68% of IT companies in Pakistan are uncertain about retaining their current workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that number could jump to 89% over the next six months, according to an alarming report published by Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITeS (P@SHA).
The findings come as part of a report (linked below) published by P@SHA in which it polled over 200 companies with a collective workforce of over 34,000 people.
The IT industry is currently the 2nd largest exporter in Pakistan and had shown a remarkable growth of 24% over the last eight months. As with every industry though, the good times have come to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A significant portion of Pakistan’s IT services depends on BPO companies and Call Centers. With clients putting a pause on new projects, delaying payments foreseeing cash flow issues, and even canceling current contracts, the future looks grim for this segment in Pakistan.
While product-based companies won’t be as badly exposed as services ones, they’re still going to face delayed payments, reduced account sizes as well as unsubscriptions.
According to P@SHA, while exports will recover after the COVID-19 crisis is over, the biggest issue is the loss of talent.
IT talent is already notorious for requiring extensive onboarding and training before they can start contributing to projects. And with companies already being forced to cut salaries and conduct layoffs, the risk of losing talented people to brain drain could set back the IT industry by years.
“Pakistan’s IT industry will only sustain itself if companies are able to retain their employees,” concluded the report.