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IT Specialists from Ukraine – in what ways the war changed the labor market?

Before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, IT specialists from the East constituted about 5% of all people applying to Polish companies. This percentage may soon increase, as it is estimated that more than 30 thousand programmers from Ukraine who fled the war have come to Poland. Another 140 thousand people may be working remotely from relatively safe regions of Ukraine. What does this mean for the IT labor market? How have the legal regulations regarding the employment of Ukrainians changed?

The research conducted in the IT industry show that 75% of polish companies have already planned recruiting and employing specialists from Eastern Europe in 2021. Moreover, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus accounted for one-third of IT services outsourcing in our region. Programmers from Ukraine have long been strengthening their position in the European labor market and have become known as good specialists. The Russian aggression against Ukraine and fleeing from war to Poland will most probably accelerate this process..

Female IT specialists from Ukraine are in Poland

What do the numbers say? The official data shows that Poland lacks 50 thousand programmers (DESi 2020 report), but this number may be underestimated. In European countries the deficit reaches as many as 300 thousand programmers (JustJoin IT 2020) and, according to the forecasts, in the next 6 years in Europe there will be a shortage of even about 1 million programmers (JustJoin IT 2020). Meanwhile, it can be estimated that Ukraine can boast a staff of about 200 thousand programmers. It is also known that the most popular programming languages of Ukrainian specialists are: JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C++, and their average earnings amount to 3000-4000 dollars per month. Can we assume that the specialists from Ukraine will be the ones who will fill the gap in the Polish and European labor market? It is a plausible vision, especially taking into consideration the fact that Ukrainian programmers are employed in many global and well-known companies: international banks, stock exchange on Wall Street, mobile operators or manufacturers of cars, planes and telephones.

‘It is important to note that 46% of the entire STEM industry in Ukraine are women. After the outbreak of the war, a part of this group escaped to Poland. Furthermore, the war in Ukraine caused Ukrainian companies that provided IT services to lose contracts overnight’ says Anna Frąckowiak, Head of Marketing at RITS Professional Services. ‘Projects at many global technology companies have been disrupted for obvious reasons, and specialists cannot provide work. Due to the war, the possibility of implementing projects in Ukraine has become certainly limited. At the same time the demand for cyber security solutions has increased. As a result, foreign companies that previously had their outsourcing centers in Ukraine and Russia are now moving to Poland.’

What does this all mean? More and more companies are looking for programmers and other IT specialists in Poland, the demand for employees in the IT industry has increased. Therefore, IT specialists from Ukraine have become an even more attractive professional group. Where to look for programmers?

‘According to the industry’s largest organization, the IT Ukraine Association, about 70% of IT specialists still work in “safe” regions of Ukraine, and 16% of IT employees, including many women, are stationed abroad. About 2% of IT professionals have joined the armed forces and 5% have volunteered to help with cyber-security operations and support of critical national infrastructure’ says Iwona Tur, CEO Bulldogjob.

‘16% of IT employees, including many women, are now abroad – it is approximately 32 thousand people. This is the group in which we should look for specialists who could join the programmers’ teams in Polish companies.’ continues Anna Frąckowiak, RITS Professional Services.

And she adds that the market analysis allows to identify several groups of Ukrainians interested in working in Poland as IT specialists. First of all, refugees who came to Poland and support their families in Ukraine (mainly women), but also programmers who stayed in Ukraine as part of the mobilization and want to work remotely, as well as students, who look for remote work, but could possibly move to Poland. There are also people ready to learn and reskill themselves to become IT specialists and programmers, participants of courses, as well as Ukrainians who had migrated before the war.

‘Considering such a division, an important conclusion can be drawn – companies that want to engage specialists from Ukraine must become more open to remote and hybrid work. Although many people fled to Poland before the war, some will want to return to their families after the war ends’ concludes Anna Frąckowiak, RITS Professional Services.

Iwona Tur of Bulldogjob job board, highlights an important issue:

‘A two-pronged approach is necessary: helping those companies and workers who have had to relocate and, at the same time, supporting the companies that still function within the country. Receiving commissions is crucial for Ukrainian companies to perform their jobs – not only for the sake of their morale, but just as importantly, for the country’s economy. The more capital they can get, the more services they can provide. This will help the economy to survive. On the other hand, the Polish IT industry is still open to Ukrainian employees. This can be observed, for example, on our job board – where a special sign appeared next to job offers open to specialists from Ukraine. Most of these ads offer remote work and some companies provide support in the process of moving and adaptation to the Polish reality with relocation packages. It is heartening that more and more of such offers appear every week.’ says Iwona Tur, Bulldogjob.

