Estonia redoubles efforts to attract global IT talent

IT professionals from all over the world are being lured to Estonia through a government recruitment campaign

The Estonian government has launched the second part of its initiative to attract IT talent from across the world

Through its Work in Estonia programme, the small Baltic country has launched its second career hunt campaign.

The programme last year saw 5,500 people from around the world apply for the opportunity to work in Estonia. A group of 23 candidates were given a trip to Estonia where they had interviews, and even candidates started new jobs in the country.

The country needs to attract IT professionals. It has a population of just 1.3 million and a growing IT sector.

The country has a tech-startup sector that boasts some of the world’s best known firms in the sector, such as TransferWise, Taxify and Skype. It also has large companies looking for IT staff. But by next year, the country’s job market is expected to be short of 7,000 IT professionals.

With IT professionals across the European Union interested looking for alternatives to the UK to set up, or work for tech startups due to Brexit, Estonia will be increasingly attractive.

Kaisa-Triin Kosenkranius, marketing specialist at government-funded Work in Estonia, told Computer Weekly the programme is aimed at promoting Estonia as “a great place to live and work for specialists worldwide,” including IT professionals.

Read more about Estonia’s IT development

The organisation helps Estonian companies find much-needed talent and tries to make the recruitment process as smooth as possible. “The problem for Estonia is that it’s small, and because companies are doing well, we do not have enough talent, especially in IT,” said Kosenkranius.

She said the number of IT professionals that have come to Estonia from other countries has more than doubled since its efforts to attract more began in 2015. “It is difficult to measure exact numbers because many are from other EU countries and therefore not recorded, but we probably have under 100,000 professionals from other countries.”

There are currently 300 IT jobs being advertised by the website, out of a total of 500 jobs. These are English language jobs with software engineers and data scientists in high demand.” But there is a broad range of skills in demand,” said Kosenkranius.

She added that the traditional banking and IT industries are two of Estonia’s strongest, which creates the perfect conditions for the development of a strong fintech sector.

The English language is used in the Estonian tech sector. “In the IT sector it is normal to speak English, which is the natural for most of the businesses.”

Fast career opportunities

According to a survey of foreign workers in the country by Work in Estonia, they are attracted to fast career opportunities, with a work culture built on merit and the high-quality but affordable lifestyle.

The survey revealed IT specialists particularly like how digitally advanced Estonia is.

When it comes to salary, Kosenkranius said the levels are in line with places like Rome and Barcelona, but lower that London, Berlin and Paris.

Luiz Felipe de Souza Gomes, a successful candidate from last year, said: “Before the campaign, I only knew a little about Estonia itself, and I let the size of the country fool me. The few companies I had a chance to talk to convinced me it’s the place I was looking for.”

Maria de las Mercedes, another participant from the first year’s campaign, said: “The way people work here and the way the companies function is very nice and horizontal. You can reach anyone in the company.”

Applications are open online until 21st March 2019.

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