CNA IT Q3 2021 Salary Survey Insights: What Changed?

Volodymyr Bilyk
25 October 2021

The work on Salary Survey never stops at CNA International IT. After we’ve finished the Q1-Q2 iteration of the Survey, we’ve started gathering information for the next version. 

Now that Q3 is over, it would be a good idea to share some of the insights we’ve gathered over this period. 

If you want to know about Q3 2021 IT salary trends – contact us to order the full 2021 Salary Survey,

CNA IT Q3 Insights

Growing demand for IT Specialists

Salary growth

Q1-Q2 2021 was prominent for the all-time high demand for IT specialists. In contrast, Q3 shows the signs of slowing down. While July and early August mostly continued the Q1-Q2 dynamics, the latter part of Q3 (mainly September) showcased a slowdown pattern.

  • Because of that, it is fair to say that Q2-early Q3 2021 was the peak demand period for Ukrainian IT specialists. 
  • For instance, there is a significant demand for Front-end and Back-end, Node.JS, Python, React Native developers.
  • In addition to that, there is steady demand growth for all sorts of DevOps (including those with cybersecurity expertise).
  • With the changes to blockchain legislation, more companies are looking for tech talent with blockchain expertise.
  • The demand for quality assurance specialists (both Manual and Auto) remains steady. Consequently, such specialists have no trouble finding jobs.
  • On the other hand, there is a growing demand for business analysts, resulting in an overall increase in their salaries on all levels (approximately 10% growth).

If we look at the number of job postings on different platforms, the number continues to grow (approximately 10% growth from Q2 to Q3). However, it is important to note that the number of duplicate job postings increases due to numerous recruiters or recruitment agencies working on the same positions. 

Overall, we can see the following trends:

  • The competition for tech talent in the Ukrainian IT segment goes beyond salary growth and expands into benefits, stock options, bonuses, etc.
  • Due to a shortage of qualified specialists, the companies are eager to take on junior specialists and upskill them to the required level.
  • Furthermore, Ukrainian IT companies are actively providing learning courses for entry-level and junior specialists. 
  • At the same time, employee retention efforts become more focused with regular salary reviews and intricate counteroffers. 
  • Also, we can see the growing demand for market insights, consulting, and salary surveys to maintain competitiveness (more on that later). 
  • The number of opportunities on the market drives tech talent to change jobs more frequently. However, there is more pronounced motivation to find long-term stable employment.

To illustrate the demand for IT specialists, let’s look at DOU and Djinni job posting statistics.

DOU Q3 job posting statistics

  • July – 10186
  • August – 9959
  • September – 9823

Djinni Q3 job postings/applications statistics:

  • July – 11,93 / 3,35
  • August – 11,61 / 3,61
  • September – 14,4 / 4,01

In addition to that, Djinni implemented a passive job search feature on its platform. As of October 2021, the feature proved to be rather popular with the job seeker as there are over 10 thousand job seekers in the passive job search. It is important to point out the curiosity factor for the feature. Nevertheless, the popularity of the passive job search feature emphasizes one of the noticeable Q1-Q2 candidate trends.

Salary Growth

Salary growth

Salary growth was one of the most significant trends of Q1-Q2 2021. This trend continued into Q3. However, the contrast between the figures is less drastic. 

Here’s what our Q3 salary research shows:

  • 15% growth – Junior specialists;
  • 10% growth – Middle specialists;
  • 20% growth – Senior+ specialists. 

What’s interesting is the change in attitude towards increasing salaries. If previously, companies were more receptive to candidates’ salary demands and expectations and showcased a lot of flexibility during negotiations, the companies would instead pass on the candidate if his salary expectations are higher than their acceptable level (approximately 20% higher than projected position salary). 

There was also an interesting dynamics regarding salary decreases. There are instances when candidates consider job offers with lower salaries (for example, 20-30% lower than current salary) due to personal reasons like work-life balance or the project’s social mission.

Switching jobs and receiving retention counteroffers remains a potent way of getting drastic salary increases. 

  • For senior-level specialists and above – the increase may be up to 20-25%. However, a high-profile specialist can negotiate an increase of up to 40%.

