Demand for Ukrainian talent on the rise amid supply disruption

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Bombay/Chennai/Bengaluru: India’s biggest tech companies – Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and HCL Technologies – as well as games startups and mid-tier software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies are hiring engineers who have been displaced due to the war in Ukraine and seeking refuge in nearby European cities.

TCS is seeking to absorb Ukrainian talent into its centers in cities like Budapest, while Infosys said it has launched a program to train up to 25,000 people and welcome such talent to its Polish center.

HCL, for its part, said it has set up camps at its Polish and Romanian centers for engineers to “come in” and be employed.

Ukraine’s 50,000-strong tech community ranks among Europe’s most sought-after talent, with its strong focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills, robust startup ecosystems and a genuine talent generation. ‘global businesses, including the $13 billion Grammar, among others, according to experts.

TCS, India’s largest software services company by revenue, is exploring ways to support Ukrainians as the depth of technological knowledge is very high in these regions, said a TCS source who did not wish be named. “We are also exploring how we can increase capacity in centers like Budapest (Hungary) as we see a lot of people from Ukraine being absorbed into these neighboring areas,” the source added.

TCS has seen major clients shut down operations in Russia and is now looking for talent elsewhere, the source added.

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Bengaluru-based Infosys has launched a program to train displaced technology professionals in the region.

“We are supporting the training of everyone involved, up to 25,000 people from Ukraine,” Infosys CEO Salil Parekh told ET in an interview last week. “We welcome any of these talented people… We are more than willing to welcome them to our centers in Poland.”

Although Indian IT companies are eyeing strong demand, they are also facing record levels of attrition.

In fact, TCS and Infosys reported churn rates of 17.4% and 27.7%, respectively, during the January-March period.

A TCS spokesperson did not respond to questions from ET about its plans to hire in the area as of press time Monday.

Hence, a readily available workforce – albeit in a different geography – proves attractive to the Indian tech industry.

According to technology consultancy ISG, there were more than 50,000 technology resources based outside Ukraine before the conflict.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has induced a work-from-anywhere model, has also made it easier to hire and manage remote workforces at this time.

Heads of talent recruiting companies told ET that there is a strong demand for Ukrainian talent.

Talent500, which helps big tech companies set up global capability centers in countries like India, launched a campaign to enable software developers to find Ukrainian talent after the outbreak of war. Started a month ago, the talent hunt has placed more than 650 developers in Indian and global B2B SaaS companies.

Global tech companies offer tech jobs for front-end engineers, iOS and Android developers, across all product lines and coding languages.

Vikram Ahuja, founder of Talent500, said the company is looking for talent among refugees in Poland, Turkey and elsewhere, and has also started looking for engineers in Ukraine.

“The quality of talent, proximity to the time zone and attractive costs make Ukraine a sought-after global hub for tech talent. Places in the capital Kyiv, relatively safe amid the devastating conflict, have welcomed Ukrainian talent working for global companies,” Ahuja said.

The company is setting up a technology hub in West Asia to accommodate displaced Ukrainians, he added.

People have also fled to the Czech Republic and Armenia, he said, adding that many have moved to western Ukraine and continue to work there.

Leading Indian tech companies have already activated support programs through non-governmental organizations in neighboring countries like Romania, Poland and Hungary. Moreover, they are now opening their doors to qualified talent.

VV Apparao, HR director of HCL Technologies, told ET that the company has set up camps in Poland and Romania where people with the relevant skills can show up for recruitment and also takes care of accommodation. many of these recruits.

“A lot of people usually come to share accommodation when they work in Poland. Now, when their families join, it’s very difficult for them. So we said for six months, whatever accommodation you rent, we will pay the rent,” Apparao said.

He added that Ukrainian tech talents are highly skilled. “We don’t look at profit and loss there. It is an accompaniment that must be developed because it is certain that people suffer.

Talent Demand

Midsize IT companies are not behind in tapping into this talent either.

Amit Chadha, CEO of engineering services company L&T Group, said the company, through its center in Poland, caters to Ukrainian people who have the required skills.

Much of the needs the company is currently meeting come from customers whose operations have been affected by the conflict.

“We are also helping customers who are in lockdown due to tensions. Some customers had engineering and R&D centers in these three countries (Ukraine, Russia and Belarus) and could not serve them. We are picking up and supporting this program abandoned halfway to completion,” Chadha told ET.

Similarly, Mindtree, which has expanded its nearshore offerings in Poland, has been working on strategies to expand its talent pool in the region. “There are programs that the recruitment team is running to provide employment for some of the people who have been displaced and want to settle in Poland,” said Debashis Chatterji, CEO of Mindtree.


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