Country is picking up business formerly placed with Russian firms, says IT Ukraine Association director Konstantin Vasyuk
Ukraine remains open for business despite the war, said Konstantin Vasyuk, executive director at the IT Ukraine Association, during a press briefing today, organised by CIO WaterCooler.
Speaking over Zoom from an undisclosed location in the western part of the country, with his children taking online school lessons close by, Vasyuk sought to assuage concerns of the many businesses who have placed work with the country's burgeoning tech sector in recent years, and to encourage others to support the industry in its time of need.
The IT Ukraine Association represents 100 tech companies which between them employ 75,000 IT professionals. The vast majority of this workforce has continued working throughout the war, Vasyuk said, although some have had to relocate to safer areas. The exceptions are mostly those parts in the east of the country which are under Russian control and/or subject to sanctions.
The IT sector is "very resilient" he insisted, with the country's turbulent history forcing it to be adaptable. A recent survey by the Association found that 85 per cent of these firms have continued to deliver projects without delays, and Vasyuk said the both the internet and banking system remains fully operational.
At the start of the war, some IT workers with military experience took up arms and others joined the defensive cyber effort. Some of those that continued to work relocated to safer areas, but Vasyuk insisted that the situation had now stabilised, and that increased collaboration within the sector as well as support from outside the country has allowed initial obstacles to be overcome.
Internet connectivity via fibre optics has proved reliable in most places, he added, and reserved channels via Elon Musk's Starlink satellites are also available now.
Vasyuk claimed that Ukrainian IT firms have actually picked up some international contracts that were formerly placed with Russia, thanks to sanctions and the reported exodus of IT talent from that country.
"As the customers cancel contracts with Russian companies, the deficit on the global market for IT specialist remains, and there are American companies who are asking us to provide recommendations for providers of the services which they cancelled, and that's good news," he said.
Acknowledging that doing business with companies in Ukraine inevitably carries some risk, Vasyuk urged existing customers not to cancel, and for others to consider Ukrainian developers as an option. There have been minimal interruptions so far, he said, and where there have been delays customers have been understanding.
"We want foreigners to know that even though Ukraine is going through difficult times, that doesn't mean that Ukrainians should just sit it out. We have families to feed, the country to protect and the economy to rebuild. We are working to support our motherland and its citizens. Everything will be okay."
The IT Ukraine Association is contactable via its LinkedIn page.