“Reverse” relocants: Russia aims to repatriate programmers who fled the nation

 A plan has been devised to retain and recruit Russian IT specialists.

n Russia, the problem of the exodus of IT experts is growing more and more significant, which might negatively influence the economic security of the country. A way out of this problem might be the introduction of programs to help “reverse” relocants. This concept is offered in the essay “Human capital in the IT industry, economic security and technological sovereignty,” which was examined by Izvestia .

The writers stress out the necessity to give help to people who returned to their homeland in terms of employment and adaptability. The recommended solutions include: aid in obtaining a job, psychological support, provision of temporary accommodation and material benefits.

According to the press department of the All-Russia Research Institute of Labor, in 2023 there will be a significant need for IT professionals. Thus, throughout the period from January to August, 120 thousand vacancies were publicized (approximately 15 thousand monthly). Employers notably respect professionals with six years of experience, paying them wages from 150 thousand rubles throughout the nation and up to 200 thousand rubles in Moscow. At the same time, the need for beginning IT professionals is generally met in the market.

In addition to the repatriation of professionals, the authors of the report believe the issue of luring skilled employees from overseas to be vital. In their opinion, initiatives should be designed for immigrants to enable their speedy adaptation to Russia and the possibility to work in the IT area.

Among other attempts to urge the return of programmers who departed, the article indicates:

  • creating favorable conditions for working in the IT field, improving infrastructure;
  • development of the industry by supporting start-ups and investing in innovative projects;
  • improving working conditions in companies at the corporate level, including increasing salaries and providing benefits.

The article also gives a graph showing the percentage of IT professionals in the total number of employees in various nations. In 2021 in Russia, this proportion was only 2.4%, which places the country among outsiders, and the outflow of programmers has compounded the situation.

According to analysts, there are a variety of variables that contribute to the enormous exodus of professionals. Firstly, labor mobility in general is inherent in the IT business due to the possibility to work remotely. Secondly, against the backdrop of a dearth of manpower, many international corporations and nations are aggressively attracting Russian programmers. Let's add to this international sanctions, which promote the flight of intellectual capital from Russia. At the same time, corporations exiting the Russian market are seeking to retain valued workers by building offices in adjacent countries and funding relocation. Thirdly, before 2022, Russia lacked adequate methods to retain and recruit IT experts. Just last year, perks were granted, including a mortgage on special conditions and a deferral from the army for IT professionals. Companies were provided a range of tax incentives: zero rate on earnings, removal of VAT for developers, reduced insurance costs and eradication of inspections until 2024. An essential factor is also that the bulk of migrants are young professionals, who make up more than 50% of the IT industry.

Experts highlight that the preferences granted might drive professionals to return to their birthplace. However, in their judgment, many quit not because of working conditions, but because of the dangers linked with punishment. Despite leaving, many continue to work for Russian corporations.

Another expert says that the market should be equitable for everyone, and relocants should not be granted special benefits at the expense of the state. Based on current projections, even if all the professionals who left return, there will still be a lack of employees in IT.