Serbia’s IT industry will employ 120,000 people

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Information technologies are exported more than agriculture, and in the first ten months of last year, they exported 1.5 billion euros.
In Serbia, by 2025, the number of employees in the IT industry could increase to 120,000, ie increase by as much as three times, Microsoft announced.
– The largest number of jobs is expected in the field of software development, cloud technologies, data science and cyber security. Through the process of digital transformation, all branches of industry have become connected with the IT sector, so that the IT industry needs not only developers, but also experts in sales, production, health and banking – said Milan Gospić, director of “Microsoft” in Serbia.
According to the data of the National Bank of Serbia, the export of the information technology sector in the first ten months of 2021 reached about 1.5 billion euros, which is 28 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. Commenting on the NBS analysis, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić recently said that ICT is currently the largest export branch and that it has surpassed agriculture in terms of exports. She also stressed that the information and communication sector has a larger share in GDP than construction. To illustrate how much this sector has grown, she stated that in 2008, ICT exports amounted to 178 million euros, as well as that 19,000 people were employed in this sector in 2016, and today there are 43,500.
Mihailo Gajić, director of the economic research unit “Lübeck”, said that our ICT sector is good, but it does not deviate much from the regional trend. We are at the level of Bulgaria and Romania. According to him, the value of exports per employee in the EU is on average around 80,000 euros, while in Bulgaria and Romania it is around 35,000 euros, the same as in Serbia.
– What has facilitated the functioning and export of ICT from Serbia is that we are more competitive in terms of labor force. Companies are moving their centers from Western Europe to Serbia because they can pay three good engineers for the price of one good engineer. Then we have a relatively good higher education, especially technical. We have a rather weak rest of the economy and a large number of engineers from technical faculties for whom programming would not necessarily be their main occupation see that with their knowledge from faculties they can get better salaries and easier employment than in the sectors they studied, so they switch to ICT. There is a great demand for ICT staff, from software package tests to sought-after professionals in certain fields, and we have retraining programs so that citizens can learn programming on the Internet and enroll in various master programs – said Gajić.
What he believes could be a problem for ICT in the future is to reduce the number of young people who can easily retrain for the sector. Each generation that enters the faculties is smaller than the previous one.
Gajic stated that most of the ICT sector works some kind of service as a subcontractor for companies from abroad. He emphasized that there are large projects in this sector, such as the “Microsoft” development center, and that there are some companies that have managed to break into the world market.
In addition to “Microsoft”, at the beginning of October last year, the American company NCR opened a technological campus in New Belgrade, in the construction of which it invested 100 million dollars and in which 5,000 employees will work. In 2021, the German “Continental” opened a factory of electronic components in Novi Sad, which will partly produce products designed in their research center, which opened in 2018. Japanese “Nidek”, which will produce electric motors for electric vehicles in Novi Sad, announced the opening of a research and development center (RND), which will deal with research and improvement of “Nidek” products and which will be a good opportunity for young engineers to develop in the domain of science and profession.
The growth of the ICT sector was also influenced by the arrival of some large companies, mainly through the purchase of domestic startups. The company “Nordeus”, the creator of the popular online game “Top 11”, was bought in June 2021 by the American company “Take Two”, the owner of some of the most famous names in the world of video games for 225 million euros. Two years ago, “Epic Games” entered our market with the purchase of the Novi Sad startup company “3lateral”, which specializes in computer-generated characters. A year earlier, the American “Nutanix”, otherwise one of the fastest growing companies in the world, bought “Frame”, an American-Serbian startup that deals with “cloud computing”, for 165 million dollars. In the field of energy, “Schneider Electric” bought DMS, an IT company that makes software for managing electric power systems.
On the other hand, “Hatek”, currently the fastest growing technology company in the region that deals with software engineering and digital product development, bought the American “Momentum Design Lab”. Which is proof that startups that originated in Serbia can compete successfully on the global stage.
The number of takeovers and partnerships is much longer and will only increase every year, as startup companies develop more and more and find investors. Also, through the project Serbia Innovates Interested Companies, startup companies and scientific institutions have the opportunity to unite and apply for the first pilot “Supercluster Project” in Serbia by the end of February. Four areas are involved: high technology in agriculture and the food industry, the gaming environment and virtual reality, web-3 and blockchain technologies, as well as advanced solutions in medical technology and biotechnology. It has been announced that the winning supercluster will receive help for better positioning on the market, and the ultimate goal is to become fully self-sustainable in 2025, Politika reports.