Software developers are being forced to employ programmers from abroad because of a skills shortage in the UK.
One such company is Workbench Software, which stumbled on the idea of recruiting staff from overseas following a trip to Russia.
Its commercial director David Christensen recalled how he was approached by young programmers interested in obtaining work while visiting a technopark outside Moscow.
The company hired the programmers, using the Internet and conferencing systems to overcome the problems of distance, different time zones and languages. Initially, the programmers worked on the development of a Workbench product called TimeWISE but have now been kept on to work on updates to the product.
"There just aren't enough software programmers to go around in the UK," commented Christensen. "As a result, they are very expensive. One company I know said not only are contractors hard to find, but they also have a nasty tendency to move on at a critical stage. They are actually considering bringing people in from abroad and issuing them with work permits."
Christensen went on to say that although the Russian programmers are working remotely, they are regarded as part of the company. They are also considered just as qualified as UK programmers.
"Although it's cheaper to employ the programmers in Russia, we are not exploiting them - we're exploiting the difference in the price of skills.
They are receiving what is a very competitive rate over there."
According to Workbench, the use of Russian programmers has enabled the company to deliver a "quality product at a cost which obviated the need for venture capital".
The use of the Internet also helped minimise travel costs, and the entire project was completed with only three face-to-face meetings.
- Anyone interested in employing Russian programmers can contact the Foreign Office which runs a scheme called the Pre Investment Feasibility Study (PIFS), on 0171 210 0023.
Dubbed Barnard's star B, newly discovered planet is believed to be rocky
Also, what's a USB stick?
Gravitational waves become extremely weak by the time they reach the Earth and require highly sensitive equipment for detection
The reactor topped out at 100 million° C