yet there are still not enough specialists. Even though the number of people who started BA and long-cycle studies in the 2022/2023 academic year is record high (44 thousand), that is still not enough to meet the demand.

As estimated by SoDA, i.e. Software Development Association Poland, we are short of up to 250–300 thousand programmers in Poland. In this respect we rank sixth in Europe, with the situation looking better in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. When you look at the percentage of IT specialists in the total labour force, Poland does not look good compared to other EU Member States. With the indicator at a meagre 3.5%, we are as much as 1 percentage point below the European average.

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Why is it difficult for businesses to find the right IT employees?

There are many reasons for the current state of affairs:

  • not all IT specialists have the required qualifications – the IT industry is growing dynamically so top employees should keep learning and updating their skills all the time. Many candidates lack the relevant experience or knowledge of additional programming languages etc.;
  • there is more and more emphasis on the competencies of the future – at present, it is relatively easy to gain knowledge and technical skills but even highly qualified and experienced programmers tend to have problems with soft skills such as communication, creativity or time management. Contrary to appearances, those skills are extremely useful in IT;
  • top IT experts are confident about their demands – ideal candidates have high expectations towards their future employers. High salary or remote work are no longer enough. Flexible working hours, additional benefits, training allowances etc. have been growing more and more important;
  • IT specialists are finding employment with foreign companies – average salaries for programmers in Germany or the UK are substantially higher than in Poland. Since in IT remote work is totally possible, many Poles prefer to work for foreign employers. What is more, up to 56% of Poles aged 18–44 are planning to emigrate or are considering it. Finding a job with a foreign company is a good place to start.

Which IT specialists are in the highest demand?

Apart from having the technical and soft skills and competencies mentioned above, in order to stand the highest chance of success in the labour market, IT specialists should first and foremost focus on growing in those areas where demand for specialised experts is the highest.  In the nearest future, the role of specialisms such as AI and ML (Machine Learning), Big Data analysis (including Business Intelligence), and cybersecurity will be gaining on importance. By focusing on a narrow market segment, constantly expanding your knowledge of specific issues, and being able to share that knowledge with others in the team, you will fast-track your journey to a (well-paid!) dream career.

How to find qualified IT specialists?

For about 10 years now, we have been dealing with the employee’s market, and there is no indication for now that this is about to change. The Polish IT market is in a peculiar situation at the moment. Businesses want to work with top programmers but many candidates lack the right competencies, or many of them have expectations that go beyond what the company is able to offer in terms of remuneration.

IT recruitment and verifying candidates’ qualifications are a huge challenge at present, so it is best to outsource those processes to a third party. With the outsourcing of IT engineers you can quickly find the right specialists while saving your time, effort, and money. You do not incur the employment costs, which gives you significant flexibility in terms of projects – it is easier to set up a team of people with the required qualifications, engaged on terms that are beneficial for both parties (e.g. without the necessity to hire them on the basis of employment contracts); this also allows for deploying your internal resources to other priorities. Companies that use outsourcing also gain almost immediate access to the latest solutions and support with older technologies, and the recruitment process is much faster and more efficient, because it is taken care of by experienced recruiters who have access to a sizable pool of available specialists. This ensures work continuity and offers an opportunity to easily adapt to the requirements of a given project for greater efficiency.