#hruMinsk: One Good Reason to Return to Belarus

Whilst still perceived as the last frontier of the soviet era by mistake, Belarus has become one of the main IT hubs of the world. The country is doing its best to attract top international IT specialists, intensively educate their youth in IT, and offer tax exemptions for hi-tech companies. This strategy has led to Belarus becoming the home country of globally recognized brands in software engineering and gaming such as Wargaming, EPAM, Apalon and many more. HR professionals from the IT industry also demonstrate a surprising level of maturity, in terms of their adoption, and application, of global HR practices and technologies.

After running a very well attended and intense event in Minsk, #HRU is happy to share some of the key findings from #hruMinsk:

  • 80% of the HR professionals in the audience were from the IT industry. Considering the international presence, and exposure, of Belarusian IT companies, it is no surprise that this industry is the most developed and up-to-date in HR;
  • In-house HR managers and recruitment officers made up 80% of the crowd. Recruitment agencies and HR consulting companies are under-represented in the country (nobody could name more than 4-5 companies). At the same time industry professionals claim to have no demand for them;
  • LinkedIn penetration is relatively high, and for most recruiters, it is the key tool for sourcing. In general, high penetration of social networks was confirmed by participants: most people use LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram (while Twitter is still often neglected – similar to Russia and CIS). Niche networks like StackOverflow and GitHub are also increasingly popular among local IT people. Interestingly, roughly 50% of recruiters claim to use Facebook Graph Search for recruitment;
  • Referrals are a popular source of hire (some of the companies claimed to have 50%+ of hires via referrals). HR managers put a lot of effort into developing effective referral programs and see a great return on investment from implementing them;
  • IT companies are familiar with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), only two people of eighty raised their hands, answering the question: “Who uses Excel to store candidate data?” However most of the systems that recruiters use, are developed in-house, which is typical for IT companies, and offer limited functionality such as no social integration, data parsing, etc. Many companies use Jira for recruitment and HR project management purposes;
  • Apart from a very few global companies, most local players lack potential business scale, so see no positive effect from technology adoption or outsourcing and thus are not considering increasing investment in HR tech;
  • For those companies who have the potential to scale, overseas recruitment becomes a big issue and so they are actively experimenting with new tools and ways to make it easier;
  • 90% of HR professionals in the audience were female!
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Overall, the Belarusian market is really interesting and progressive, primarily due to the large amount of IT companies fishing in the same, fairly small, pool of talent. Consequently, they all have to compete on the use of HR tools, employer branding and Silicon Valley-style perks. At the same time other industries in the Belarusian economy still lack highly educated, well- trained professionals, and are facing serious problems in getting the talent they need from the market. Low levels of trust in recruitment companies makes the situation even more complicated, taking away the opportunity for companies to outsource this pain, to 3rd party professionals.

PS. Here is another summary from the event by : http://italabre.blogspot.com/2014/11/global-hru.html

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