Pakistani IT professionals in high demand

Contractors earn $1.5m on a Silicon valley-based online marketplace in Jan.

Farooq Baloch February 18, 2012


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.


Naresh | 10 years ago | Reply

. Here is the previous Exports and Size of Pakistan I. T. Industry Report : . . 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

Des Shillingford | 11 years ago | Reply

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.

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