Article written by Adelina Mihai, published in Ziarul Financiar. Traslation by Cristiana Grigoriu
The potential of available IT workforce is higher in Iași than in any other area and the real estate developers are willing to create office buildings in any space in record time, says Bogdan Piţigoi, 46 years old, one on the great entrepreneurs in Iași.
“In a period between 6 and 9 months, depending on the season, I can deliver on any surface a greenfield building class A. We have lands, authorizations, we can build,” says Bogdan Piţigoi, the entrepreneur who controls the Tester company group in Iași, specialized in the automotive, real estate and textile industries, a business that has a turnover of 33 million euros and 1.400 employees.
In 2011, Piţigoi inaugurated the business center Ideo and two years ago important industry names started coming in with big requests – either to enter the market, such as Oracle, or to further expand, such as Xerox. “We succeeded in raising up Ideo, a building with two stories, on a surface of 3.300 sqm in 3 months, working only by night, as a result of the building requests from Xerox and Gfk.”
“In Iași, the renting price is 10-12 euros per square meter, 20% less than in Bucharest, where the price is 15-17 euros per sq m, with the same facilities. I want to continue making office buildings for renting, in order to develop together with my clients and to satisfy the demands of the potential big players coming to Iași.”
Presently, Tester Group owns two parks of rented office buildings (IDEO and TESTER Technology Park), on a surface of about 30.000 sqm, out of a total stock of 150.000 square meters in Iaşi.
Together with Bogdan Piţigoi, the main names in the market are Iulian Dascălu, owner of Iulius Group, of 57.000 sqm and Gheorghe Iaciu, shareholder of the real estate developer Impact, with 12.000 sqm in Iaşi.
“The number of graduates in IT and related areas should rise”
The rise of the number of graduates in IT and related areas, updating the courses taught in schools, as well as the early selection of children with a way of thinking oriented towards this area are some of the “local” solutions that could take Romania closer to the goal of one million IT people.
“Iaşi is already considered a strong IT pole, but the potential of available workforce is greater here than in other areas.” The rise of employees in the IT field can be caused by a rise of the graduates number in all the fields that are related to IT, whether we are talking about them working in software development companies, outsourcing, call center or shared service center.
“Presently, in Iaşi there are yearly 1.100 graduates with an IT profile. If we succeed to raise this number to 2.500 per year and to grow the number of graduates in connected areas by 1.000, we succeed a significant rise in the IT employees number. A second lever could be «motivating» the professors so that the taught material is more up-to-date and more practical. These are the things that can be done locally,” added Piţigoi.
8.000 people work in IT in Iaşi
His opinion is that the fiscal facilities offered for the IT sector (exemption of the 16% tax for programmers and state aids to create new work places in IT) are good, but some measures also need to be taken for the development of the future workforce. Piţigoi considers that a selection of the children inclined towards the IT field has to be done starting in ground or middle school. They can continue to be instructed in this direction, as Romania has the chance to develop economically through IT.
“The new country brand of Romania has to be oriented towards IT. We have employees that speak in over 20 foreign languages, we have 5 cities in top 10 world cities regarding internet speed and, speaking of Iași, the airport is no longer a problem, because we already have 16 international flights,” said Piţigoi.
He specified that in Iași increasingly more higher value-added services are starting to be produced and the IT services with lower value-added are directed towards Galaţi or Bacău, as it is normal.
The number of employees in the IT&C field in the North-East of the country could reach 33.000 in 2030, compared to 8.000 in 2015, this being an optimistic scenario that could become reality on certain conditions: the average growth rate of the employee number to be 10% per year, the number of IT graduates to rise from 1.100 to 2.500 per year and IT graduates from Cernăuţi, Odesa, Bălţi and Chişinău to come to work here. These were the conclusions of a market research (“ITC 2030 North-East Region”) realized by the company Acces Project Investments for the ADI Euronest ICT cluster in 2015.
Published in the printed edition of “Ziarul Financiar” in 31.05.2016