Pakistani IT professionals in high demand

Published: February 19, 2012
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In high demand, Pakistani IT professionals are growing significantly on oDesk, a Silicon valley-based online marketplace, in terms of both revenues and subscriptions to the platform.

In high demand, Pakistani IT professionals are growing significantly on oDesk, a Silicon valley-based online marketplace, in terms of both revenues and subscriptions to the platform.

KARACHI: 

From business process outsourcing to developing smartphone apps, Pakistani IT professionals are seem to be going after every opportunity, especially in the online job market, to bring home valuable foreign exchange.

In high demand, Pakistani IT professionals are growing significantly on oDesk, a Silicon valley-based online marketplace, in terms of both revenues and subscriptions to the platform.

“Pakistan is one of our largest contractor bases, and it is growing steadily,” CEO Gary Swart said in reply to queries through email. Contractors in Pakistan earned almost $1.5 million on oDesk in January 2012 alone, he said. “That figure is more than double the $700,000 they earned in January 2011, which is really an impressive growth!”

In January 2012, Swart said, more than 4,500 contractors from Pakistan signed up for oDesk, which enables businesses to hire, manage and pay a flexible online workforce, representing significant growth over previous months.

The top five categories of oDesk that work in Pakistan, according to the CEO, are web programming, web design, search engine optimisation, software development and mobile apps.

“In these five categories alone, contractors from Pakistan earned $796,000 in January 2012.” The number of Pakistani professionals that sign up for oDesk is growing steadily at a rate of 11% month over month, he added.

As seen from the top five job categories for Pakistani contractors, Swart said, there is certainly a large demand for their IT skills on the oDesk marketplace – which was the seventh fastest-growing company of Silicon Valley in 2011, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

oDesk, according to Swart, is world’s largest online marketplace – as measured by dollars earned by contractors each month – and has 1.6 million registered contractors where 120,000 new jobs are posted each month. Contractors earned more than $225 million on oDesk last year, he said.

IT services are definitely a sweet spot for the oDesk marketplace in general, Swart said. The top two job categories on oDesk overall – web development and software development – together make up more than half of the total earnings on the platform, and demand for IT skills continues to grow rapidly.

Pakistan’s IT industry, according to Pakistan Software Export Board, has seen steady growth over the last few years despite sluggish economic growth – thanks to the online job market.

IT and IT-enabled services exports stood between $560 million and $860 million last year, according to former managing director of PSEB Imran Zia. On a Y-o-Y basis, the IT sector has been growing at 15% to 20% for the last three years and the growth in 2011 was about 15%. The future outlook for Pakistani IT professionals looks promising as IT jobs are in high demand on oDesk, where subscription rate of Pakistani contractors is growing steadily.

“IT jobs are our most in-demand category – which means we have significantly more IT opportunities for contractors from all countries, Pakistan included,” Swart said. “So we believe that we have more Pakistani IT professionals than any other online work marketplace,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • KH
    Feb 19, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Great news…

    Recommend

  • Zalim singh
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:22AM

    how about down with USA, USA is Islamophobic, USA hates Pakistan comments now?

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:58AM

    We know we are the best ….Alhamdolillah

    Recommend

  • waseem
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:43PM

    @Pakistani: “We know we are the best ….” well this is our down fall one good news and you started saying we are the best, mate we got talent and potential no doubt, but the world have moved long away from us, we should not be complacent and feel happy with such news, we need to do lots of catchup, if you see our neighbor thy have many IT companies whose annual revenue is more then billion dollar, they are also like us but have achieved big things in IT with hard work and dedication and we could learn a lot from them….

    Recommend

  • Haris
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:40PM

    @waseem:
    Waseem lol the moment you started talking about ‘our neighbours’ we knew who you really were

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:56PM

    @ waseem….I am amongst those people who always believe that glass with half of water is not half empty…If something better is happening then we should praise it rather than starting negative debate ..i know there is always a room for improvement but what ever is improving at least we should cheer for that …personal point of view .

    Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Feb 19, 2012 - 4:13PM

    Hardwork and sincerity will always ripe results.
    Peshawary

    Recommend

  • Hamid Umair
    Feb 19, 2012 - 4:15PM

    @Waseem Our beloved neighbors have highest beggers all over the world. Highest no of slums are also present there. They are highest producers of poverty as well in terms of numbers all over the world. Donot forget their recent telecom scam where 122 licences have been cancelled. So please donot compare us with our neighbors :P

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  • AXZ
    Feb 19, 2012 - 6:33PM

    @Hamid Umair:
    beggars: we do have largest no of beggars, but as a nation we are not.what about you?
    also, we do not recieve any alms from saudi, uae, oman or other such petro-rich countries, we have to fend for ourselves.
    yes we have highest no of slums, and guess what we are determined to eliminate them, maybe it may take decades, but we are not going to reduce our efforts.
    the 122 license cancellations are corruption case. that means we punish our corrupt leaders. what about you?
    an almost suffocating pressure is being put on govt. to reveal the name of those involved in corruption, and we will suceed.
    what about you, because the other day i was reading a news that your minister flatly refused to write a letter to swiss govt.

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  • Optimist
    Feb 19, 2012 - 7:36PM

    Can everybody just leave India/Pakistan debate aside and appreciate our growth!
    .
    If I were editor of ET, I would delete irrelevant comments to discourage ‘kids’
    .
    This is OUR good news. Lets focus on how to increase our IT industry even further.

    Recommend

  • anish
    Feb 19, 2012 - 8:46PM

    @Hamid Umair:
    Listening this for too long.. where is Pakistan’s Infosys or TCS .. I am not naming even other indian companies and global companies like IBM’s business in India …. Unless pakistan has its own Infosys or TCS .. or for that matter if pakistani’s have opinion that these companies do some cheap work.. then where is pakistan’s Oracle or apple.. unless pakistan has that.. its going nowhere .. IT is about people… Unless pakistan do not have Nandan nilkeni or F.C kohli .. its nowhere ..

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  • Pakistani
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:43PM

    I am sure we will come into limelight very soon as this nation loves education and the nation that loves education and hard work can never go down .

    Recommend

  • Amir
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:44PM

    @Hamid Umair

    Typical misinformed jingoistic logic. The latest HDI (Human Development Index) by UNDP ranks India higher than Pakistan. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR2011EN_Table1.pdf

    The Indian minister responsible for the 2G scam is in jail now. Less than 5% of mobile users were affected by the cancelling of licenses and there will be fresh auction of licenses in a few days.

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  • mengal sana
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:50AM

    Balochistan would like help from India to help develop our IT skills.

    Recommend

  • S Qureshi
    Mar 16, 2012 - 12:07PM

    Imran Zia (PSEB) should talk to Paypal to allow Pakistanis to open an account.

    Also ask State Bank to force all major banks to make it easy to open a merchant account for online business. And strengthen the enforcement of laws against cyber crimes (so the user feel comfortable buying online).

    Recommend

  • Des Shillingford
    Mar 21, 2012 - 3:41PM

    Words of advice. I use both Pakistani Contractors and those of your neighbors. The overwhelming strength I find in Pakistani contractors is there straightforwardness. The say what they can do and they do what they say. Elsewhere I waste hours/days on contractors who just cannot bring themselves to say no or I cant do that or I don’t understand what you are asking me. Whatever you do, just remain frank and clear, then the business will roll in.

    Recommend

  • Naresh
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:30PM

    .
    Here is the previous Exports and Size of Pakistan I. T. Industry Report :
    .
    http://www.pseb.org.pk/industry-overview.html
    .
    Pakistan Software Export Board
    .
    Industry Overview
    .
    Pakistan is fast becoming the destination of choice for a significant number of international IT/ITeS companies looking to relocate their operations offshore. The ready availability of skilled professionals, an appropriate IT infrastructure, and affordable rates for connectivity result in considerable time and cost-savings for entrepreneurs.
    .
    Pakistan’s IT industry’s global share is estimated at US$2.8 billion, including global sales revenue of US$1.6 billion.
    .
    A skilled workforce of 110,000 English-speaking IT professionals in the economy, of which 24,000 are engaged in exports.
    .
    Nearly 1500 companies. Two are listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE), 2 on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) and 1 on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).
    .
    Nine STPs offering around 700,000 square feet of IT-enabled office space.
    .
    Seven multinational companies have ‘Development Centers’ in Pakistan.
    .
    110 ISO 9001, 23 CMMi and 11 ISO 27001 certified companies.
    .
    A strong telecom sector supports the IT industry’s development.

    Query : If the above is true then seemingly the Pakistan IT Exports have gone down considerably.
    .
    Could one of the esteemed interlocutors please explain the actual conditions of the Pakistan IT Industry as well as the Annual Exports.
    .
    Thanks in advance.
    .
    Cheers

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