The information and communication technology industry is the fastest-growing sector of the Macedonian economy, and it plays an important role in the economy as a provider of jobs and generator of exports. Hardware is the largest segment (55 percent) of the ICT market in North Macedonia. ICT services are the second-largest segment (30 percent), and software comprises 15 percent of the ICT market.
With an annual growth rate between 2.5 and 8 percent over the last several years, the Information and Communication Technology sector in North Macedonia is a promising area for foreign companies. This growth is spurred by large investments by the government and telecommunications companies in IT, continued spending in the financial sector, a decrease in the price of IT equipment, and a decrease in VAT for the equipment.
The ICT sector in North Macedonia benefits from a skilled and cost-effective workforce with excellent English language skills, telecommunications infrastructure, and low corporate tax. ICT representatives expect the sector will continue to grow. Excellent supply of well-educated IT experts at among the lowest labor costs in the region. A software engineer with 1 to 2 years’ experience costs from €500 to €600 net per month. More than 1,300 Macedonian students graduated in computer science, software development, foreign languages and mathematics, while another 1,800 graduated in economics and business administration. The foreign language centers, ITC and math schools are more than 60 across the country.
Minimum average salary (EUR) – ICT industry
The average salary from different profiles in the ICT sector in North Macedonia is around 60% lower compared to Belgium, Switzerland and Netherlands, which makes this country competitive for providing the best cost effective solution and high quality service.
The industry is growing faster than the national economy and by 2022 it will become a major contributor to the national economy. In 2018, North Macedonia’s outsourcing industry contributed 2.1% to the country’s real GDP. The outsourcing industry employed 5,713 employees in 2018. By 2022, the number of employees in outsourcing is expected to exceed 15,000. Information technology sourcing (ITO) continued to boast the majority of the employment in the industry, accounting for 53.0% of the total employees in 2018.
One of the major competitive advantages of North Macedonia is the high level of language skills of its workforce. The share of the population aged 25-34 speaking at least one foreign language in North Macedonia is 40.0%, slightly higher than the EU-average of 38.7%.
Average net monthly salaries by ITO and BPO position in June 2019 (EUR)
Source: MASIT, Outsourcing report 2019
The Macedonian outsourcing industry is servicing customers in 37 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Most ITO and BPO companies in North Macedonia see the greatest potential as export destinations in Scandinavian countries, Central and Eastern Europe, followed by the current number one choice North America. ITO companies are the largest part of the startups in North Macedonia.
A number of international companies such as Seavus (Sweden), Netcetera (Switzerland), M Soft (France), 6PM (UK/Malta) are developing software in North Macedonia for the export market and others are providing customer support for multi-national IT companies.
The major trans-border companies in Southeast Europe present in North Macedonia are: S&T AG (Austria), Ness Technologies (Israel), Musala Soft AD (Bulgaria), Melon AD (Bulgaria), Matrix IT Ltd. (Israel), IN2 Group (Croatia), Endava Ltd. (UK), Dekra SE (Germany), Cisco Systems Inc. (USA), Asseco SA (Poland). A growing number of companies from neighboring countries are present on the Macedonian labour market in the outsourcing industry without having offices or subsidiaries, through hiring freelancers or remote employees in North Macedonia.