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#2 - JRL 7269
Brains return to Russia from the West
July 29, 2003

MOSCOW - It seems that the problem of brain drain, which concerned many government officials in connection with a massive flight of Russian IT workers to the West, ceased to exist, the Vedomosti newspaper reports.

According to a survey published by the Kelly Services recruitment agency last week, brains are now "flowing" in the opposite direction, back to Russia.

In the opinion of Kelly Services' analysts, many skilled IT workers return home after a long period of working abroad. This process, which started early last year, will not stop until 2005, at least, the newspaper reports.

The demand for ERP consultants and business analysts has risen by 20-30 percent in Russia over the past six months, and the demand for IT services jumped by 40 percent. The demand for consulting, programming and providing services has also increased.

According to Kelly Services, specialists return home for two reasons. First, they become more needed in connection with an overall economic recovery in Russia and the development of the IT sector. Salaries rise in this sector -- system administrators and chief technicians can earn as much as $2,000 - $2,500 a month, while consultants on installing large ERP systems can get up to $10,000 a month. Secondly, Russian programmers are losing jobs abroad because of a crisis in the US and Western European hi-tech industries. Whichever of the two factors is more important, the results will be positive for Russia, the Vedomosti concludes.

As recently as last year, many American and European hi-tech companies employed Russian workers eagerly, trying to cut their costs. In the West, top managers are very expensive, and in Russia, where the domestic economy was too weak for the development of the hi-tech industry, world class specialists could be hired for little money.

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