By Rostyslav Averchuk
Lviv, Ukraine, Dec 27 (EFE).- Ukraine’s IT sector continues to prove itself to be one of the most resilient sectors of the Ukrainian economy in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion although it has had to adapt to new challenges that make it harder to attract international clients.
Unlike Ukrainian agriculture, which has been badly hit by Russia’s Black Sea blockade as well as the physical destruction and looting of facilities, the IT industry, which was thriving before the war, continues to provide relatively stable and well-paying jobs to tens of thousands of Ukrainians.
Lidiya Dats, co-founder of TechMagic, a middle-sized firm with its main office in the Western city of Lviv and that serves clients in North America and Europe, tells Efe that her company has even managed to grow during the invasion despite the new hurdles.
It’s a long climb to the 15th floor of a newly-built office center where the company is located given that the elevators have been turned off to prevent employees and visitors from getting stuck in case of a sudden power outage.
“At least our employees can stay fit,” Lidiya says with a smile.
The Russian invasion has had the opposite effect of Covid-19 as workers flock to the office to make use of the generator-fueled energy and uninterrupted access to the Internet amid regular power cuts caused by Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
“We have also set up temporary offices in other Ukrainian cities where we have employees and subsidize the purchase of portable power stations by our employees to make sure they have internet and electricity at home,” adds Lidiya.
“Avoiding having to sack our employees is one of our priorities since we cannot let them lose their jobs amid the war,” she explains.
The company has succeeded in retaining its clients by ensuring that deadlines are met despite the many challenges brought by the war.
“Our people are extremely responsible and work despite the attacks, blackouts and everyday struggles to make sure they can work,” underlines Lidiya.
The Russian invasion scared off several potential clients from overseas.
To counter this, some companies are expanding their office presence abroad to compete for tenders. In such cases, the local workforce or the relocated Ukrainians work with IT specialists who remained in Ukraine.
The company’s employees are exhausted by the war, as everyone else in Ukraine, yet engage in a number of projects to help the country’s defense.
“We support five of our employees who are currently serving in the army. We have also helped purchase badly needed cars and drones for the frontline” says Lidiya.
The industry has been spared much of the shock suffered by other sectors thanks to the mobility of its young workforce, lack of dependence on fixed assets and its integration into the world markets.
Lviv‘s IT cluster reveals that the sector’s exports have risen by almost 10% to reach more than 6 billion euros in the first 10 months of 2022.
The countrywide power cuts have had an impact, however, with monthly exports falling by 7.4% in October compared to the previous month and by 16% year-on-year.
Lidiya confirms that it has become easier to fill in vacancies as some specialists have been made redundant. She is still confident that a new boom awaits the IT sector once the war is over and that it will experience the rates of growth that helped her company increase its staff from just five employees eight years ago to its current 290+ specialists.EFE