If we aimed to find a sector that has expanded at a sweeping pace even during the pandemic, it is likely that the IT field would emerge as an absolute winner: there are almost 44,000 IT professionals missing from the Hungarian labour market.
In addition, the COVID crisis has significantly accelerated digitalization and automation, making the recruitment of young professionals an even more relevant issue for HR leaders and executives. Information technology is still the 3rd most popular field of study in Hungary, however, it seems that higher education needs to step up if it wants to keep up with the growth of the market. Where do next-generation IT people come from and what awaits the sector in the coming years? WHC Group was set to answer these questions with the help of leading HR experts at the IT & Telco & Startup industry event of the HR Fest conference series.
Over the past year, there has been a worldwide increase in the demand for IT professionals.
Digitalization and automation are conquering more and more industries, so the recruitment of qualified IT people has become a key strategic objective for companies. It is difficult to fill the open vacancies in Hungary as well, thanks to this trend – and the time-consuming online selection processes – it can now take up to 80 days for recruiters to find the right candidates for open positions. Although all market actors compete with each other for the best candidates, the demand and supply are quite diverse: some are looking for fresh graduates to train them according to their own business goals, while other companies prefer recruiting colleagues with years of experience. On the other hand, some IT professionals are boldly applying for new positions in the hope of getting interesting projects or a more attractive compensation package, while others are playing a safe game.
“Even the ever-prospering IT sector offers some very interesting HR trends for us to observe these days. Mobility in the IT industry, for example, has emerged significantly in this past year, and many – companies and workers alike – expect the hybrid model and remote work to stay with us for a long time. While this trend can be dangerous, because IT specialists are more likely to choose opportunities abroad, other excellent professionals can finally be drawn back to Hungarian companies, as the real value of domestic wages is quite competitive in this sector” – said Viktor Göltl, CEO of WHC Group at the online conference.
IT professionals are already craving back to the office
The Human Resource Managers of Telenor Hungary and 4iG agreed that the key to the successful recruitment process is to formulate accurate, targeted value propositions that help companies attract the professionals they really need. Besides, the employee referral programs are becoming very effective tools in the selection of IT professionals these days. According to Ibolya Gothárdi, HR Director of 4iG, almost half of the candidates now come to the company’s attention thanks to the recommendation of colleagues, so they allocate a part of the resources intended for employer branding to this area. The HR executives also shared some bullet-proof tips against fluctuation as recent in-house surveys show that IT specialists reward exciting projects, a cohesive team, and executives with a flexible attitude the most, and they cannot wait to be part of the office community again.
Let’s flip the coin: what will IT people need to stay competitive in the upcoming years?
It is very likely that the demand for excellent IT professionals will not weaken from the corporate side, but expectations and emphasis may shift. Specialized industry expertise will come to the fore, as well as the development of so-called soft skills. In this new volatile and challenging world, there will be a huge need for IT professionals who can easily and eagerly acquire new knowledge, effectively collaborate with colleagues and other areas, and be able to approach their day-to-day tasks with a business perspective. In fact, it will be the foundation of the common success for companies and employees: those who can develop together in a time of crisis can expect lasting results in the market.
While higher education is falling behind, women are catching up
Due to the long-term chronic shortage of IT specialists in the Hungarian labour market, the issue of recruiting young professionals continues to be a priority for HR executives in the sector. According to the data of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, information technology was the 3rd most popular field of study behind economic and technical training in the academic year 2019/2020.
Job search site Zyntern.com – which is aimed specifically at career starters – found in its latest survey that IT graduates are now demanding a HUF 270,000 net amount as a starting salary. According to Mirtill Megyeri, Co-founder of the portal and Head of HR and Communications, it is also a very encouraging sign that the wage demands of women and men starting their careers in the IT field are much closer compared to other sectors, which shows that women are becoming more confident in the world of technology. However, Zyntern’s survey also found that IT students and fresh graduates were the least affected by the COVID impact, with only 15% losing their jobs recently (mostly internships). They are also the most optimistic about their career prospects.
There is less cause for optimism in higher education institutions, as 80% of students studying in IT go to undergraduate education and it very much seems that as soon as young professionals receive an attractive offer from companies, they tend to drop out of school and enter the labour market immediately.
Kristóf Bárdos, Co-founder and CEO of Green Fox Academy, sees universities and colleges as providing an academic-theoretical foundation that can be used, for example, in research and development, but less so in early-stage positions. Experts are confident that there will be a huge shift in the labour market in the near future: more and more industries will be impacted by artificial intelligence, automation or even robotics, so competitiveness will require significant resources for retraining and developing digital competences. Enabling economists and engineers, or even lawyers and marketers with this knowledge, can alleviate the burning shortage of manpower in the IT field and create positions and functions in companies that can open up new perspectives in business strategies.
Source: WHC Group