Eastern European countries are becoming more competitive every year in the world of offshore services. Nations like Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria are all competing for the business of international companies looking to save money by outsourcing work like IT, customer service, tech support, and more.
This article will be comparing two of the most popular European outsourcing countries specific to IT services: Ukraine and Bulgaria. This comparison will include details about each country’s:
- Time difference from the US
- English proficiency
- Overall IT market availability
You’ll find a few similarities between each location, but also some drastic differences that will have a major impact on how successful your projects will be. Let’s dive right in and see the differences between outsourcing in Ukraine vs. Bulgaria.
Be sure to read IT Outsourcing in Ukraine: The Definitive Guide 2018 by Ignite and World Leader: Bulgarian Outsourcing by Emerging Europe.
Both countries have strong educational programs, but Ukraine has a proven history of generating more graduates in technical fields. When comparing the numbers, it’s clear that Bulgaria doesn’t measure up to the standard set by its neighbor to the northeast.
With a population of nearly 44 million, Ukraine has the instant advantage of more people. On top of this, specialists in the IT industry are offered higher salaries than most other professions in the country. This opens the door for more students to pursue this career and achieve a quality education.
Over 30,000 students graduate with degrees relating to IT every year, adding to Ukraine’s ever-growing workforce in this field. More than half of the college graduates finish with technical or engineering degrees. These numbers continue to rise as more companies are using this country for their outsourcing needs.
Bulgaria has decent college programs and technical universities. But with only 7 million people in the country, their graduate numbers are dwarfed by the larger countries in Europe. About 4,000 undergraduate students enter IT programs every year and only half of them finish their education with a degree.
These numbers are rising each year due to the high demand for computer professionals. But it is unlikely it will ever be as competitive as Ukraine’s market.
One of the most important things business owners need to look at before outsourcing their IT tasks, is the time difference. Since both Ukraine and Bulgaria are in the same time zone, there’s no need to compare this statistic. But it’s still important to note the difference between their time and wherever you are located.
Companies in the US will experience a difference of 7-10 hours from either country, depending on where they are located. You’ll be able to send your outsourcing provider work at the end of your business day, allowing them to work on it while you sleep and have it completed by the time you get in the next morning. This becomes much more convenient than other countries like India who have a time difference of up to 13 hours.
If you are going to outsource your services to another country, communication can be a bit of a challenge at times. But if there is a language barrier on top of that, it can make the process feel nearly impossible. To help you decide between Ukraine and Bulgaria, let’s look at how common the English language is in these two countries.
English is becoming more common as a second or third language in Ukraine. It is still not as prevalent as Ukrainian and Russian, but outsourcing companies are setting it as a higher priority when hiring new staff members. The faster the industry grows, the greater the need for workers who can effectively communicate with US companies.
More than 40% of IT professionals speak fluent English as either their first or second language, with about 39% more being proficient enough to communicate with American business owners and employees.
One way Bulgaria does have the upper hand, compared to other eastern European countries, is their efficiency in the English language. Nearly 90% of schools in Bulgaria teach English as a second language, making it an almost universal alternative to their main dialect. On top of that, about half of all students learn a third foreign language as well, making them even more diverse.
Though their IT industry is smaller, you’ll have a slightly easier time finding an outsourcing company in Bulgaria who is fluent in English.
Saving money is one of the main reasons companies decide to outsource in the first place. A major deciding factor for what you will end up paying your outsourcing provider is dependent on what they pay their employees. IT providers in the US have an average salary of $115K, compared to eastern European countries which average only $28k per year.
These numbers are reflected in the price difference you will pay as a business owner. Ukraine and Bulgaria have similar pay structures, but there is still a noticeable difference in salaries and the rates each charges their clients.
With a lower cost of living, Ukraine is able to pass along those savings to their customers. With salaries in the IT industry ranging from $600-$3,300 per month, they make slightly less than Bulgarian professionals. But because they pay less for housing and other bills, they’re able to provide tremendous value with their outsourcing services.
Ukraine also carries one of the lowest tax rates in Europe for both businesses and individuals. Add this to all the other financial benefits and it becomes clear why they’re able to charge clients anywhere from $5-$10 less per hour for their work than Bulgaria outsourcing companies.
Though their cost of living and tax rates aren’t all that different, Bulgaria is paying their technical professionals more than other countries in eastern Europe. IT workers can be paid up to $300 more per month than those employed in Ukraine. This in turn leads them to bill their customers more per hour as well.
The more experience IT professionals have in this country, the more they tend to demand. Bulgarian outsourcing companies can charge as much as $70 per hour for their work.
A common phrase, first used by poet William Cowper, says that “variety is the spice of life.” Business professionals often prefer simple choices that don’t take too much time and resources away from them. But they also want to maintain quality in all aspects of their business.
There is a dramatic difference in the number of available IT professionals between these two countries.
With over 90,000 active professionals, Ukraine has the most concentrated number of IT workers in all of Europe. They rank 4th in the world in this category, behind USA, India, and Russia, which are all much larger countries. More graduates are joining the industry every year, giving business owners a tremendous amount of options when choosing a Ukraine outsourcing company who they can work with on their projects.
Bulgaria is a smaller country and it’s available IT professional numbers clearly show this. Just over 20,000 individuals are employed in the tech field, making it a much smaller pool of professionals to choose from for your needs. They do have a lower employee turnover rate than Ukraine, but it is unlikely that it’s substantial enough to have a significant impact on the overall customer experience.
Choosing Between Ukraine vs. Bulgaria
Working with either company will have its perks and its learning curves. They have a handful of similarities which make them both powerful options for outsourcing your IT services. Let’s review a few of the points discussed in each section:
- Ukraine has a higher number of students graduating with technical degrees.
- Both countries are in a convenient time zone for US outsourcing needs.
- Bulgaria leads the way with 90% of their students learning English as a second language. Ukraine is catching up to this as outsourcing becomes more common.
- Salaries between the two countries are similar, but Ukraine enjoys a lower cost of living, which allows them to charge less for their services.
- Ukraine has over 70,000 more IT professionals available to work with US companies.