Pakistan’s IT professionals a valuable resource for global firms

ISLAMABAD: As technology plays an increasingly significant role in the services sector, employment opportunities worldwide are no longer limited by the geographical boundaries. In this era of remote work culture, Pakistan’s labor market can offer digital services to global companies, said Omer Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Avanza Solutions Private Limited, a leading IT firm.

The demand for digitally literate labour in Pakistan by global firms is high due to the prevailing low wages, he said.

According to the Pakistan Economic Survey (PES), there are 5,109 registered IT and ITeS companies under the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), which represents the export sector.

The primary technology hubs in the IT and ITeS industry in Pakistan are Lahore, accounting for 36.4%, Karachi constituting 28%, and Islamabad/Rawalpindi making up 27% of the total companies registered with the PSEB.

He said global firms often implement cost-cutting measures by seeking cheaper labor in developing countries like Pakistan, where labor costs are significantly lower than in the developed countries with higher hourly wage rates.

Omer Ahmed explained that digital labor encompasses a wide range of skills and services. These include clerical and data entry, creative and multimedia, professional, sales and marketing support, software development and technology, and writing and translation services.

In this regard, the government should formulate a holistic strategy centred around enhancing the capabilities of both public and private sector organizations, alongside establishing suitable IT infrastructure and platforms.

The core elements of this strategy should be designed to realize the objective of developing IT Infrastructure, human capital development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, he suggested.

During the period from July through March of FY2022-23, the Pakistani freelancers made a significant contribution to the foreign exchange earnings of USD269.8 million. Of this total, USD156.9 million came from the IT sector, and USD112.9 million from the non-IT sectors.

Highlighting the role of software production for global firms, Omer said, “Software production represents another promising avenue for generating employment and boosting exports. Pakistan has a substantial talent pool of over 300,000 IT professionals, well-versed in a wide range of conventional and cutting-edge IT products and technologies, making them a valuable resource for global firms.” -INP