24 May 2023

Keeping Local Talent, Local

Kyrgyzstan, like many other smaller countries depends on savvy IT experts to modernise and boost its economy, but the digital workforce needs training and retaining. Which can be a challenge.

Part of our problem is that traditional families with a post-Soviet-era mentality still choose “stable” professions for their children, such as law or teaching, rather than IT.  Another is that children from poorer families often pursue no higher education and instead work as labourers or in unskilled industries.

As a result, our country now has a lack of IT and cybersecurity specialists - and those that do choose a career in technology often leave Kyrgyzstan for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.

When I watch the labour migration of Kyrgyz’s people to neighbouring countries, I sometimes doubt if the investment in IT skills can ever succeed when the talent today migrates so easily. But it is a fight worth having and winning.

Education = Talent Retention

Looking at other smaller countries that have suffered IT talent migration, I believe that the answer lies in education.  By creating a critical mass of IT professionals, we can build a digital community in Kyrgyzstan that will itself encourage talent retention.  My company, Beeline Kyrgyzstan, shares this belief and we try to lead the way by promoting IT education and acting as an ‘employer hub’ in the region to nurture digital skills. This obviously helps our company but also sets example to other corporations who too become more nurturing to its digital workforce.

We feel that we have a commitment to the Kyrgyzstan nation, and as part of it Beeline is offering opportunities for young people to learn and grow within the company.  We offer in-house courses to employees on key topics such as IT, cybersecurity, metaverse, NFT, and more. Beeline opens access to one-to-one courses where experts advise students on future IT-related professions and building a meaningful career.

These initiatives by Beeline Kyrgyzstan are already having a significant impact on the retention of IT talent in the country.  Approximately 3,000 young people having participated in Beeline’s programmes to date, with many of them now working for the company itself.  The IT courses not only provide education and employment opportunities for young talent, but also encourage them to stay in the region and build a career and their lives in Kyrgyzstan.

Opening a Line of Communication

While education is one part of the solution to the IT retention challenge, another is infrastructure. Beeline Kyrgyzstan has been at the forefront of bringing essential 4G to the country and enabling internet access even to remote areas.  Today, over 90% of the population of Kyrgyzstan has access to 4G and the numbers grow every quarter.

As well as access to the internet, Beeline is opening places to learn and exchange such as a new co-working centre in the north of the country. We want to create a space for entrepreneurs and freelancers to work together, collaborate, share ideas and make young people in Kyrgyzstan more competitive on the world market. We hope they young will then be motivated to stay part of the community rather than leave.

Who knows, maybe soon we will see Kyrgyzstan become an attractive prospect for those outside of the region looking for a dynamic career.

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