Which is the best country for IT outsourcing?

The aim of outsourcing is not necessarily to find the cheapest contractor, but the one that has the very best price to quality ratio. In any comparison, smaller geographical distances and less severe cultural barriers need to be taken into account. Asia may lead in terms of costs, but Europe has significant advantages in quality, reliability and compliance with data regulations and security.

In the field of IT, which country produces the most skilful computer programmers? Is it the home of Microsoft and Google, the USA, or perhaps the country with a burgeoning tech sector and a billion-plus population, India?

The answer, according to HackerRank (https://blog.hackerrank.com/which-country-would-win-in-the-programming-olympics/), is neither. HackerRank, a programmer recruitment portal that assesses developers based on their coding skills, published a league table based on over 1.5 million participating developers.

The top ranked countries in the most popular 3 HackerRank domains are:

Algorithms:

  1. Russia
  2. Poland
  3. China

Java:

  1. Poland
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Hungary

Data structures:

  1. China
  2. Taiwan
  3. Philippines

The overall rankings:

  1. China 100.0
  2. Russia 99.9
  3. Poland 98.0

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI)

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) (http://www.ioinformatics.org/index.shtml), an annual competitive programming competition for secondary school students, shows a similar picture to HackerRank.

IOI all time medal table

  1. China 115
  2. Poland 105
  3. Russia 104

ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest

And also, the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (https://icpc.baylor.edu/worldfinals/results), a premiere global programming competition conducted by the world’s universities and sponsored by IBM, 2017 results:

  1. Russia
  2. Poland
  3. South Korea

Prominent in these rankings is Poland. The country – the largest in central Europe – has a highly educated population and is an attractive investment destination. 

Politically and economically stable, Poland has more than 16 cities with over 200,000 inhabitants and was ranked at 24 in the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business study (http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings). Three of those cities feature in Tholons Services Globalization Index 2017 (http://www.tholons.com/TholonsTop100/pdf/Tholons%20Top%20100%20-%202017%20v.7.pdf): Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw. Overall, Poland is in 9th place, the highest ranking European country in the index. Warsaw, the capital, is also one of six cities in the world to host a Google campus, a hub for entrepreneurs from across Central and Eastern Europe.

Outsourcing decisions are based not only on the depth of available technical skills, but other skills such as the ability to communicate.

Countries best at English as a second language

Source: The English proficiency index. World Economic Forum 2016.

Over the last decade, Poland has consistently been one of the most attractive locations in Europe for foreign direct investors, ranked 5th in terms of number of planned projects in 2016 (http://www.ey.com/pl/pl/issues/business-environment/ey-attractiveness-survey-2017-poland#section4).  

Top 10 most attractive European countries for outsourcing

A.T. Kearney, the global management consultancy, releases an annual Global Services Location Index ranking the offshoring landscape across three categories. While Asia continues to dominate, for those favouring nearshoring the most attractive outsourcing countries in Europe were:

Source: A.T. Kearney 2016.

So which country is the king of IT outsourcing? Naturally, there is no simple answer; it depends on your project and the weight you give to factors such as cost and quality. Yet, companies vote with their feet and the number of enterprises moving significant parts of their operations to Poland is growing rapidly.

Source: Financial Times Research 2015.

 
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Written by
Simon Barrett

A native of London and a graduate in economics, Simon began his marketing and PR career in the music and film industries. Simon is fascinated by the compelling ideas that shape our future and communicates them with passion.

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