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Academic program as a key element of staff development in IT companies

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The key success factor of modern engineering centers is their staff. As a result, people management (hiring, satisfaction, loyalty, training and education) becomes more and more important. We will talk about the academic program, which is an important mechanism of staff development.

Involvement of talented university students is a regular practice in IT. Doing it companies make significant efforts towards their training and adaptation. The strategy of our academic program is to build a mutually advantageous partnership with universities. The company provides knowledge and expertise transfer in modern technologies and methodologies, which improves the students’ understanding of the realities of IT industry and allows them to be better adjusted to their future job. In exchange for this, the company gets access inside the student community which allows us to find and retain the best talents and to cover our hiring needs by 25-30%.

The goal of the program is to create a continuous staff development “conveyor” which consists of the following stages: establishing direct contacts with technical universities, adaptation of their theoretical courses, providing them with lectures and seminars given by company experts, identifying the most talented students as early as in their 3rd and 4th year, teaching them at a company-based training center, providing them with internship in real projects, and hiring the best of them.

Let’s calculate the efficiency and ROI using the following assumptions: the average and minimal salaries of IT company specialists are based on the 2011 hiring agency report, we use 4 grades: intern/technician (L0), jr. engineer (L1), engineer (L2) and sr. engineer (L3), attrition level is 20%, all internal promotions provide an employee with a salary raise equal to the minimum of the next grade, the yearly salary raise without promotion is 20%, in case of external hiring new employees have an average salary of the corresponding grade. In a year’s time we expect 50% of new hires to be promoted to L2, and in two years’ time 25% to L3.

Our calculation shows that investing $85K into the program to develop 25 new hires a company will return the costs in a year’s time, and in three years’ time it will have about $200K in cost savings and more than 200% ROI because of the difference in salaries in cases of internal promotions and external hiring. Thus the suggested staff development “conveyor” allows an IT company improving profitability

Evgeny Philippov

Evgeny PhilippovEvgeny Philippov

Evgeny Philippov is the CIS Regional Head at Exigen Services, the global IT solutions company that provides application outsourcing and business transformation services to its clients all over the world.

Prior to joining Exigen Services Evgeny was Director of Global Engineering Centers at Emerson where he led the development process of intellectual pressure, temperature, flow, and level transmitters. Previously he was Director of the Embedded Systems Business Line at Luxoft and Engineering Manager of Java Software Center of Excellence at Motorola.

Evgeny holds a Ph.D. degree and a degree in Industrial Automation and Telecommunications from the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute. He also graduated from the Software Business Management Institute, Motorola. Evgeny has about 30 publications, including 12 patents.


Valentin Onossovski


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