As for C-level talent, retention efforts can result in a salary increase of up to 30-40%. At the same time, there was no significant increase in C-level salaries for Ukrainian product and outsourcing companies compared to Q1-Q2 2021. 

Change of Candidate Behavior and Expectations

Change of job search methods was a significant transformative trend of Q1-Q2 2021. Networking started to turn into a prevalent way of job search for high-profile candidates. During Q3, we’ve observed a substantial development of this trend. 

  • There is a general trend of IT specialists actively building up their profiles on Github\Gitlab, Reddit, and LinkedIn. 
  • In addition, on LinkedIn, tech talent is adding recruiters to their contacts “just in case” they’ll need to study the field upon deciding to change jobs.
  • At the same time, candidates are harder to contact due to constant attention from recruiters. Some candidates show clear signs of passiveness towards reacting to incoming offers. 

On the other hand, candidate expectations continued to transform during Q3 2021. 

  • Our 2020 survey shows that such factors as toxic culture, the work-life balance were prominent but not decisive for offer consideration. 
  • At the same time, during Q1-Q2 2021, actual decisive factors were salary, tech stack, interest in the project, career opportunities, and company appeal. 
  • However, during Q3 2021, we’ve noticed the growing trend of candidates willing to have a less demanding schedule to spend more time with family or personal projects. 
  • We’ve also recorded numerous instances of candidates passing on job opportunities during the probation period due to inconsistent work-life balance or early signs of team toxicity.  

Recruitment in Q1-Q2 2021

Recruitment in Q1-Q2 2021

One of the main takeaways for recruitment during Q1-Q2 2021 was that it became much more challenging than in pre-pandemic years. 

Here’s how things have changed during Q3 2021:

  • There is less reliance on surface-level recruitment tools. For example, during Q3, LinkedIn introduced new restrictions for contact accumulation and mass messaging. Because of that, recruiters need to rely more on gradually developing their networks and social presence for efficient candidate engagement and positive early impressions.
  • The recruitment agency cooperation with the companies is smoother. Companies showcase more flexibility in adapting their recruitment process to hire the relevant tech talent and avoid losing them due to technicalities or slow decision-making. 
  • In addition to that, to increase the recruitment process effectiveness, companies provide more clear vision for an Ideal Candidate Profile.

What’s interesting is that companies express more effort in looking for candidates that will become long-term employees. 

Companies pay more attention to factors outside expertise and experience, such as:

Q1-Q2 trend of IT specialists intentionally trying to get a raise via retention counteroffer had received a countermeasure. There are cases when companies provide such counteroffers only to buy time to find other candidates to fill the position and subsequently fire such retained employees. 

Growing demand for Market Research and Salary Surveys

The haphazard nature of 2020 and subsequent developments of Q1-Q2 2021 showed that there is no such thing as “enough” information. To understand the everchanging Ukrainian IT segment situation and maintain a competitive advantage, the companies need more than that.

The demand for up-to-date market research is steadily growing. The main points of interest are:

  • The market situation in general;
  • niche competition;
  • salary levels;
  • bonuses and employee benefits;
  • employee retention;
  • candidate expectations.

While working on our 2020 Salary Survey, we needed to explain why a company should rely less on open source salary data and buy custom salary surveys designed according to their needs.

However, the intense demand growth of Q1 2021 showed that open-source market insights are not enough to maintain a competitive edge.

Gradually, the need for custom market insights became more apparent. By the time we started working on our Q1-Q2 2021 salary survey – the companies were actively approaching us to provide relevant market insights regarding salaries, employee retention, and other competitive aspects.

  • The biggest takeaway from our past Salary Surveys is that there have to be more different surveys (general and niche-specific ) to provide better coverage of the Ukrainian IT segment. 
  • During Q2 and Q3 – we’ve seen such developments. Recruitment agencies like EvoTalents, DNA365, ValuesValue, and VP team conducted their salary surveys in respective niches. 

In conclusion

As of October 2021, it is clear that the talent demand and salary growth trends are slowing down. This situation will probably continue into Q4. It is reasonable to expect further 10% salary growth until the end of the year. 

Keeping up with the competition requires product and outsourcing companies to overhaul their presentation and employee retention methods. We expect more flexibility and openness for negotiation to attract tech talent.

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