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CAPITAL FOR THE IT CROWD
Lviv decided to develop in such direction a few years ago when the city authorities developed the Strategy for Improvement of the Economic Competitiveness of Lviv by 2015 in cooperation with Ukrainian and foreign experts. It defined the development of the Cluster of Information Technology and Business Services as a priority. Back in 2009, the KPMG called Lviv one of the 30 most promising cities for development of outsourcing in IT industry. Among the main advantages of Lviv in the international IT market it named the lower costs of market entry compared with Kyiv and other European cities, as well as high quality of human resources – more than 1,800 IT professionals graduate from local universities every year. In addition, an important role, according to KPMG experts, plays the cultural and geographical proximity to Europe, because the city is located relatively close to the important European business centers – Berlin, Zurich and Amsterdam. Actually, now, according to the Lviv Cluster of Information Technology and Business Services, the city annually receives to its budget close to US $150 mn from activities of the IT industry.
This amount may well grow. The fact is that due to the developments in the country a number of IT companies from Kharkiv and Donetsk announced plans to move to Lviv. Thus, according to www.liga.net, during the conflict in the Donbas more than 1,000 of software engineers left Donetsk – which is almost a quarter of employees of the city’s ITindustry. Based on the estimates of www.dou.ua, the contribution of Donetsk software developers to the region’s gross product was UA $60 – 80 mn. In their turn, software engineers from Kharkiv say that their amounts of orders have dropped by approximately 20%. Moving to a more peaceful Lviv for IT companies is sometimes the only option to maintain the level of orders because foreign software customers, aware of the fighting in the east of Ukraine, are afraid to risk and give them to other countries.
Well, it turns out that information technology loves the silence. As it was noted in a recent interview by the Minister of Education and Science Serhiy Kvit, Ukrainian IT professionals work mainly in outsourcing, producing only portions of final software products and are paid directly by the global customers. And for them the political stability of the region, where their contractors work, is very important. After all, if martial law is suddenly declared in the region or if it comes under control of another state, as is the case with Crimea, the companies risk to face sanctions and restrictions. Because of this, as we know, IT professionals from Sevastopol have suffered essential losses because they lost a number of orders from Ukraine and other countries, or even lost their jobs because Ukrainian software companies closed their Crimean branches. Actually Lviv IT companies, according to their official websites, particularly focus the attention of their customers on the fact that the political situation in Lviv is regular and peaceful, etc.
FIND YOURSELF IN LVIV
Naturally moving of software engineers from the eastern regions to Lviv affects the labor market in the IT segment, though it is unlikely to affect it drastically. According to the Cluster of Information Technology and Business Services, at present 25% of all Ukrainian software engineers are employed in Lviv. But the problem of shortage of personnel is still relevant. Not so long ago together with the Lviv City Council the Cluster held a social campaign Find Yourself in Lviv. Within its framework the young, promising IT professionals were enticed to move to Lviv. In addition to good jobs and a decent wages young professionals were suggested to evaluate the comfort of the life in the city – quality of healthcare, high level of service in commerce, and finally, the proximity to the Carpathian Mountains, where people can relax both in summer and winter. Based on reviews on the Internet forums, IT professionals who moved to the city from the eastern oblasts y were generally satisfied with the quality of life in the capital of Galicia. They were pleasantly surprised with the small size of the city center, friendly atmosphere and to some extent the European way of life – many bike paths, cafes, etc.
Experts note that the friendly atmosphere of the city will help IT companies relocated from the eastern cities feel comfortable in Lviv. The Executive Director of the Cluster of Information Technology and Business Services Stepan Veselovskiy said in an interview to a publication the business environment is very open in Lviv, representatives of the IT business actively consult each other and there are numerous specialized forums in the city. This, according to him, is one of the main factors encouraging companies from the east of the country to move exactly to Lviv.Printable version