Wooing big tech, lack of skills an issue

1228 views
5 mins read

Cyprus has joined forces with 16 other EU states for a series of initiatives to attract top technology talent from third countries as it courts more Big Tech and Fintech firms.

Invest Cyprus, the agency spearheading efforts to draw foreign investments said a US multinational with a large operational base in Lebanon is on its way.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Invest Cyprus deputy Director-General Marios Tanousis said a company active in the software creation sector would announce the move in the coming days.

Tanousis recalled that “Invest Cyprus launched a five-year action plan in 2019 focusing on Tech and Fintech companies and their executives”.

He said that companies relocating to the island reflect Cyprus’ growing status as a tech destination in Europe.

These companies include Eurisko Mobility, known for designing digital transformation strategies for businesses, Paris-based Murex, a leading European software producer in trading, treasury, risk, and post-trade operations for financial markets.

Other major international ICT firms in Cyprus include NCR, Amdocs, Wargaming, eToro, and 3CX.

“However, our dream of becoming a tech and fintech hub in the region is at risk due to the lack of top IT talent.

“It is no secret that we have been working on resolving this with incentives for IT employees promoted recently.”

Within this context, Invest Cyprus has teamed up with similar organisations from 16 other EU States to address the lack of talent observed worldwide.

The endeavour aims to strengthen the bloc’s technology sector and digitalisation process.

Tanousis said the working group would cover ever-growing demand from high-tech companies setting up shop in the EU.

The working group includes Business France, which are active members of the Board of Directors of ANIMA Investment Network, a platform for economic cooperation between Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“There is a common understanding that the lack of IT talent needs to be addressed if we do not want to fall off the digitalisation train.

“One of the most important aspects international technology companies take into account is the degree of ease in finding and relocating specialised personnel.”

Innovation and Digitisation deputy minister Kyriacos Kokkinos recently admitted to the shortage of 3,500 IT professionals.

He said comprehensive upskilling and reskilling programmes were needed to address the shortage.

He argued the education system needed reform, but above all, there was an urgent need to change the mentality regarding education.

Intense Competition

Tanousis explained that Cyprus created its own path to being a regional tech hub but benefits from joining forces with its EU counterparts.

“Competition between member countries is intense.

“Nevertheless, promoting the whole EU as the most suitable destination for technology companies is a priority.

“Working in unison betters the chances for all members to attract talent.”

Cyprus’ lack of IT talent and professionals are the biggest challenges the country faces on its path to digitalisation and becoming a high tech hub.

“Cyprus needs to find ways of supplying these companies with staff.

“That is where the recent understanding with fellow investment promotion agencies in the EU comes into play”.

The joint declaration signed by the EU organisations has the following objectives:

  • Share information and best practices on various European tech talent attraction schemes and visas, targeting international talent interested in working with European tech companies.
  • Launch a European Tech Talent service desk (or one-stop-shop) with a dedicated team in place by the end of 2022 to facilitate tech talent attraction to Europe, complementing national schemes.
  • This will be done in close cooperation with the European Start-up Nations Alliance (ESNA), which has identified tech talent as a key pillar in supporting start-ups at the European level.
  • For greater clarity and transparency, the service desk and its associated website will provide international talent with tailor-made advice on existing tech schemes in Member States and living in Europe (including visas, taxes, social security contributions and other practical details).