Poland and Ukraine have always bonded to enhance mutual business prospects. Needless to say, the Polish-Ukrainian Forum, that took place in Rzeszow on November 18, 2015 attracted a lot of attention from among IT companies in both countries. Although 500 people registered for the conference, only 250 were subsequently invited. The speakers were carefully selected, yet, they were mainly Polish. Only Sergiy Sumnikov and Dmytro Ovcharenko represented Ukraine.
The speakers attempted to tackle the development of IT business in Poland, especially in Rzeszow. As for the IT industry is concerned, the city is facing a shortage of specialists because their young talents are moving to bigger cities, like Krakow, Wroclaw, Katowice or Warsaw, tempted by better prospects and higher earnings. It makes local companies look for alternative ways of filling their vacancies. Hoping to gain an approval of Ukrainian companies, Rzeszow authorities organized the forum to assess their chances.
At the conference, the benefits of Rzeszow were emphasized– its economic potential, recent investment projects, the standard of living and the perspectives. Rzeszow is investing heavily in its infrastructure and education, over 40 million PLN annually. Unsurprisingly, the city boasts a large number of students. Nevertheless, local companies are keen to employ Ukrainian engineers.
According to Edyta Janas and Paweł Kopec, several reasons account for that. Firstly, the salaries do not differ greatly. Secondly, a significant minority of Ukrainians, over 40%, speak Polish relatively well. Thirdly, there is a cultural affinity, which contributes to successful cooperation. Last but not least, it is simple to receive a work permit. On the flip side, relocation is often hindered by a long queue for a work visa. It can take up to two months to wait for an appointment at a visa centre. Furthermore, there are so called intermediaries that offer visa assistance at a certain fee, which corrupts the whole process.
Adam Jamiol and Piotr Jarosz compared the development of the IT industry in Rzeszow and Lviv and outlined the major problems. Lviv needs to root out bureaucracy and corruption and develop infrastructure. Rzeszow should reduce migration of their specialists and make the city more popular.
Overall, it was a valuable experience and a good opportunity for networking. Has it produced conclusive results? Apparently, it was meant to raise awareness to the existing problems and provide some solutions. Only time will tell if it was successful in that respect.