"I have been nothing but impressed by Serbia - a hidden gem to the business world."
As the world market for ICT continues to evolve towards outsourced software engineering, offshore systems design and integration, Serbia is well-placed both geographically and structurally to provide a cost-effective, reliable alternative to more established markets. An outstanding pool of intellectual capital, attractive labor costs, excellent skills, good communications networks and a high fluency in English are just some of the key competitive advantages that persuade international companies to expand their businesses to Serbia.
Engineering education in Serbia is particularly strong, with approximately 33% of university graduates coming from technical schools. ICT is taught at 35 high-education institutions, 16 of which state-owned, 6 private and 13 state-owned Vocational Higher Schools. These institutions are located in 18, which greatly helps recruiting a wide base of ICT students for two studying programs (Tertiary-type A and type B) and six studying sub-programs. Given today’s growing demand for ICT products and services, Serbian educational institutions are facing challenges, both accommodating booming interest among high-school graduates and supplying more experts to the market. Total number of new ICT enrollees in school year 2011/2012 was 5,523, of which 3,042 students begun their ICT education with Tertiary type A studying program (OAS) and the remaining 2,481 with tertiary type B (OSS). Serbian ICT sector absorbs a vast majority of ICT graduates, although “brain drain” is still an issue.
Shoulder to shoulder with food, production and automotive sector, ICT is becoming one of the pillars of the Serbian economy. A large number of Serbian ICT companies offer very strong technical skills that have attracted partnerships with international firms and won them a place in high-value market niches. Serbia ranks 40th on the list of biggest software exporters globally. In 2013 Serbia exported around €230 million in software services, which is a 30% increase compared to the year before and as much as 165% against 2008. Local market is worth additional €400 million.