Surprisingly, average salaries in the IT sector have started to fall, according to the latest figures from the third quarter salary statistics. There has been no such trend so far.
At first glance, the situation is not overly alarming – from BGN 4,621, the average salary in the sector in July fell to BGN 4,593 in August, but in September it became BGN 4,798.
However, earlier in the year – in March and especially in April, the average salary in the IT industry almost crossed the 5,000 BGN monthly mark – it reached 4,924 BGN.
Of course, the average salary of programmers, software engineers, system administrators, site developers, etc. is also falling. remains the highest in Bulgaria.
In the energy sector, for example, although the average salary is constantly growing, it is still BGN 3,150 per month, while financiers and insurers are also slightly under BGN 3,000 (see the infographic).
But the reduction in salaries in IT
occurs in the conditions of inflation,
and at least until now the growth of wages in our country has always managed to outpace it.
Already at the end of last year, another thing began to be noticed on the labor market – the demand for personnel in the IT field
began to decline markedly
Then the explanations were that after the pandemic and forced work from home, which led to a sharp jump in the demand for IT specialists, it is normal to see a lull and even a decline.
According to the latest data from the largest job posting site – jobtiger.bg, in October 2023 there was a 40 percent decrease in job postings in the IT field compared to a year earlier with an average year-on-year decline of 7 percent .
Meanwhile, something unprecedented happened – layoffs, after years of companies in the industry doing their best to attract even inexperienced people, train them and retain them. Although isolated, there is one case related to the crypto market crisis worth noting – the Bulgarian office of the cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com, which operates in our country through the company Foris Europe, dismissed half of its 3,000 employees.
According to many HR specialists, this industry often works on a project basis. When there is a specific job, companies form teams, but
they do not hire people with open-ended employment contracts
Remuneration is still high, but after the completion of the particular job, no one expects to be retained, or at least not in the particular company.
However, according to the latest annual report of the Association for Innovation, Business Services and Technology (AIBEST), the number of full-time people in the high-tech sector in our country exceeds 89 thousand people, and only in the software industry it is about 50 thousand.
Because of the high added value
this industry makes up about 7% of the Bulgarian GDP, at least for now.
“There is nothing unusual about the delay in our country, because this industry is global,” Dobroslav Dimitrov from the management of the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASCOM) said on Bloomberg TV a few days ago.
The more precise reason, he says, is that the time of the fifth industrial revolution has simply arrived. The first four have largely automated human manual labor, but have never interfered with man himself. However, artificial intelligence does this too.
“At the moment, the technological giants are massively releasing people in the global market due to the economic difficulties, and this cannot help but affect our country as well. When the difficulties pass, however, and this industry begins to expand again,
there will not be the same jobs as before,
because artificial intelligence will already have changed many things. Therefore, people in this field of activity must invest more in themselves and in their skills if they want to have the standard they are used to again. The time when you could have a good career in the IT industry with less knowledge is over,” Dimitpov is convinced.
There is another circumstance – 15 years have already passed since the time of the last major financial crisis, and during that time the business has been invaded
a new generation that is not used to the thought that things can go down
Especially in the software industry and in the field of technological business services, in which Bulgaria is strong, entrepreneurs have been trained for years, for whom growth was the most important thing, and whether there will be a profit is rather wishful thinking. For years, the financial resource was free, and now, when the bill has to go out at the end of the month, it causes something of a shock to many entrepreneurs.
Yet not all jobs in this industry are so threatened. If you look at the job ads in more detail, you can immediately see that the biggest drop in demand is for junior specialists, and a much smaller one for the so-called. mid-level and there is almost no decline in the demand for senior specialists.
That is, the crisis, at least for now, affects more the low positions, for which less experience is required. While the highly skilled are still in high demand and continue as before to have the opportunity to choose their employer.
There is also reduced demand for network engineers and system administrators. But the crisis doesn’t seem to be affecting cloud professionals, data analysts and people who specialize in cyber security.
And for software developers still
they are hardly likely to be out of work for more than 3-4 days
Their demand continues to be very high and the starting salary for a very young specialist without much experience is BGN 3,000. The remuneration of more experienced developers sometimes exceeds the threshold of BGN 10,000.
However, there is still some uncertainty in this labor market – whether, to what extent and when the crisis in the IT sector in the USA and Western Europe will also affect the Bulgarian market.
There is a high probability that Western companies will bet on lowering costs
for labor and then they will massively prefer countries like ours where these costs will be significantly lower. Because regardless of the high salaries for native IT specialists, their remunerations are about 40% lower than those for similar work in Western companies. Our competition is more with countries like India and Bulgaria, at least until recently, it benefited from being located in an area with a smaller time difference with the contracting parties’ markets. This is particularly important for many business services activities that rely on call centers for remote process and customer support.