New rules for hiring Ukrainians

Daniel Jastrun, expert of Maruta Wachta Law Firm is of a similar opinion:

‘We observe a significant interest in Poland from many Ukrainian software houses looking for a place to relocate their business. Many of them take into consideration starting companies in Poland and hiring the employees who have been working for tchem before, as well as other Ukrainian citizens currently living in Poland’ Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm admits.

Due to the war taking place in Ukraine, specific legal provisions have been introduced to make it easier for the citizens of this country to legally reside and work in Poland. They are specified in the Act of 12 March 2022 on assistance for Ukrainian citizens in connection with armed conflict on the territory of that country. According to the act, a Ukrainian citizen who legally arrived to the territory of Poland in the period from 24 February 2022 from the territory of Ukraine and declares an intention to stay in Poland, may undertake work in our country. The term “citizen of Ukraine” also refers to the spouse of a Ukrainian citizen without Ukrainian citizenship, if he or she came to the territory of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in connection with the hostilities.

By virtue of the Act, the stay of Ukrainian  citizens in Poland is legal for 18 months, counting from 24 February 2022 (regardless of the date of actual crossing of the border), i.e. until 23 August 2023.

Under the new rules, it is not necessary for a specialist from Ukraine to obtain a work permit. It is enough to report to the employment office through the portal praca.gov.pl within 14 days of commencement of employment. However, the employer should verify whether the person has the right to stay in Poland’ Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm informs.

How to make sure that the arrival to Poland was legal? People from Ukraine who have come to Poland in the period from 24 February 2022 should have a stamp in their passport or other travel document, placed by the Polish Border Guard. The stamp confirms the legal crossing of the border with and indicates its date.

Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm adds that ‘every Ukrainian may not only be employed on the grounds of an employment contract, but also establish a business in Poland. A PESEL number is needed for this purpose. All that one has to do in order to obtain it and create a trusted profile is to file an application in the municipality office.

Recruitment and onboarding

Hiring employees from Ukraine involves not only formal issues, but also properly conducted recruitment process and proper introduction of a new employee to the organization.

‘Each recruitment process should be treated individually. At RITS Professional Services, this is an overarching principle’ says mówi Małgorzata Żodzik-Słomińska, Delivery Manager at RITS Professional Services. ‘Furthermore, the recruitment process constitutes of two parts: RITS Professional Services is responsible for one of them, whereas the other takes place on the client’s side. Our recruiters conduct an initial interview to match the right position to the candidate’s skills and vice versa. We check if the candidate meets the requirements, the technologies they have worked with before, the tools they have used, etc. We also examine candidate’s motivation for taking or changing jobs. We have been operating in the IT outsourcing market for many years, so we know how to successfully recruit for our clients

The level of knowledge of English is also significant (Polish language is not required), therefore, people from Ukraine who know English well stand better chances.

‘We also verify technical skills with the dedicated tools we have for this. It is important that the interview is substantive and to the point, so as not to discourage the candidate’  adds Małgorzata Żodzik-Słomińska, RITS Professional Services.

The expectations of Ukrainian programmers are very different and to a great extent connected to the current geopolitical situation. When it comes to recruitment, being fast is essential, as Ukrainians want to find employment without wasting too much time. Therefore, the companies looking for employees need to react at an appropriate speed. Some of the means to shorten the recruitment process are clearly defined and unchangeable requirements, as well as limiting it to one stage.

As Maria Janiszewska, Country Manager APAC & Ukraina RITS Professional Services emphasises, during the onboarding of Ukrainian employees it is crucial to remember about the following aspects:

‘It is worth finding out where Ukrainian workers can seek help in getting a job or setting up a business and provide them with this information. You can also refer them to an appropriate person in the company, e.g. from the HR department. The principle of “listen and be there” works best; empathy and real support are very important in building relationships between the employee and the employer’ points out Maria Janiszewska, RITS Professional Services.

Some examples of assistance for a new Ukrainian employee may include: extra paid or unpaid vacation days, support in bringing the family to Poland, learning the Polish language, assistance in finding accommodation or psychological care..

‘It is also worth considering how to talk to people who are going through difficult times related to the war. Don’t ask about the conflict right away. It’s a difficult time for people from Ukraine and you have to give them a break from this topic. Listen and respond to their needs and expectations, that’s the best way’ Maria Janiszewska, RITS Professional Services concludes.

