Hiring Ukrainian Software Developers in 2022: Are There Any Risks?
According to the DOU report, there are more than 250.000 qualified IT specialists in Ukraine, and it is expected that the number of Ukrainian tech specialists will increase up to 23% by 2024. The country holds 1st place in the Outsourcing Market in Eastern Europe, ranking by Outsourcing Journal, 1st place in CEE by the number of engineers and number 4 globally by Colliers International. The list of major companies using Ukrainian developers’ services includes Boeing, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, IBM, Samsung, Huawei, Deutsche Bank, Skype, eBay, and many others.
On February 24, russia invaded Ukraine. War has taken and changed the lives of thousands of people. More than five million of them have fled the country as refugees. Most of the industries such as energy, the metal industry, and logistics suffer from no ability to adapt the business processes even after three months of the russian full-scale invasion.
However, the IT sector turned out to be the most stable industry. Ukrainian software developers continue working remotely for companies all over the US and Europe. Some of them even support the local defence effort by day while showing their best on work issues by night. Specialists take responsibility for their work and do not want to let the business down.
Let’s take a closer look at the state of the IT industry today. Afterwards, you can read about the risks of hiring IT specialists in Ukraine and why it’s still worth doing business here.
Ukraine in international rankings:
Why Outsourcing & Hiring Ukrainian Developers is a Good Idea
Every year international companies from all over the world hire Ukrainian IT specialists. If you’re looking for a software developer or an entire remote IT department, here are the key reasons why hiring tech and non-tech specialists in Ukraine is a great idea.
The IT industry in Ukraine shows stable growth and has attracted investments since 2014, even despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in the eastern part of the country. According to the Ukrainian National Bank, local IT exports grew by 20.4% in 2020. There are also more than 4.000 Tech companies in Ukraine. Top Fortune 500 companies like Oracle, Google, Huawei, Siemens, Samsung, and many others have opened their R&D offices here.
Strong Technical Base & Diverse Expertise
Having chosen software development as their profession, Ukrainians grow to senior positions in 3–5 years. About 55% of the local freelance developers have more than three years of experience in their profession.
Being result-/business-focused, Ukrainian software developers will dive into the root causes and the ultimate outcomes you want, and speak up whenever they see a way to optimize and improve a product. By giving you useful advice at the right time, they can help you avoid costly technical mistakes and additional costs. Ukrainian developers constantly improve their craft because the world isn’t sitting around, watching reruns of ‘Friends.’
Talent That Turns Out Into the Bright Startup Culture
Since 2010, there has been a significant increase in startups in Ukraine. A few recently top-ranked Ukrainian startups include:
- Grammarly. It is an online platform based on artificial intelligence that helps to write more effectively in English and makes suggestions about the correctness, clarity, engagingness, and tone of your message. Service has been profitable since 2011 and was named the first Ukrainian unicorn start-up in 2019. As of 2020, Grammarly has 30 million daily active users. It was named to Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies 2019” in the “Artificial Intelligence” category, as well as Wealthfront’s Career-Launching Companies in 2020 and 2021 years.
- Petcube. Founded in 2012, Petcube sells equipment, such as laser toys, Wi-Fi cameras, and voice control equipment, allowing pet owners to communicate with their pets remotely. According to Tech Ukraine, the company has received over $14 million in investment and is now a globally recognized brand. It was also recognized as the best hardware startup in Europe in 2014 by The Europas.
- Preply. It is an international online educational platform that allows you to find tutors in more than 50 languages, as well as teachers of mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, etc. for online learning. The platform uses its algorithms for ranking and classifying tutors that use machine learning. Besides the Ukrainian market, the platform entered Poland, Brazil, Kazakhstani, the UK, Germany, Spain, and the USA markets.
- People.ai. This AI-powered platform can be used to manage salespeople. People.ai software allows you to collect and analyze employees’ calendars, calls, and emails, helping companies improve work efficiency. For example, to understand what is the maximum number of clients that a sales manager can handle at the same time. Among People.ai clients are AppDynamics, DataRobot, Okta, Zoom, and others. The company’s revenue is growing every year, and thanks to the cooperation with Zoom during the pandemic, it has tripled.
The cost of living in Ukraine is lower compared to the EU, the US, Canada, and Australia, so you can hire highly-qualified specialists with an affordable salary. Here are the average numbers of annual salaries for several countries:
- Ukraine — $42.000,
- USA, Canada — $139.300,
- EU — $72.500.
The median rates of Junior specialists start from $700, mid-level ones get around $1.500, and Seniors get from $4.000 depending on the programming language, candidate’s skills, and experience.
