It’s impossible to deny that the size of a city’s population will have a direct effect on the labor market. Not only this, but it will also have an effect on the talent pool.

UNCTAD, combined with the information collected from statistical offices, made a very pretty pyramid chart to demonstrate the correlation. From the CEE cities we looked at, Kyiv had the largest population, reaching 2.85 million people. 0.79 million were students and 0.17 million were graduates. Warsaw also had very high numbers. There are 0.79 million students, 0.17 million graduates from a total population of 1.7 million. Belgrade, Bucharest, and Budapest had a high number of students for their populations.

The smallest cities in terms of the population were Rzeszow and Olsztyn with populations of 0.18 million and 0.17 million respectively. Rzeszow had 0.05 million students, 0.02 million graduates. Olsztyn had 0.03 million students and 0.02 million graduates.

Belgrade and Kyiv have some of the highest percentages of graduates that possess degrees in IT and engineering in the CEE area. This supports the possibility of these two areas becoming suitable locations for O&O businesses in the future.

The Potential Workforce

Another area that was considered was the potential workforce. These numbers were taken based on the O&O industry per city. To consider the potential O&O workforce in each city, we looked at the number of graduates and the number of unemployed.

When you consider the large population, it’s not surprising that Kyiv had the largest potential workforce. There are approximately 120,000 unemployed workers and around 300,000 graduates. Belgrade is close behind in terms of total, but with an extremely high unemployment rate. There were just over 250,000 unemployed workers and approximately 50,000 graduates.

Cities like Kyiv, Krakow, Wroclaw, and even Olsztyn (with the smallest population) have higher numbers of graduates than unemployed, suggesting they have the talent to fill the jobs. Belgrade, Budapest, Sofia, and Riga have just the opposite situation. Their unemployed potential workforce is a lot higher than the graduates who could be working.

Generally speaking, Kyiv, Belgrade, Olsztyn, and Bydgoszcz have quite a high combination of unemployed and graduates in relation to their populations. For this, you can assume that they will be able to increase their operational capacities without having to offer high salaries and therefore increase costs.

Developing the Labour Market

Each year, cities are investing more in their educational systems with a focus on Information Technology. In many CEE cities, IT education begins for students as young as primary school. This develops an early love for the subject, which tends to follow them through their education. Universities are improving the quality of their institutions and degrees, constantly raising the standards in order to attract the top quality.

It’s not just about universities. For those who were not able to go to university, there are now ways to self-study or attend Bootcamps to fast track you into an IT career. This is going to have significant effects on the labor market in the CEE area, and worldwide.