 

Find out more about recruiting IT specialists at www.webinar.rits.center/ukraina

Before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, IT specialists from the East constituted about 5% of all people applying to Polish companies. This percentage may soon increase, as it is estimated that more than 30 thousand programmers from Ukraine who fled the war have come to Poland. Another 140 thousand people may be working remotely from relatively safe regions of Ukraine. What does this mean for the IT labor market? How have the legal regulations regarding the employment of Ukrainians changed?

The research conducted in the IT industry show that 75% of polish companies have already planned recruiting and employing specialists from Eastern Europe in 2021. Moreover, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus accounted for one-third of IT services outsourcing in our region. Programmers from Ukraine have long been strengthening their position in the European labor market and have become known as good specialists. The Russian aggression against Ukraine and fleeing from war to Poland will most probably accelerate this process..

Female IT specialists from Ukraine are in Poland

What do the numbers say? The official data shows that Poland lacks 50 thousand programmers (DESi 2020 report), but this number may be underestimated. In European countries the deficit reaches as many as 300 thousand programmers (JustJoin IT 2020) and, according to the forecasts, in the next 6 years in Europe there will be a shortage of even about 1 million programmers (JustJoin IT 2020). Meanwhile, it can be estimated that Ukraine can boast a staff of about 200 thousand programmers. It is also known that the most popular programming languages of Ukrainian specialists are: JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C++, and their average earnings amount to 3000-4000 dollars per month. Can we assume that the specialists from Ukraine will be the ones who will fill the gap in the Polish and European labor market? It is a plausible vision, especially taking into consideration the fact that Ukrainian programmers are employed in many global and well-known companies: international banks, stock exchange on Wall Street, mobile operators or manufacturers of cars, planes and telephones.

‘It is important to note that 46% of the entire STEM industry in Ukraine are women. After the outbreak of the war, a part of this group escaped to Poland. Furthermore, the war in Ukraine caused Ukrainian companies that provided IT services to lose contracts overnight’ says Anna Frąckowiak, Head of Marketing at RITS Professional Services. ‘Projects at many global technology companies have been disrupted for obvious reasons, and specialists cannot provide work. Due to the war, the possibility of implementing projects in Ukraine has become certainly limited. At the same time the demand for cyber security solutions has increased. As a result, foreign companies that previously had their outsourcing centers in Ukraine and Russia are now moving to Poland.’

What does this all mean? More and more companies are looking for programmers and other IT specialists in Poland, the demand for employees in the IT industry has increased. Therefore, IT specialists from Ukraine have become an even more attractive professional group. Where to look for programmers?

‘According to the industry’s largest organization, the IT Ukraine Association, about 70% of IT specialists still work in “safe” regions of Ukraine, and 16% of IT employees, including many women, are stationed abroad. About 2% of IT professionals have joined the armed forces and 5% have volunteered to help with cyber-security operations and support of critical national infrastructure’ says Iwona Tur, CEO Bulldogjob.

‘16% of IT employees, including many women, are now abroad – it is approximately 32 thousand people. This is the group in which we should look for specialists who could join the programmers’ teams in Polish companies.’ continues Anna Frąckowiak, RITS Professional Services.

And she adds that the market analysis allows to identify several groups of Ukrainians interested in working in Poland as IT specialists. First of all, refugees who came to Poland and support their families in Ukraine (mainly women), but also programmers who stayed in Ukraine as part of the mobilization and want to work remotely, as well as students, who look for remote work, but could possibly move to Poland. There are also people ready to learn and reskill themselves to become IT specialists and programmers, participants of courses, as well as Ukrainians who had migrated before the war.

‘Considering such a division, an important conclusion can be drawn – companies that want to engage specialists from Ukraine must become more open to remote and hybrid work. Although many people fled to Poland before the war, some will want to return to their families after the war ends’ concludes Anna Frąckowiak, RITS Professional Services.

Iwona Tur of Bulldogjob job board, highlights an important issue:

‘A two-pronged approach is necessary: helping those companies and workers who have had to relocate and, at the same time, supporting the companies that still function within the country. Receiving commissions is crucial for Ukrainian companies to perform their jobs – not only for the sake of their morale, but just as importantly, for the country’s economy. The more capital they can get, the more services they can provide. This will help the economy to survive. On the other hand, the Polish IT industry is still open to Ukrainian employees. This can be observed, for example, on our job board – where a special sign appeared next to job offers open to specialists from Ukraine. Most of these ads offer remote work and some companies provide support in the process of moving and adaptation to the Polish reality with relocation packages. It is heartening that more and more of such offers appear every week.’ says Iwona Tur, Bulldogjob.

