An unintended consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the loss of technical talent that will impact supply chain and software innovation for years to come.
With over 300,000 tech professionals, Ukraine has one of the largest developer communities in Europe. The region is known as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe.
Prior to the Russian invasion, the country was a major player in local software development services for customers in Europe and potentially elsewhere. Gartner estimates that more than one million IT professionals work in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, with a quarter (250,000) working for consulting or outsourcing companies.
“Imagine 10-15% of the European developer workforce disappearing overnight. In Europe, we are currently experiencing a crisis in the developer market, with customers looking to quickly fill missing resources and ensure business continuity. business,” Saulius Kaukenas, CEO of Agmis, told TechNewsWorld.
Agmis, a software developer in the Baltic States, creates smart solutions for customers around the world. The Company’s product division develops artificial intelligence and computer vision applications for retail, industrial and aero diagnostic applications.
Another part of the Agmis group – Bluelark – is the first certified Salesforce Partner in the Baltic States. Agmis employs over 100 highly qualified specialists; its solutions are deployed in more than 30 countries on four continents.
The tech ecosystem in Ukraine was preparing for a force majeure event, with relocations of employees to the west of the country. That plan included moving key staff overseas or expanding office capabilities in other countries, according to Kaukenas.
The “force majeure” clause (French for “superior force”) is a contractual provision that exempts the parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise. It applies when performance is inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal or impossible.
However, nothing could have prepared the barbaric targeting of civilian infrastructure and a humanitarian disaster executed by the invading Russian troops.
“We hear these stories of people delivering code between air raid sirens or developers entering active military service to defend their country. This is truly heroic and only shows the resilience of the Ukrainian people,” Kaukenas said.
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Ukraine was overtaking its weight in the global software development market, Kaukenas added. The country was home to a skilled technological workforce.
“The current crisis has highlighted the number of global companies that relied on Ukraine as one of their development bases. I am convinced that this crisis is only temporary and that the technology industry will be one of the pillars of Ukraine’s reconstruction after the end of the war,” he predicted.
Belarus was also a big player in the developer sourcing ecosystem. But it was competing in the lower, low-cost part of the market. While Ukrainian companies face temporary challenges, the problems in the Belarusian tech ecosystem are more permanent in nature, the CEO of Agmis added.
Over three million people have already fled Ukraine and millions more have been internally displaced. Lithuania has launched simplified processes for Ukrainian refugees to work in the country.
The Lithuanian tech community has also stepped up to provide temporary or permanent working conditions to support families during the war, according to Kaukenas.
The CEO sees a new digital iron curtain settling in Europe. Although the economic sanctions currently imposed on Belarus are less severe, they indicate the global moral outlook towards a military aggressor.
Kaukenas added that “a cultural backlash, fears over intellectual property protection and the general rule of law are just some of the reasons why Western companies are leaving Belarus as a center of development.”