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If you think that India’s dominance in IT outsourcing services will never be challenged, think again. Romania is already one of the most important software producers in Eastern Europe and a top IT outsourcing service provider worldwide. According to Gartner, one of the leading names in information technology research, the IT market is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Romanian economy, with a turnover of about one billion Euros ($1.38 billion) and with growth rates of 40-60 percent per year. In terms of IT specialists, Romania is the leader in Europe, and ranks sixth in the world.
The key strength of Romanian outsourcing services lies in its skilled IT specialists, who work at a relatively low cost. Gartner estimates show that, in Romania, 134,000 people work in various technology-oriented jobs. The overall IT workforce numbers about 86,000, about 15,000 of which are high-quality professionals.
A key factor in Romania’s success in the outsourcing field is that a large percentage of the population is multilingual: service providers can easily find English, French, German and Italian speaking labour force. About 60% of Romanians employed in the IT industry have a sound knowledge of the English language.
Employers are particularly pleased with the work attitude and ethics of Romanian specialists: they usually say that Romanians are very committed to results, like to work hard and tend to be reliable with deadlines. Romanians are thought to be highly creative and easy to work with.
The population of Romania is an exciting mixture of diverse ethnic backgrounds. It has an Eastern Orthodox Christian majority but, as a result of the country’s historic ties with European culture, the cultural differences IT outsourcing companies face in Romania are much smaller compared to those found in China and India. Romania is an EU member state, therefore its political, legal and financial system is similar to that of other EU member states.
Another important factor is the high-quality technical education, which has a great tradition in Romania. Every year, about 8,000 university graduates are added to the IT labour pool and, in recent years, the number of programmers and system analysts has increased considerably. The technical universities of Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca, Bucureşti, Iaşi and Craiova have an excellent reputation in the field of IT studies. Some of these universities run high-tech research programs and there are opportunities for research sourcing.
In the last decade, a number of big names in the IT field, such as Emerson, Intel, Sun, Boeing, Nokia, Siemens, Microsoft, Alcatel and Motorola, have opened centres in Romania, outsourcing their research and development, software development or manufacturing facilities there. Today, in Romania, there are more than 1,000 IT companies, roughly 90% of which are foreign-owned.
The Romanian government actively supports the IT industry. The IT ministry is making concentrated efforts to accelerate the construction of an information society and to consolidate the national information infrastructure. There is a nationwide project with the aim of increasing computer literacy rates. To attract investments, the government is also promoting the construction of IT-oriented technology parks, where companies can access good infrastructure and enjoy a favourable tax and customs regime.
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