English Proficiency & Ability to Adapt to the Company’s Communication Patterns
According to research by the IT Ukraine Association, about 70% of IT specialists in Ukraine have at least an Upper-Intermediate (B2) level of English. Beyond that, a 13% group stands out with an advanced and higher English proficiency. Moreover, Ukrainians don’t have deeply rooted behavior patterns in daily activities like siesta or social hierarchy. They are flexible enough, and can quickly adapt to the company’s communication patterns.
Remote Work Experience
Over 92% of Ukrainian development companies switched to the remote during the pandemic in 2019. Online teamwork and time zones are not an issue for Ukrainians, especially while working with European customers, as the difference can be only 1–2 hours. For US companies, it is crucial to organize the workflow and the time of work calls. Nevertheless, many specialists are not against shifting their work to the evening hours.
Ukraine 2022: Are there any risks when you hire developers?
Before the russian full-scale invasion, many clients worldwide wanted to hire Ukrainian developers because they found them highly skilled, experienced, and reliable. The current situation has changed the attitudes among potential customers — some of them prefer hiring developers in other countries than Ukraine.
Let’s take a closer look at the key risks of looking for a developer in Ukraine, and see how the sector manages those even in conditions of war, instability in the country, cyber threats, lack of Internet, and inability to work with developers who are in active hostilities, the risk of missile strikes and mobilization of key engineers.
Risk 1: The War Goes On
The war has been lasting for eight years. During this period, international IT companies successfully hire talent in Ukraine: from EPAM to unicorn startups.
According to the IT Ukraine Association report, most of the IT companies retained customers and contracts during the war, despite all the risks stated by customers. About 52% of companies kept 100% of their contracts, 32% of companies — 90–99% of contracts, and only 16% of companies lost 10% or more of their contracts. The main factors in maintaining customers are:
- high level of customer loyalty;
- long-term partnership;
- delivery stability;
- constant communication with clients;
- rapid stabilization of business processes;
- quick relocation of the employees;
- high quality of services, even in wartime.
Risk 2: Mobilization of Key Engineers
Currently, about 2% of the IT market has been drafted into the army, which is approximately equal to the percentage of failure to pass the probationary period in the niche. This leads to the conclusion that the risk of mobilization of critical specialists is not that high.
Risk 3: Disruptions in Work
Doubt whether to hire Ukrainian developers, because you are convinced that specialists cannot work due to constant air raids and missile strikes? At the beginning of the war, IT companies evacuated employees to safer regions.
Almost 60% of IT specialists left their homes. According to the IT association, Poland, Germany, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Moldova, and Croatia became the top countries for relocation. Those companies that were unable to transport teams abroad have evacuated employees from dangerous or potentially dangerous regions to:
- Lviv region: 11%
- Transcarpathian region: 9%
- Ivano-Frankivsk region: 6%.
What else: software developers have stable access to the Internet. As of 2019, 70% of the territory of Ukraine was covered by the Internet, and IT specialists have already adapted to the new reality. The large product and outsourcing companies with offices in Ukraine also have purchased Starlink.
The Ukrainian IT industry showed record growth in export earnings in the first quarter of 2022. IT specialists are actively involved in aid in Ukraine’s cyber war, and donations to the army. IT business owners have positive expectations for further development of the industry, despite mass relocation and war. This is why all these risks described above are properly managed by the IT industry.
How ITExpert can help you with hiring
If you are reading this, you are probably wondering how to hire Ukrainian software developers. Easy! ITExpert has been operating on the market for over 6 years. We help to hire IT specialists for companies in Ukraine and worldwide — from the USA to Israel. Our dedicated IT recruiters work with product and outsourcing companies, form core teams for startups and look for talent for R&D centers.
We have taken true inspiration from the volunteers, organizers, aid workers, and everyday heroes all over the world who are making extreme sacrifices and leading with empathy and compassion. We do not cooperate with russian and belarus companies and urge organizations around the world to stop cooperating with specialists who support terrorism and the war in Ukraine. Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and all who have been touched by this horrible tragedy.
How you can help the IT industry (and Ukraine in general)
“How can we help you?” was the question we got from our clients during the first month of the war. And “Give us more work” was the reply. That helps us support our country, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, our families, and Ukrainian IT specialists’ families.
If you are looking for highly skilled software developers, hire them in Ukraine. From our side, we guarantee high-level expertise in hiring developers, QA, DevOps, CTOs for FinTech, E-commerce, SaaS and PaaS products, Machine Learning, AI, and other industries. We work with all popular programming languages from Java to Ruby. To get a free consultation, send your request.
For those who aren’t ready to hire in Ukraine, but want to stand with Ukraine: since February 24, 2022, our company has donated to the Army of Ukraine. You can also do this by donating to the “Come Back Alive” fund, the biggest organization providing support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 2014. Share the information about the war in Ukraine, let’s call for an immediate end to the violence and killing of innocent people and for peace to be restored in our country together!