Technology companies need IT experts. The digitalisation of both the private and public sector is contingent on the availability of IT experts. Statistically, the number of IT employees is decreasing every year as compared to neighbouring countries. A few years ago, employees in this industry looked for another job in the domestic market. Now, they are working in companies all over the world.
However, Justyna Orłowska, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for GovTech and Head of the GovTech Centre, reminded the audience of the “Poland. Business Harbour” programme intended to help the IT industry. We have a shortage of up to 100 thousand specialists in the IT sector. Two years ago, together with the Ministry of Development and Technology, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, we announced the “Poland. Business Harbour” programme. The main objective of the programme is to relocate specialists from the East to Poland. Recently, the package has been extended to include job offers for IT experts from all over the world. The programme has already attracted as much as 55,000 employees, said J. Orłowska.
Polska potrzebuje programów, które zachęcą do inwestowania w infrastrukturę telekomunikacyjną i szeroko rozumianą cyfryzację.
However, there is a higher demand. Every IT company in the top 30 is facing team shortages. Some vacancies are difficult to fill. The specialists who have come to Poland represent other industries as well. There is still a shortage of qualified employees, concluded Tomasz Dreslerski, Key Account Director at Orange Polska.
One of the topics discussed by the experts was how the telecommunications sector is affected by the influx of refugees from Ukraine
It is estimated that digital transformation processes in Polish companies have accelerated by as much as five years due to the pandemic. The demand for additional workforce has grown enormously in recent years, reaching its peak over a short period. Fortunately, digitalisation is the key area of action for the European Commission in the coming years, right next to climate policy, said Jerzy Kwieciński, Vice President of Bank Pekao.
Investment as a remedy for the crisis
Orange Polska has spent approximately PLN 4 billion over the last five years investing in fibre optics. As a result, 6.5 million households have access to high-speed Internet. Infrastructural investments in both the mass market and the business market were extremely important during the pandemic crisis. They enabled services that had not been used before, such as remote working, telemedicine, or remote teaching. We observed an increased traffic on our network, up to 40% during the COVID-19 pandemic, explained Tomasz Dreslerski.
However, as he pointed out, despite the smooth operation of telecommunications services, the country still have a long way to go. Data on the development of the European Union economies show that Poland is developing twice as slowly as the EU average in terms of investment in infrastructure and digitalisation. The investment rate is one-third lower than in neighbouring countries. We cannot afford, as a country, a slowdown in investment. Otherwise, the economy will naturally be less competitive. Labour costs are getting higher so they will not be competitive anymore either. This is a challenge for business and government. There is a need for a strong incentive to attract private investors. We have to accept that billions spent on infrastructure mean a long rate of return. It takes many years for them to pay off, he explained.
Orange invests PLN 2 billion a year, which represents about 25% of the value of telecom investments, including the fibre optic infrastructure and all other competences and services that are related to building the digital world, i.e. Data Centre, Cloud, and cybersecurity services helping businesses to digitalise their processes.
5G technology should have already been implemented two years ago. We are lagging behind not only Western Europe, but also Romania and the Czech Republic, for example. Actually, we are ready to use 5G today. It has been robustly tested over the last few years. As a telecommunications sector, we would like to start to distribute the bands to various operators. However, we need a decision from the government and the regulator, said the representative of Orange Polska.
5G is a secure network with a very large bandwidth. We currently use 4G, a network that has limitations, and the number of devices using it is increasing rapidly. Many experts believe that the network might get overloaded in the face of a big, even exponential, growth of the number of devices using it.
Challenges due to the war in Ukraine
Another issue discussed was how the telecommunications sector is affected by the influx of refugees from Ukraine. The amount of data that was transferred between Poland and Ukraine increased 200fold due to a high migration. The number of text messages that were sent increased 40-fold on the eastern borders of the country. The network could obviously not sustain such overloads. To maintain communication continuity, Orange used mobile transmitters in the most sensitive locations. At refugee reception points, Wi-Fi networks have been set up to help people in their daily lives and enable them to keep in touch with their country.
The ongoing crisis in the energy market is a big challenge for business. Developing green energy sources can help deal with it. Companies are increasingly turning to renewable sources. Orange already uses two wind farms, built for the purposes of the operator, which supply 10% of the company’s energy consumption. Another facility is to be built by 2024. Together, the three farms will provide Orange with around 30% of its energy needs. By 2025, the company wants to cover at least 60% of its energy needs using renewable sources.
Jerzy Kwieciński referred to high electricity prices bringing about a number of changes. In his opinion, the cost of energy produced on wind or photovoltaic farms began to be competitive. Many entities are building their own energy sources. More investment in green energy will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, he emphasised.
Partner: Orange Polska