Due to the sanctions, the ghost of a “brain drain” hangs over the information technology market in Russia | Economy

Moscow In a clear expression of the repercussions of Western sanctions on Russia and the economic crisis that hit it as a result, the information technology sector in Russia began to see a noticeable exodus of experts working in it with their tendency to leave the country.

According to the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, about 50-70 thousand people working in the field of information technology left the country from February to March 2022, and this number – according to the association – will increase in the future.

Brain drain is defined as the migration of scientists and specialists from various sectors from their original home to an environment that is more professionally or economically more suitable for them, usually from developing countries to developed countries.

This type of migration can negatively affect the homeland in terms of the loss of manpower, which causes a loss of existing competencies, which in turn will cause damage to the country’s economy.

exodus

And it was not limited to specialists, but many IT companies in turn withdrew from the Russian market, says Natalia Kasperskaya, head of the “Info Watch” group for software engineering, which looks at a “mass” -exodus “of experts confirmed. and dozens of foreign companies in the field of information technology, due to the decline in The value of the local currency, adding that the “flow” increased significantly in February and March. Kasperskaya predicted that 100,000 experts would follow next April.

Kasperskaya explained that in June 2020 she had warned that Russia was on the verge of a mass exodus of IT staff abroad, declaring at the time that the massive outflow would take two years due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

But she pointed out that the problem at the time was only hidden due to the pandemic of the Corona virus, in which Russia entered into self-isolation, but now the situation is different, Russia is also under the yoke of international sanctions than the fall of the ruble to historically low levels against the vast majority of major currencies in the world, which led to a sharp jump in prices and a shortage of some commodities.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the relevant authorities in Russia have sounded the alarm about the loss of talent in the digital technology local market.

In early 2021, the country experienced a severe shortage of IT staff in the country. According to the Ministry of Digital Development, in February last year, Russia lost from 500,000 to 1 million specialists in various fields of information technology.

In addition, the ministry’s analysts stressed that there are not enough state-funded places for IT majors at Russian universities, and there are only 80,000 of them.

Specialists in this sector say that many experts in the field of information technology are in a hurry to leave the country as soon as possible, because they do not want to bear the sharply deteriorating economic situation, and do not pay attention to the many measures to support the information technology industry of the state off, they say.

Many IT companies have withdrawn from the Russian market (Getty Images)

future phobia

According to specialists, this is also due to the “good mental organization” of IT specialists, as they are young people who are in many ways connected to the West, and have worked on Western devices, but they are terrified of the repercussions of sanctions about their professional future, calling on the state to take urgent measures to reassure them. The Russian authorities are doing everything possible to keep IT professionals in the country.

Despite the fact that there is no talk of a direct ban on departure, the state is working to take various incentives to comply with this right.

Quick intervention

For example, in early March, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree implementing the third package of measures to support the information technology industry in Russia, one of the main points of which was: the postponement of service in the military for IT staff. companies, and the companies themselves have received significant tax benefits so that it can rely on the various grants and preferential loans offered by the state.

The authorities envisioned the influx of Russian IT professionals and simplified the procedures for hiring foreign competitors in Russian IT companies, in the third package of support measures.

Russian banks are also making their contribution to trying to prevent IT workers from leaving the country. In March, Russian banks doubled the number of IT vacancies, and several government departments did the same.

Software Engineer Getty Images
Russian banks contribute to prevent IT staff from leaving the country (Getty Images)

Opposite dynamics

In addition, the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information and Communication Technology, Oleg Matveshev, described the talk of a mass brain brain crisis as a myth and believes that the current problem lies in the negative interpretation of data presented in the media, and emphasizes that despite the current conditions, it is possible to talk about positive dynamics in the information technology market.

On the other hand, experts believe that the measures the state tried to take to reduce the flow of “brains abroad” did not yield tangible results. C News reports that nearly a third of information security companies operating in Russia will leave the country in the near future, taking their employees with them.

Economic researcher Oleg Rusanov said that – long before the special operation in Ukraine and the sanctions that followed – it was clear that a crisis was brewing with IT staff in the country, adding that most specialists until then ready to leave the country or work. for a foreign company, Due to the unwillingness to endure the economic situation and strive to earn more to raise their standard of living.

He indicated – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that the question of whether Russian specialists want to leave their homeland is not worthwhile, as it is about when and how, due to the presence of severe restrictions on movement due to the sanctions.

According to him, the mass emigration of highly qualified and highly educated citizens of Russia could degenerate into a serious economic problem. In the long run, this could become the most serious dilemma in the country.

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