Finding it hard to locate top tech talent from a small local pool? Looking for a white-hot CTO? Krzysztof Parjaszewski, Polish developer and co-founder of SkyGate explains how to recruit top talent from Poland – and debunks some popular myths surrounding the process…
It’s no secret that Poland has a wide pool of technical talent and our developers prove their skills over and over and over again. No wonder global technological companies such as Google, Microsoft, Opera Software, Nokia Siemens Networks, Samsung or IBM all have offices with R&D departments there.
I get asked all the time when visiting Berlin how Polish developers can be recruited for German capital-based startups. Since I’m a developer myself and have been hiring developers for my projects for the last four years, I decided to weigh in and shed some more light on this topic.
Debunking some Polish developer myths
I need to start with bursting your bubble. If you hope that you can go to Poland and come back with a bag full of experienced developers that you’ll be able to pay peanuts, that’s not going to happen.
Yes, the wages in Poland are way lower than in Germany. Developers cost local companies as low as €15,000/year, but they’re not going to be experienced. If you’re looking for quality and experience, you’ll have to shell out at least €30,000/year. It’s still attractive compared to Berlin, where an experienced Ruby on Rails developer will ask for €60,000/year or more. You have to take into consideration that if you expect developers to move to Berlin, they will ask for the same salaries as other nationalities working here.
However, that might not be so easy either. Relatively few developers are willing to relocate for a longer period of time. Those who are ready to move, go to the USA or to really huge companies such as Google and Microsoft where they can make €80,000 and more, so the wage aspect is not the only thing taken into consideration.
Those more experienced are often in the moment in their life of forming a family, which is another factor making them less eager to move. If they will, it generates extra costs for the employer – a bigger apartment for a family, job for a spouse, flights back home etc.
What’s more, talented developers don’t like to work alone. They are eager for knowledge, and working with others allows them to make progress faster and learn from and with others, which is way more effective. The best environment for a developer seems a team of 20-30 people – that’s why the best developers are already working in software houses or big companies. That is also why convincing a single developer to work abroad is so difficult.
Why you want a Polish developer
After I have burst your bubble, I want to explain why you still should be planning to look for developers from Poland. The high level of education we have already covered, so let me focus on some less obvious aspects…
First of all, we come from the same culture circle. Polish developers will have the same work ethics and as their counterparts from Germany or France. Working with developers from India, Pakistan or China posses much more challenges, because there are some cultural barriers as well as language barriers.
Secondly, we are members of the EU, so there is no hassle with work permits, health insurance etc. Plus, Poles are used to freelance work and many of them already have their own companies and are well-versed in how to issue invoices for their work.
Finally, we also have a growing startup scene in Poland and developers are familiar with the concept and the work environment of a startup. Those who prefer to work for large companies are already doing that and the ones who are open for joining a startup know what that involves.
So what are your options?
After giving you an overview of the situation, here are your options for hiring Polish talent:
Hire and relocate developers
In order to do so, you will have to actively seek developers in Poland competing with many other international companies. The best way to get a competitive advantage? Network with the Polish community. You can check out events taking place in Poland or go to the Polish meetup in Berlin on Saturday.
Hire developers to work remotely
The advantage will be definitely the cost, since many people appreciate the possibility of working from home. But like with all other nationalities working from home, you will have face problems with somebody being apart from the rest of the team.
Fortunately enough, Poland is so close that you can combine remote work with regular visits to the office, especially in case of cities like Poznan or Szczecin which are only two hours away from Berlin. You have to be aware that it might not be a long-term viable solution, because people tend to lose engagement not working together with the rest of team.
Hire a remote team
Another solution might be hiring a whole team through a small software house [full disclosure – I run a small software house]. This gives you an advantage of having a team that is usually working together in one office, that contributes to better communication and you have a project manager that always speaks very good English.
The software house will put its margin on top of developers’ pay, but since they are being employed in Poland, the overall price will be similar to the pay of a developer working in Berlin.
In case you have any questions, let me know in the comments. I will be also be giving a presentation on this topic during Startup Safary Berlin and you can ask me more questions directly at the meetup with the Polish startup scene.