New rules for hiring Ukrainians

Daniel Jastrun, expert of Maruta Wachta Law Firm is of a similar opinion:

‘We observe a significant interest in Poland from many Ukrainian software houses looking for a place to relocate their business. Many of them take into consideration starting companies in Poland and hiring the employees who have been working for tchem before, as well as other Ukrainian citizens currently living in Poland’ Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm admits.

Due to the war taking place in Ukraine, specific legal provisions have been introduced to make it easier for the citizens of this country to legally reside and work in Poland. They are specified in the Act of 12 March 2022 on assistance for Ukrainian citizens in connection with armed conflict on the territory of that country. According to the act, a Ukrainian citizen who legally arrived to the territory of Poland in the period from 24 February 2022 from the territory of Ukraine and declares an intention to stay in Poland, may undertake work in our country. The term “citizen of Ukraine” also refers to the spouse of a Ukrainian citizen without Ukrainian citizenship, if he or she came to the territory of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in connection with the hostilities.

By virtue of the Act, the stay of Ukrainian  citizens in Poland is legal for 18 months, counting from 24 February 2022 (regardless of the date of actual crossing of the border), i.e. until 23 August 2023.

Under the new rules, it is not necessary for a specialist from Ukraine to obtain a work permit. It is enough to report to the employment office through the portal praca.gov.pl within 14 days of commencement of employment. However, the employer should verify whether the person has the right to stay in Poland’ Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm informs.

How to make sure that the arrival to Poland was legal? People from Ukraine who have come to Poland in the period from 24 February 2022 should have a stamp in their passport or other travel document, placed by the Polish Border Guard. The stamp confirms the legal crossing of the border with and indicates its date.

Daniel Jastrun of Maruta Wachta Law Firm adds that ‘every Ukrainian may not only be employed on the grounds of an employment contract, but also establish a business in Poland. A PESEL number is needed for this purpose. All that one has to do in order to obtain it and create a trusted profile is to file an application in the municipality office.

Recruitment and onboarding

Hiring employees from Ukraine involves not only formal issues, but also properly conducted recruitment process and proper introduction of a new employee to the organization.

‘Each recruitment process should be treated individually. At RITS Professional Services, this is an overarching principle’ says mówi Małgorzata Żodzik-Słomińska, Delivery Manager at RITS Professional Services. ‘Furthermore, the recruitment process constitutes of two parts: RITS Professional Services is responsible for one of them, whereas the other takes place on the client’s side. Our recruiters conduct an initial interview to match the right position to the candidate’s skills and vice versa. We check if the candidate meets the requirements, the technologies they have worked with before, the tools they have used, etc. We also examine candidate’s motivation for taking or changing jobs. We have been operating in the IT outsourcing market for many years, so we know how to successfully recruit for our clients

The level of knowledge of English is also significant (Polish language is not required), therefore, people from Ukraine who know English well stand better chances.

‘We also verify technical skills with the dedicated tools we have for this. It is important that the interview is substantive and to the point, so as not to discourage the candidate’  adds Małgorzata Żodzik-Słomińska, RITS Professional Services.

The expectations of Ukrainian programmers are very different and to a great extent connected to the current geopolitical situation. When it comes to recruitment, being fast is essential, as Ukrainians want to find employment without wasting too much time. Therefore, the companies looking for employees need to react at an appropriate speed. Some of the means to shorten the recruitment process are clearly defined and unchangeable requirements, as well as limiting it to one stage.

As Maria Janiszewska, Country Manager APAC & Ukraina RITS Professional Services emphasises, during the onboarding of Ukrainian employees it is crucial to remember about the following aspects:

‘It is worth finding out where Ukrainian workers can seek help in getting a job or setting up a business and provide them with this information. You can also refer them to an appropriate person in the company, e.g. from the HR department. The principle of “listen and be there” works best; empathy and real support are very important in building relationships between the employee and the employer’ points out Maria Janiszewska, RITS Professional Services.

Some examples of assistance for a new Ukrainian employee may include: extra paid or unpaid vacation days, support in bringing the family to Poland, learning the Polish language, assistance in finding accommodation or psychological care..

‘It is also worth considering how to talk to people who are going through difficult times related to the war. Don’t ask about the conflict right away. It’s a difficult time for people from Ukraine and you have to give them a break from this topic. Listen and respond to their needs and expectations, that’s the best way’ Maria Janiszewska, RITS Professional Services concludes.

 

Find out more about recruiting IT specialists at www.webinar.rits.center/ukraina

 

Warsaw, 20  April 2022, RITS Press Office

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