Several weeks ago we looked into the Kraków start-up scene and today we are turning our eyes to the city’s largest software companies. There’s a reason for it: Kraków’s IT landscape appears to be dominated by the large players. The 13 biggest companies employ roughly 15 000 engineers in Kraków. A great majority of them are foreign businesses, with six being American companies.
Instead of going straight to the list, let’s first have a look at three ways of how the big companies influence the local talent pool.
Growth and demand
To say that the presence of the large players influences the job market significantly is not enough. In fact, it has created the IT job market in Kraków, in the first place. Back in the early 2000’s there weren’t really any large firms (except for Comarch) here and there was only a handful of foreign companies in Kraków. And then things started changing. The high demand for engineers motivated universities to open more C.S. courses (now there are over 20 of them in the city); it encouraged the engineers from other fields to try working as programmers, it helped persuade people from other Polish cities to come to Kraków, other businesses to open their offices here, etc.
Now, the demand is so significant, it seems any number of engineers can be hired by employers. Last time I checked there were over 700 IT job postings for IT engineers in Kraków at pracuj.pl (Polish job listing site), including for developers, testers, consultants etc. Just these 13 companies, having an average annual growth of a modest 5%, generate the demand for 750 engineers a year.
Large foreign companies come here because they can hire great engineers at competitive prices. Even if Polish developers are not as affordable as they used to be 10 years ago, the financial gain achieved with offshoring or nearshoring to Kraków is still significant. If you combine it with the low risk of setting up an office in the EU, it’s a bargain. By creating a software lab of 500 people here in Kraków, a company can save tens of millions of dollars per year in comparison to building a similar team back home. Also, there are places in the world where hiring an engineer has become next to impossible. This tells us that the big, foreign companies are here to stay and grow.
Big Brothers’ benefits and downsides
For many engineers, particularly the young ones, joining a large organization carries a number of advantages. But it is more than that. Ultimately the benefits and gains for individuals, convert to the capacity of the entire talent pool of the city. Large companies have the power to influence the skills and experience of large groups of specialists and they often offer options not available at smaller organizations such as:
- unique perspective of working for large international brands,
- valuable international exposure,
- ability to move horizontally within the organization to learn different areas of operations,
- opportunities for a temporary or even a permanent relocation abroad,
- focus on the employee’s growth and development in comparison to smaller organizations where budgets might be more tight and training less engraved in the organization’s DNA,
- learning how large, global business works from within,
- experiencing the culture of a global company.
This, however, works both ways. Certain disadvantages of working for big organizations can propagate and influence the city’s talent pool. No doubt, these weaknesses of large corporations are controversial, but we simply want to draw a more complete picture. Consider the following:
- rigidity of organizational processes and the role of hierarchy tends to impact individual creativity,
- often times employees have a very limited understanding of the bigger picture or anything that is outside their narrow field of focus,
- limited or no influence on the decisions made can trigger a passive attitude and some kind of a “learned helplessness” as a conviction that nothing can be changed,
- certain companies offshore primarily older software products that use outdated technologies,
- systematic, goal-based employee assessment can trigger risk aversion with employees committing only to the initiatives they are certain they will succeed in.
Okay, so without further ado, here are the top 13 companies in alphabetical order. The criteria for the list of the biggest was to have over 500 IT specialists employed in Kraków. If we missed a name, or got the data about the current size of the team wrong, please let us know in the comments, we’ll fix it.
ABB, with its new shiny building, expanded significantly in the last 3 years and now employs 1000 IT specialists in Kraków. ABB, a Swiss software provider, builds solutions primarily with .NET. The Kraków office was established in 1997.
Akamai Technologies, a US based network infrastructure provider now employs 500 people in its Kraków service center. Established in 2011, it primarily hires engineers with Java programming skills and a good command of Linux administration and networking.
Aptive (formerly Delphi) is one of the oldest foreign IT companies operating in Kraków. The Kraków office was established in 2000 and now employs around 1000 engineers.
Capgemini IT is the only French company on the list. Capgemini is really large in Kraków, but most of its crew of 3500 specialists work in non-IT roles, with close to 1000 IT positions. These are primarily non-development positions. Capgemini is a global professional services company and currently one of the biggest employers in Kraków.
Cisco Poland is a relative newcomer to the Krakow landscape as it opened the office in 2012. The company is well-known for its network infrastructure solutions and now employs 500 people in Kraków.
Comarch, sadly, is the only Polish company on the list. Established in 1993, it has grown to become one of the largest Polish software firms. Comarch employs over 3000 people in Kraków with at least 1500 of them in technical roles. It is known by some for its telco projects in exotic countries and Lufthansa napkins with its logo. Some say that in the early days of the company a new computer science law was coined within the walls of Comarch: “For any IT engineer, he or she can be replaced with a finite number of students.”
EPAM System came to Kraków in 2010 and employs over 600 engineers providing services to large corporations like UBS.
Ericsson, formerly functioning as the independent company Ericpol, recently acquired by Ericsson. This Swedish telco infrastructure manufacturer employs 1000 IT specialists in Kraków.
HCL IT, an Indian consulting company, was setup in Kraków in 2007 and initially focused primarily on help desk projects. Now with its 1300 employees it serves international customers in 20+ countries around the globe. It probably has the most international crew out of all the firms listed here.
Luxoft, with its 2000 employees, currently appears to be the largest software company in Kraków. Luxoft provides software services to financial institutions such as UBS. Luxoft is contributing to the increasing pool of IT experts in Kraków by relocating some of its engineers from Ukraine to Kraków.
Motorola Solutions Systems is yet another network infrastructure company that employs 1500 engineers which makes it the second largest foreign company after Luxoft. Established here in 1996, it was the first large multinational company to come to Kraków.
Nokia Networks, a Finish network infrastructure provider, employs 600 engineers in its Kraków location. The team here works on the real stuff, including embedded systems and network applications, generating demand for C/C++ programmers, Linux and networking specialists.
Sabre Polska, with its 1200 engineers was one of the first ones to set up its development center in Kraków. Since 2000 it has grown to become one of the largest Sabre offices in the world.
If you are looking for more information about setting up your presence in Poland, download our Kraków IT Market Report 2018.
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