“We had a body drain, not a brain drain.” What happened to the recruitment market after the return of IT specialists

Most IT specialists have already returned to Russia and do not plan to leave, Alexander Khachiyan, head of the AWG IT integrator and co-founder of SkillStaff, said in an interview with Gazeta.Ru. According to him, almost all specialists continued to work in domestic companies and from abroad. He also told why it is almost impossible for “junim” (newcomers) in Russia to find a job, how to behave at an interview in IT, and whether there are really many “freeloaders” among IT specialists.

Alexander Khachiyan is the founder and head of the IT integrator AWG, which specializes in digital transformation projects and omnichannel (providing convenient personalized access to the service) retail solutions. Now the company employs more than 270 specialists. In 2021, AWG topped the ranking of the best website developers in the Runet ranking. In 2021, he launched SkillStaff, a B2B marketplace for IT outstaffing (the service allows you to borrow an employee of an IT company for a short time). Today, there are more than six thousand specialists from 280 companies on the platform. In November 2022, a similar project was launched on foreign markets under the TalentNations brand.


—  Did the IT people who left the country in 2022 return to Russia ?

– The return is notable. If we take all those who went abroad in 2022 as 100%, then 15% still remain abroad, and 85% returned to Russia.

I look at our company, at the companies of our customers. Indeed, many have returned to Russia and no longer plan to leave.

– What is the reason for such an active return?

“I think there are three factors involved. First, the guys drank their lives in another country. As in a joke: “Don’t confuse a tourist trip with emigration.”

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Secondly, the most noticeable wave of returns to Russia was in February-March of this year. Just when six months have passed since September 2022.

In my opinion, most of the guys who lived abroad began to face the fact that they were losing their tax residency. Their personal income tax from 13% -15% went sharply to 30%. And employers were not going to compensate for this. And it was also a strong motivator.

Those guys who left Russian companies for international ones are much smaller compared to those who relocated to another country. And this is largely due to the fact that the level of wages in Russia is very competitive in the world market.

– In Russia, IT specialists have an average salary of 200 thousand rubles. per month, can reach up to 500 thousand rubles. I’m not talking about directors, not about the big leagues, but about engineers. The higher ones can be higher, up to 700 thousand rubles. But, as a rule, this is taking into account some annual bonuses.

And most importantly, what they have left after deducting taxes. In the international arena, not even talking about cheap countries, but, conditionally, the United Arab Emirates , Europe – there is the maximum that they can offer – this is something close to this price, but before taxes. And the cost of living is even higher than in  Moscow .

— Did you communicate with those who got jobs in international companies?

– I had a lot of trips abroad, where I met with our relocated guys. Some quit and found work abroad, but it was a long process. And they have long had connections and contacts in international companies. Moreover, no one moved with an increase in income. Nobody.

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Why then did people leave Russia?

– It is beneficial for them in terms of new tasks. Because it is one thing when you develop something within the framework of one country, and another thing when you develop within the framework of the world. It’s interesting, it’s ambition, but financially they still have enough. But this is not suitable for everyone.

One of my comrades told me that he likes to work in a Russian company, and the family is already used to life in the southern countries. He has three children.

He told me that he lives like a king in both  Turkey and  Armenia , while his wife no longer wants to return to Russia for the winter. So there is another motivation. No politics, just personal comfort.

What to do “junam”

– Recently I talked with a man who himself learned to be an IT specialist without courses and was able to find a job only in  Kazakhstan . Is it really more difficult for Junes to find a job in Russia now?

– It wasn’t june. It was a retrained specialist from a completely different industry. He skipped the five-year process of studying at the Technological University and wanted to become a “joon” right away. This is a slightly different cast.

Graduates of top technical universities such as MEPhI , Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Bauman Moscow State Technical University , Moscow State University , MAI are engineers with a fundamental education. But even after graduating from these institutes, they are not yet “juniors”, but trainees.

“Jun” is a person with six months to one and a half years of experience in commercial participation in projects.

This is when the work process is built, the ability to work in a team, joint participation in tasks, planning, implementation, and so on. After this period of time, this is “jun”.