Davao software firms hit by high turnover

Subscribe Now December 17, 2010 at 08:39pm

Software developers in this city are struggling to find replacements for experienced staff who have quit for higher-paying jobs.

“Our software developers are more creative,” said Samuel R. Matunog, president of Segworks Technologies Corp., adding this was a trait that lures overseas employers into pirate senior software developers. One of the groups hit hard by the exodus are this city’s software companies -- numbering over two dozen small firms -- which have been experiencing high turnover in recent years.

Although the high turnover rate had been expected, Mr. Matunog admited to difficulty when eight of 10 in-house developers left.

Competition posed by large companies in Metro Manila and those overseas also add pressure, said Mr. Matunog, who is also president of Davao Software Industry, Inc.

Segworks by itself is successful with P9 million in annual deals.

The company is an advocate of free and open-source software in Mindanao after noticing problems in the application of commercial software products, including security, the need for expensive upgrades, and closed-source codes.

For instance, Segworks can modify an open-source code, which can be downloaded free from the Internet, to make it adaptable to government offices’ needs.

The challenge for the company is how to make the network flexible in handling multiple platforms and operating systems, reduce redundancy, avoid delays, harmonize interfaces, and facilitate upgrades.

Typically, a software company in Davao is staffed by 10 to 20 specialists.

The number does not even compare with a small IT firm, say, in India, that employs a hundred people, Mr. Matunog said.

While the pay of about P30,000 a month is adequate for a young man starting a family in terms of this city’s standard of living, developers can earn several times more overseas, Mr. Matunog said.

The lure of overseas employment has spawned a labor supply problem, with the number of skilled IT software developers in this city dwindling.

Online jobs offered by foreign employers that allow talented IT specialists to work at home and earn higher also pose a problem.

Earlier, Erriberto P. Barriga Jr., head of the Information and Communications Technology Association of Davao (ICT-Davao), said he had a hard time filling up the demand of a company from China that sought 50 gaming developers from this city.

He had gone to as far as General Santos in Central Mindanao and Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao but was unable to find even 10 people that would fit the requirements.

While information technology graduates are many, keeping up with current developments in this sector has been a problem for educators offering information and communications technology courses.

Thus, graduates turn out raw considering the level of skills the industry needs.

Mr. Barriga had said Mindanao’s universities and schools should take up the challenge of offering knowledge process outsourcing courses.

Moreover, they should be more specific on what they teach college students in line with new IT-based employment opportunities.

Last March, 42 universities in the Davao region produced 15,000 graduates with nearly the same courses and skill sets, he noted.

“The challenge of ICT-Davao is not only to focus on Davao City but to spread the message throughout Mindanao,” he said earlier.

The industry group is willing to work with university administrators and government regulatory bodies to develop relevant IT-based courses.

Source: bworldonline.com

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