Labour Minister Peter Magvaši expects big things from the IT market.
photo: Alexander Šúry
"A trend is developing in the fields of Information Technology and telecommunications," said Martin Novotný, managing partner of HR consulting agency Jenewein International in Bratislava. "In terms of human resources, the two fields will definitely create a better job market, because nowadays these areas are very important."
Novotný explained that Slovakia, and the eastern European region in general, was still catching up with the West in terms of IT and telecom technology. "This is a classical development," he said, adding that the boom was fast approaching.
Labour Minister Peter Magvaši, who is currently battling a national unemployment rate exceeding 17.6%, agreed that the IT and telecom sectors offer hope for future employment.
"Professions for people in the 'info-tech' areas offer the biggest prospects for absorbing people in the field of services," Magvaši told The Slovak Spectator. "There is a real chance for people to find jobs in these areas, and it is related to the potential entry of modern, globalised, international companies to Slovakia."
The government has already launched one programme, known as Project Infovek, to train school-age Slovak children how to use the Internet, as well as to familiarise them with IT technologies. Headed by Parliamentary Speaker Jozef Migaš, the project has won promises of sponsorship from PHARE and many international companies working in Slovakia. Its overall goal is to ensure that the nation does not get left behind in the expected regional IT boom.
"What will unqualified workforces do [in the EU of the future]?" asked Peter Sýkora, co-creator of the project. "Project Infovek will prepare a new generation for a united Europe."
According to Christian Nitsche, president of the human resources network Association for International Management Search, almost three-quarters of all future new jobs in Slovakia will be generated by the telecom and IT fields over the next ten years. "This is a very big investment area for IT and telecom technical equipment," he said. "Eastern European countries have to enter the markets because they represent big, big opportunities and excellent ways to make money."
Other analysts agreed that the IT and telecom fields represent hope for the citizens of economically troubled Slovakia, as they offer relatively well-paid positions.
"These jobs are in the high end of the salary range, comparable to the banking sector," said Juraj Vrabko, senior consultant for H. Neumann International ,. "And in the last ten years, we've experienced very fast growth in these areas. It opens up jobs such as analysts, programmers, team managers, software specialists and directors."