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CEE’s ICT sector is closing the gap on Western Europe

The ICT sector in CEE is catching up with Western Europe, as salaries and employment rates are closing the gap.

According to a new report published by Codecool, one of Central Europe’s leading coding bootcamps, operating in Hungary, Poland, and Romania, the European labour market is projected to be lacking more than 670,000 ICT professionals in 2020. And while the salaries and employment rates gap is closing between the eastern and western parts of Europe, new challenges, like skills gaps, shifting professionals and missing soft-skill sets in the ICT sector have to be handled by a complex education and training ecosystem to keep up with the global competition.

“The general approach towards ICT professions has changed remarkably in the past few years,” said Balázs Vinnai, founder of Codecool. “As the average salary level increases every year, the ICT sector becomes more and more attractive to employees in every market, which leads to a growing number of career shifters.”

In 2018, some 8.9 million professionals worked as ICT specialists across the European Union, which makes up 3.9 per cent of the total workforce. The ICT sector in emerging Europe is the fastest-growing: while 70 per cent of demand for software development services and outsourcing came from North America and Western Europe, five per cent of the supply was provided by Eastern Europe.

Wage growth in CEE is accelerating well above inflation to deliver a real wage increase more than twice as the rate of Western Europe, as the region is gaining the role of the technology hub of Europe. For example, in Romania, ICT wages increased with a compound annual growth rate of 11.53 per cent.

As for the urgent need to educate qualified ICT professionals in increasing numbers, Western, Central and Eastern Europe face the same challenges. Competency-focused education and training become more and more important as a considerable number of new positions on the ICT scene require strong management and communication, foreign language knowledge and project management experience from different industries, besides, of course, valuable programming knowledge.