Croatian Computer Scientists in Short Supply, Students Being Hired

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the situation with both the Croatian economy and the demographic picture isn’t news to anyone who doesn’t live under a rock, but this is especially evident when it comes to Croatian computer scientists. Companies can’t find enough of them and are simply offering employment positions to high school students to try to bridge the gap. They’re promising them additional education and an opportunity for professional advancement.

If any part of the domestic economy has managed to resist the pandemic-induced pressures which began in 2020, then it’s the blossoming Croatian information technology sector. Quite on the contrary to the vast majority of other sectors, they even managed to grow and hire new staff throughout the pandemic. Last year alone, Ericsson Nikola Tesla employed about 200 people, this year, as of September the 1st 347 professionals were hired. While that’s excellent, the original plan was even more ambitious.

“We wanted 600 people, we didn’t succeed, the plan is 500 new experts by the end of the year,” said Gordana Kovacevic, president of Croatia’s largest ICT company, Ericsson Nikola Tesla.

“It’s an extremely slow process for us, so we’re offering for students to come and join our teams, educate them further, and establish excellent relationships with the colleges, because the speed of change that is happening is incredible,” stated Kovacevic.

The demand is also quite amazing. Tesla is currently looking for about 500 people a year, and the total potential of the Croatian market isn’t quite up to par. Zeljko Krizmanic, the coordinator of Bird Incubator, also commented on the topic:

“Companies have been recruiting for some time now, and not only those people who are leaving college, but also those who are still in college, in their third or fourth year,” he explained.

“It ‘ also very interesting for young people to try to start their own companies because there have been a lot of successful examples lately, such as Nanobit, Infinum, Rimac, companies that didn’t even exist 12 years ago and are now valued at over a billion dollars, so the startup culture is growing a lot. I know of several startups in the Bird incubator looking for experts, and it’s proving difficult to find them,” added Krizmanic.

Kovacevic, on the other hand, says that the state should adapt school programmes to new technologies and the industries of the future, otherwise the most capable will be the constant target of foreign bounty hunters.

“In fact, the whole of Europe has a shortage of experts with ICT skills, unless something completely different happens, in terms of training, creating new knowledge and retraining, they will forcibly take experts from each other,” he warned. It is imperative to promote STEM since primary schools and to provide scholarships to local talent as of high school age, believes Kovacevic.

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