Ana Sandu
ANA SANDU
IT

Hiring Romanian Developers

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Maybe you’ll look on the map and see Romania is an Eastern European country, less developed, which you’ll think most definitely means lower costs.

Maybe your investor recommends it as a rising IT hub with a great workforce.

Or maybe you have friends here or have previously worked with Romanian developers and you know the quality of their work.

No matter how the idea of hiring Romanian developers comes to your mind, one thing is for sure: it’s most definitely biased unless you do proper research. So start here. Read about the three most important agents that define the Romanian IT market and will mould your business plan.

Education

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Being a post-soviet country, there has been a great emphasis on theoretical knowledge. Our education system encourages big grades, competition and being at the top, while it focuses less on developing skills or preparing for the practical aspects of a profession. The curriculum is in a continuous update which has led to adding more and more information and hard notions earlier in the school years, than previous generations.

This means that people value education and once students get accepted into universities, the majority of them will graduate with impressive theoretical knowledge. Two universities in Romania are listed in the top 1000 universities in the world - Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and University of Bucharest (source). Every year, around 6500 students finish their studies in IT in the entire country and this number is rising (source).

When IT multinational companies have entered the market, they took on a mission to recruit the best talent and they started partnering with universities to prepare the students for the practical aspects of a job (concepts like working in a team, implementing Agile methodologies, estimating tasks). Over time, the effect is clear: almost every student in his final year has been in at least two internships and graduates with an understanding of the market and is well prepared for an entry-level job.

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The IT workforce in Romania is extremely well prepared at graduation and it’s continuously polished by companies who offer internship programs, certifications, learning opportunities. Be sure that when you will arrive here you will get to interact with true professionals who know their value and who have a high motivation for personal development.

Our statistics show that 70% of the Romanian developers who are looking for a new job list “lack of technical challenge” / “stagnation” / “no learning opportunities” as their main reason for leaving their current workplace.

Demand

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As we speak, Romania is on an ascending trend in attracting IT companies, with Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest being the first choices for companies to open new offices or expand their teams. This is great news for everybody but it shelters important implications for recruiting that must be understood in terms of time to hire and level of expertise of the candidates you can attract.

Being such a competitive market, there is a race to get the best developers on board. Usually, companies arm themselves with different selling points: offering above the market average salaries, using the latest technology, establishing personalised career paths, providing technical challenges that come with the promise of growth and so on. The effect is an unbalanced dynamic where attracting the most qualified developers will increase the time to hire, because you will need to address a passive pool of candidates who already have what they want. If your most pressing need is to find Senior Developers, set your expectations right: you will find them, but it will require an intense recruiting process that can extend on 2-4 months depending on the technology.

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To counteract this phenomenon, many IT companies chose to hire juniors who can grow together with the project, because junior roles are significantly easier to close and you can find incredible potential that you can further shape to fit your company culture and organisational needs. Due to high demand people from other areas go through reconversion programs and try to find a job in IT. You can find great potential from this source as well.

Having surpassed the offer, the high demand also means that you cannot rely solely on applicants to close your Senior Developer roles. Our statistics show that the rate of suitable applicants from the most used job boards (such as Linkedin, Glassdoor, Indeed) who move forward is only 9,2%. And just 0,4% of them get hired.

Budget

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Romania is a country that is struggling with its economical development and as a consequence, the standard of living is lower than in Western Europe for example, which means it’s cheaper to live here or do business.

A good deal of the collaboration requests we receive from companies that want to hire developers in Romania is based exclusively on what might seem at a first glance, a notably high return on investment. This is why in the first meeting we always ask: What is your budget?

Yes, you will find a cheaper workforce here and you might even end up paying half of what you would have paid in the US or Western Europe for average jobs. But our experience has taught us that almost everyone wants to hire great talent, which unfortunately doesn’t come cheap.

If your hiring objective is focused on senior-level positions, your budget should start at least at 2500 Euros NET, that means around 4000 Euro gross - the minimum.

When taking into consideration the two factors - education and demand, the puzzle comes together and you can understand why salaries are higher. One of the most customary strategies big companies employ to retain their valuable and hard-earned talent is paying above the market average salaries, so other companies can be discouraged from approaching their professionals and the professionals, in turn, have fewer chances of finding a better-paid position.

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And the most recent factor that impacted the job market - the pandemic, also has an effect on salaries. With the ascending trend of working remotely, where you're staying with your laptop has little to no importance anymore and senior developers get access to a plethora of opportunities from all over the world with the only constraint being the time zone. On the long-term, this might lead to an incipient uniformisation of the salaries.

Romania’s taxing system doesn’t necessarily favour the employer, even though there is a tax exemption that IT professionals benefit from. So when calculating the costs of hiring developers here you might want to use Cipher, the tool Human Direct has created to make it easier to see the costs your future employee will require.

It is a great decision to hire Romanian developers because the pool of candidates consists of particularly well-prepared and trained people. And even if your main reason is cutting costs, it's worth adjusting your budget accordingly because, in the end, you will get 100% delivery and you'll reach your project's milestones with a guarantee of great code quality.

Book a call with us to discuss your plan and give you the most valuable insight on the chances of success that you have and the steps you need to take to get there.

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