Almost one third of the Bulgarians who live abroad would come back and most of them consider this step because of the thriving IT industry, a new study conducted by the Bulgarian Association of the Software Companies (BASSCOM) reveals. Most of the 4K participants in the survey currently live in the UK, Germany and the US.
The Association is launching a campaign to attract talent from the Bulgarian diaspora as the booming local IT sector already experiences labor shortages. Reversing the brain drain trend would allow the Bulgarian software industry to accelerate its growth with rates of 25-50% instead of the projected 10%.
Mapping the Tech Diaspora
This is the first survey that probes the attitudes of Bulgarian expats on returning to the country. The software industry which currently employs 27K people and has grown with close to 20% to €1.2B compared to last year, is the number one come-back reason for 57% of the participants.
The trend is more than positive as the software sector continues to grow at high rates but the talent fuel is close to exhaustion. Last year the new positions have increased by 15% and the Association’s projections for next year are for around 10% growth. This is in dissonance with companies’ opportunities and will to grow with 25-50% annually. The trend shown by the results of the survey has the potential to fill that gap.
The largest groups respondents in the survey currently live in the UK, Germany and the US, but there are also significant communities in Dutch, Spain, Austria and the Netherlands. Two third of the participants have a university degree and the majority is between 25 and 35 years old.
Not So Fast
All these positive conclusions, however, face the fact that under 20% of the respondents are actually qualified to work in the IT sector. On the one hand, around 20% of the positions in the software industry are indeed not technical. The discrepancy, however, remains.
„In Bulgaria, there is already well-developed ecosystem of universities and academies, even in-house educational programs of the companies, that give practical knowledge and skills. In the same time, a lot of new software products and technologies are developed here and this gives experiences specialists to work on projects with high value added”, Bistra Papazova of BASSCOM stated.
Indeed there are two major trends related to the growing and maturing software sector in Bulgaria: it does attract Bulgarian talent from abroad as many of the startup founders and company managers here received a degree abroad. In the same time global brands such as the giants Financial Times, SAP, PaySafe or IBM, but also scaleups like Viber, Uber, LeanPlum, ScyScanner and AngeList have their strategic R&D centers in the country.