During the COVID-19 pandemic, the information technology sector has thrived across the world. Following suit, Pakistan’s IT industry has also seen tremendous growth in its business. The industry is currently in an expansion mode, including aggressive hiring of professionals to meet the local and foreign demand.
The IT industry is rapidly expanding as the local companies received various projects from different markets, including the USA, UK, European Countries, due to the increasing automation in businesses in the wake of COVID-19.
Large and mid-sized companies providing IT and IT-enabled services are looking for professionals in the field of software and mobile app development, digital marketing, e-commerce, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
Pakistan’s IT industry needs thousands of workers in different fields to meet the demand of the export-based and local projects from a short-term to a medium-term basis, informed Chairman [email protected], Barkan Syed. The demand for additional human resources is likely to meet long-term projects in the future. However, it depends on various factors, including the performance of the IT companies and the government’s support to facilitate local companies.
As many as 5,000 experienced professionals in the advanced fields such as backend and front end programmers, cloud experts, mobile programmers, etc., could be accommodated immediately in the industry. Whereas more than 5,000 low skilled workers are needed in call centers and the BPO sector, he elaborated.
Recently, the leading service providers of BPO segments had accomplished projects for foreign clients, which were appreciated. Hence, a few long term projects were received by the Pakistan companies, for whom the hiring and training of the fresh people is underway at a handsome pace, he added.
He believed that companies working in sectors like travel have been badly impacted in the recent past. However, the resources from such companies could easily be accommodated in other companies that are growing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IT industry faced an uncertain period due to the lockdown in the country back in April 2020, fearing retrenchment of sources, including layoffs and pay-cuts. However, major companies and medium-sized software houses bounced back, tapping into the opportunities in local and foreign markets. These companies did not only succeed in securing big business projects but also streamlined their operations based on the work-from-home model to save their expenses.
IT Exports in Q-1
The inflows of IT exports remain optimistic as the first quarter of the current financial year 2020-21 (FY21) recorded the highest-ever quarterly exports remittances of $444.050 million, showing a staggering 40 percent growth on a year-on-year basis.
Listed IT companies also recorded a handsome growth in profitability during the same period. For instance, TRG Pakistan’s profit grew to Rs. 816 million in the first quarter of FY21 compared with the profit of Rs. 17.5 million recorded in the same period of last year.
System Limited recorded a profit of Rs. 1.56 billion in the first quarter of FY21 compared with the profit of Rs. 1.07 billion recorded in the similar period of last financial year, showing 46 percent year-on-year growth.
NetSol Technologies also bounced back with a profit of Rs. 127 million in the period mentioned, even though last year it reported a loss of Rs. 190 million in the first quarter of the financial year.
E-commerce Sector Flourishing at a Local Level
Along with the exports of the IT sector flourishing at a local level, the e-commerce industry is witnessing a staggering expansion in different segments of the retail business, including grocery, pharmacy, footwear, wardrobe, gadgets, and cosmetics.
Pakistan’s e-commerce market is estimated to have expanded to Rs. 234.6 billion in the financial year 2019-20 despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing a growth of 55.5 percent on a year-on-year basis, according to a report published by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) recently.
Pakistan’s e-commerce sector witnessed a staggering growth in the past few months owing to COVID-19 and its related lockdown, which restricted operations of many companies for several weeks, said Badar Khushnood, Member National E-commerce Council.
Major companies of the e-commerce sector recorded growth from 200 to 400 percent in sales during the last six months in tandem with the high growth of their services in major cities, he added.
There are various fields in the operations of e-commerce that make the successful case of the services, including the department of warehouse and inventory management, the technology arm, the payment solution, the digital market wing, and the logistic support.
In the past few months, scores of employment were generated in these fields by e-commerce companies, which is still going on mainly in urban areas, to meet the service demand of the large and emerging customers’ base, Badar further said.
Similar to various developed countries, the e-commerce segment retained its increasing pace in Pakistan, which is likely to continue its growth with the growing competition among the market players.