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/ Life @ IT Engine
by Milica Veljković

The potential of the IT industry for equal employment opportunities

It is clear that in Serbia, as in all around the world, the expansion of the IT sector has been going on for years. Young people are guided and profiled quite early, in order to find themselves on the labor market and be able to apply for exactly these jobs, the popularity of which is not waning.


As we state in the title "equal employment opportunities" and with this we want to refer to people with disabilities and generally to the problem of employment of members of sensitive groups, but also how the IT industry can make a step forward in this field. At the very beginning, we take into account a wide range of jobs starting from developers, through QA to project managers and beyond - and all these positions can be performed by anyone who has acquired the necessary education and professional orientation, regardless of whether they have some kind of disability. We understand, of course, that there are different types of disability and we also keep that in mind.


Taking everything into consideration, we must also touch on education as an essential prerequisite, which brings with it a number of obstacles. Speaking specifically about people with disabilities, there is a very small percentage of those who have higher education, but research shows that at the same time, the percentage of those who opt for some additional training, courses and general work training and education is growing. Here, we see the biggest problem in the lack of psycho-social support from educational institutions, which are often physically inaccessible, which is another in a series of problems when it comes to people with disabilities. A systemic solution is something that is necessary in this case, so that young people with disabilities realise their right to education and, with the necessary support, persevere on their path.

And then, hypothetically, we come to the next step, which is employment. Now we are talking about ideal conditions, so there is a young person with disability, who has wanted to be professionally oriented and educated for one of the positions in the IT industry, has obtained a diploma and is ready to enter the labor market, where they will be side by side with all other candidates, without disabilities. Then we will return to reality for a moment, in order to point out new obstacles that this young person could face, from the aspect of accessibility - again we can encounter different barriers, physical, communicative social - depending on the type of disability. This also includes certain prejudices of employers, regarding people with disabilities, and everything related to insufficient knowledge of abilities and possibilities, as well as the fear that these people might not be as productive as people without disabilities, which can be solved simply by getting to know each other and mutual education.


Finally, we can cite our company as an example of good practice when it comes to employing people with disabilities. At the moment, there are two young people with physical disability in our team, both of whom are wheelchair users. During the interviews we tried to get to know each other as well as possible and talk to them about the necessary conditions for work, which required certain reasonable adjustments on our part and providing the necessary equipment. These measures also refer to the adaptation of space, and the possibility to work from home, which of course all our employees have. In addition, we were in constant communication with the National Employment Service, where we were able to receive all the necessary guidelines regarding the process of employment of persons with disabilities.

We truly believe in the potential of our industry to be a place that can and will provide opportunity to anyone with an affinity for this field, regardless of diversity or any other characteristics, and we ourselves are already part of that wave of significant change.