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28 November 2018 by Basscom

More than half of Bulgarians abroad are considering returning

IT industry retains its attractiveness

Nearly 31% of Bulgarians living and working abroad would return back to their home country, another 21% hesitate. This shows a survey conducted by the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM) among more than 4,000 Bulgarians in over 70 countries. One third of respondents say their main motivation to return would be the opportunity for development.

"These results are extremely encouraging. We will launch a campaign to attract these people to the software industry, where we have a severe shortage of talents and the opportunities for development are many", commented Dobroslav Dimitrov, Chairman of BASSCOM Managing Board.

Over the last five years the Bulgarian software industry has been developing at an extremely fast pace. In 2017, the industry's growth is almost 20%. Operating revenues are worth 2.54 billion BGN, which is a double increase compared to 2012. This is indicated by the BASSCOM Barometer, an annual report on the development of the software sector in Bulgaria, which BASSCOM prepares annually. The report is based on data from a survey among member companies, as well as a software industry analysis in Bulgaria prepared by the independent consultancy company CBN - Pannoff, Stoytcheff & Co., commissioned by BASSCOM.

Currently, over 27,000 people are employed in the software sector, explained Georgi Zahariev, a member of  the BASSCOM Management Board. In 2017, the number of newcomers in the industry increased by 15% compare to the previous year. These figures do not include professionals working in other sectors such as the banking sector, telecommunications, etc. At the same time, every second software company plans to grow 25-50% next year, but the industry-wide forecast is only for 10% growth due to shortage of talents. Against this backdrop, nearly 60% of respondents said they would work in the Bulgarian IT industry, but only 20% had the required qualifications.

"In Bulgaria we have a well-developed ecosystem of universities and private educational initiatives, as well as programs of the companies themselves for qualification of specialists. The training is practically focused, so that talents with real skills are created. At the same time, the fact that new software products are being developed here in Bulgaria enables well-established specialists to work on projects with high added value and to occupy key positions", added Bistra Papazova, head of the "REturn" initiative.

According to the Barometer, every fifth person in the industry is not an IT specialist.
The BASSCOM survey shows that two-thirds of all respondents who would return have bachelor and master degrees. The largest number of people wanting to return to Bulgaria reside in England, Germany and the United States.