The Polish IT market shows resilience despite challenges in H1

Skills shortages and market unpredictability are principal concerns but opportunities for advancement and investment remain attractive.

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The first quarter of 2022 was marked by dynamic recruitment projects in Poland. Employers were still in the midst of a competency gap, which resulted in increased attractiveness of offers. But those offers had to be tailored more to individual preferences. It was certainly a buyer’s market. And over the last few months, certain events have occurred in which IT specialists decided to be even more strategic in their career choices.

The beginning of the first quarter of 2022 was a time of a slight slowdown in the IT job market, but not as a result of fewer recruits or reduced demand for employees, but from the attitude of candidates.

January was a period of implementing the provisions of the 2022 Polish Order, or amendments to the tax scale including an increase in tax-free amounts and a significant impact on the earnings of high-level IT experts. In the face of many unknowns, candidates wanted to have time to verify how the new law would affect their income in practice. As a result, they were less open to changing jobs, waiting to see if companies would be willing to offer pay raises in the face of high inflation as a result of the new tax law. Yet high-level specialists negotiated with current and potential employers as the market reacted.

However, the above situation was short-lived, and the recruitment dynamics returned to normal in February. At that time, the candidates saw a chance to increase their salary even more than before in a change of job.

Another wrinkle occurred at the end of February, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, just to Poland’s eastern border. As in any unexpected crisis situation, candidates showed greater caution in their career decisions for several weeks. At the same time, there was an increase in activity with employers. Organizations employing IT specialists from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia have often looked for alternative solutions in case employees from the East couldn’t continue their work on key IT processes.

From around mid-March, though, applicants showed more openness to changing jobs. Faced with an attractive offer that meets most expectations, they didn’t hesitate to make the jump to a new company.

Consistently high demand for employees

In the past quarter, employers continued to recruit on a large scale for highly qualified,

experienced employees and the number of applicants increased. Therefore, the candidate market is developing further and this is a tendency unlikely to stop in the near future.

The most popular were programmers specializing in front-end technologies and languages like Java, .NET, Python and JavaScript. Plus, the high recruitment demand concerned specialists in the field of Big Data, AI and IoT. And companies are becoming even more attentive to IT security issues and are constantly investing in them. Consequently, there is still a very high demand for cybersecurity experts.

But recruitment complexities affect salaries. Wages continue to rise while employers focus more on the non-financial elements of offers. In communication with candidates, they emphasize rich benefit packages, organizational culture and work philosophy. They also invest in employer branding activities tailored to the needs of IT specialists. Among the offered benefits, there were more extended medical packages, wellbeing programs and company shares.

Back to the office?

In Q1 2022, the trend on the labor market was to return to offices or to reassess the remote working policy. Among employees, the division into people who are willing to return to the office as part of the hybrid model, and those who absolutely do not want to, has become even more visible. This phenomenon is also observed among IT specialists. Although the popularity of work performed remotely in this professional group is high, there are many IT professionals who would like to use the office several days a week.

After more than two years of the pandemic, no one doubts that in terms of commitment and efficiency, working from home works, especially in technology-related professions. But it can negatively affect the relational and communicative aspect of cooperation, and many candidates lack direct contact with other employees. As a result of their experiences during the pandemic, they also better distinguish between work and private life. For many, returning to the office several days a week is a solution that makes it easier to keep balanced. Hence, when communicating the return to the office, employers don’t refer to the unsatisfactory performance of the home office, but emphasize that face-to-face meetings with colleagues are essential for their well-being.

Recent months have shown that if an IT employee doesn’t want to return to the office, and these are the expectations of him in his current workplace, he enters the market in search of a new job. In job interviews, however, dissatisfaction with the new, post-pandemic work model is rarely given as the main motivator for changing jobs, but it is mentioned as a reason.

Investors still interested in Poland

In the last quarter, we observed two moments of hesitation by investors interested in locating IT projects in Poland. They resulted, first, from high inflation, translating into higher wages and increasingly difficult recruitment, and, second, from the risk of an outbreak of the global economic crisis due to the current geopolitical situation in Ukraine. In March, however, things stabilized and investors began to take an interest in Poland again.

Foreign concerns looking for locations for their IT investments have become aware that although Poland is no longer a cheap market, it’s still attractive. This is mainly due to the population of educated IT specialists with advanced competences. Although obtaining them is an increasing challenge for employers, it’s a worthwhile effort. And this is what convinces other investors to locate their capital in Poland.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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