It has become extremely difficult to find a serious and professional software developer, even though the leading technical institutions are producing a large number of graduates each year. The top Latvian universities are producing over 1300 graduates annually, but there is still a lot of competition among the employers themselves. Even Ukraine is struggling when it has over 16,000 annual IT graduates. Companies are coming up with even more bonuses to attract new employees in addition to paying for employees’ vacations, insurance, gym memberships and many more.
Why is it so hard nowadays to hire a software developer in Latvia, compared to 10 years ago?
To talk about this topic and understand how things work, we interviewed one of our colleagues – Tatyana. Tatyana Yegorova is the Chief of Recruiting Department at Diatom Enterprises.
Tatyana Yegorova is the Chief of Recruiting Department at Diatom Enterprises.
How long have you Tatyana been working in the field of searching for programmers?
– About 5 years
We are all seeing changes in the labor market lately. It became extremely difficult to find a serious and professional candidate. If we compare 2022 with, say, 2010. In 2010, you could easily find and hire a specialist with 10 years of experience in Latvia. What can you say about the situation today?
– It’s hard work, it’s true. Software developers are asking for space rates. There is a lot of competition among employers themselves. In addition to paying for vacation pay, insurance, a gym, companies began to offer even more bonuses. Like providing branded laptops, paying for lunches, being able to work 4 days a week, etc. In turn, senior professionals are always reluctant to agree to any changes in their working lives. Most often, they have already found their dream company in which they are comfortable working and do not want to change anything.
Is it possible to expand the search area and find the same candidate, say, in the nearest countries – Lithuania and Estonia?
– Certainly. You can search in different countries, but everything will depend on your declared budget. If we compare the Baltic market, the most expensive developers are in Estonia, followed by Lithuania and Latvia.
I know that we have branches of many Swedish, German and Swiss companies in Latvia. Many talented programmers are now working in these branches directly. How do you think? Does this fact complicate your work of finding programmers here in Latvia?
– You are right. What conditions do these Swedish firms offer? What projects? What are the salaries? Of course, Scandinavian companies can offer much more favorable and attractive conditions for developers. It became difficult for us to compete with them.
I know. that, despite these difficulties, your company employs quite a lot of employees from Latvia. What is special about your company that attracts people?
– We are one of the very few companies that have been developing custom software for over 18 years. Our projects are very different. From a small start-up project in the online education business to the development of various services for Eurostar Corporation, (trains under the English Channel). This attracts young and talented people because a junior developer can quickly grow to the position of a team leader or project manager, which is very difficult to do in large companies. The second key factor is that All C-level managers at DIatom Enterprises are also software developers and are happy to share their experience on daily basis.
Tatyana, do you know how many higher educational institutions in Latvia graduate young programmers per year?
– According to Investinlatvia Latvia is the leading ICT exporter in the Baltics with a 9% added value growth YoY, which contributes 4.3% of total GDP. There have been 37k people employed in the 5,000 ICT sector companies in 2019. Latvia is #1 in Europe in terms of ICT students per 1 M population.
The top technical institutions within Latvia are producing over 1300 graduates annually, specializing in software development and various disciplines within ICT.
And despite these numbers, do you have trouble finding programmers? What do you think?
– A graduate of the institute is a Junior position. It will take a few more years until his qualifications grow to the level requested by clients. The issue of professional development is complex and expensive. Despite this, our company manages to bring up 5-6 middle-level software developers per year on average. But of course, this is not enough. We currently have 36 positions open. And it’s our job to fill them.
Currently, in principle, programmers can work remotely from anywhere in the world. Are you considering candidates from other (non-Baltic) countries?
– Yes, sure. We work with programmers from Spain, Ukraine, Germany, and other European countries. According to our statistics, let’s say – Ukraine has the largest share of IT graduates among CEE countries – over 16,000 IT graduates every year . And still, this is not enough. Everyone faces the difficulty of finding good candidates. Many solve this issue by raising the wage bar. As a result, the rates of programmers are growing at a fast pace, which often interferes with production.
What advice would you give to other companies that are having difficulty finding software developers?
– Invest more in training young employees. To create conditions for the development of qualifications, custom software development methodology, and improvement of the personal comfort of programmers.
Tatyana thanks for your time and good luck in your job!