Alex Staff Agency

IT Business And Work in Cyprus: Local Specifics


Cyprus, a European country with an appealing climate and work environment, has become a sought-after destination for professionals and companies alike, particularly in recent times.

We have previously explored the cost of living on the island, but now we would like to turn our attention to the distinctive work atmosphere in Cyprus. Having worked closely with local IT businesses for many years, we have acquired valuable experience to share.

Maria Sukhorukova, the agency's co-founder and CEO, and Anna Mikhaylichenko, Head of Accounting, reveal fascinating insights about the matter.

The IT Industry Keeps Flourishing

The IT sector in Cyprus has been greatly influenced by the immigration waves in recent decades. The mid-90s saw a significant wave of Russian-speaking businessmen exploring the promising opportunities the European country had to offer. Currently, more than 180,000 foreigners (including those from Georgia, Belarus, Romania, and others) live and work on the island. And in 2023, the flow of people willing to relocate there doesn’t seem to decline at all.

The favorable economic conditions have made Cyprus one of the top destinations for IT businesses and professionals. And it continues to maintain this status.

Today, the IT community includes representatives from different fields: forex, fintech, gambling, gaming, etc.
"The rapid growth of IT businesses in Cyprus continues to surge. Previously, their number increased by 100-fold in only 8 years! And with the recent massive relocation of businesses and specialists, there are even more companies."

Alex Staff Agency
Maria Sukhorukova
Why has the industry grown so rapidly in Cyprus? The island's strategic location and EU membership, combined with a favorable business climate and ample networking opportunities, are the major factors. Furthermore, legal entities in Cyprus benefit from some of Europe's lowest tax rates (12.5%), as well as attractive tax deductions for intellectual property.

Role of Language in Hiring

Founders’ origins are a significant factor that influences what specialists a company seeks for its team. If they speak a certain language, such as English, new employees for the project are often selected from candidates who know it to avoid any kinds of barriers. The same principle applies to any other language.

It should be noted that numerous local companies operate globally and have distributed teams across various regions. Consequently, they must synchronize and communicate effectively. As English serves as the universal language, candidates are frequently expected to possess at least basic skills in English.

But let’s take another example. If the founder of the company or the current team speaks Russian, new employees in the project are often selected from Russian-speaking candidates to avoid language and cultural challenges. And this is an excellent chance for developers to get into a foreign organization and at the same time communicate with colleagues in their native language.
"In the past, Russian-speaking IT companies often did not hire English-speaking employees as Russian language skills were sufficient. Typically, one team member was designated to handle external communication while the rest focused on product development. However, this approach has evolved in light of the growing trend of remote work. Nowadays, companies are actively seeking out specialists from all around the world, not just from their local regions. As a result, the requirement for English proficiency has become more critical to ensure successful communication among all team members."

Alex Staff Agency
Maria Sukhorukova

The Cypriot Mentality

It is difficult to determine whether there is a distinct Cypriot business mentality. On one hand, the founder of the company sets the tone for their culture, including management style, values, and growth strategies. All this inevitably influences employees as well.

On the other hand, life in Cyprus has an impact on individuals. Based on our experiences working with local clients, the island has a generally more welcoming environment. The sun, sea, and overall relaxed lifestyle often contribute to an optimistic mindset, which can be felt at various levels of communication, including interactions with local people, partners, managers, and the development team.

The islanders also have a unique cultural trait – a leisurely approach to everything. The siga-siga philosophy is very common (meaning "quietly" or "silently"). The focus is on enjoying the present moment, without rushing towards anything.
"In the early stages of developing our business in Cyprus, we had to wait for a whole 6 months to open a bank account. Processes tend to take a long time here, and there's not much we can do about it. However, it's not a significant issue as we learn to adapt and get things done well in advance."

Alex Staff Agency
Maria Sukhorukova

Where Companies Find Their Talent

Businesses looking to hire IT employees have two options: either searching on their own or applying to a recruiting agency. Many choose the latter to save resources or avoid hiring an in-house recruiter for their team.

Our company has extensive experience working with highly skilled IT professionals, including those with rare skill sets. Such talent is scarce on the island and hard to find elsewhere without assistance.

Having been in the market for a long time, we know:

  • Which countries are the easiest and fastest to recruit programmers from
  • How to describe the job and the benefits of relocation to make experts want to move
  • How to find developers with the right stack (including the rarest ones)
  • Where candidates look for job opportunities and how to approach them

Who Companies Hire The Most?

The IT industry in Cyprus offers an average monthly salary of €4000-5000 for specialists, indicating high competition for available positions.

  • Lead-level candidates are highly sought-after and can easily secure employment opportunities. However, the number of open Tech and Team Lead positions is limited, since a company usually requires only one of them per team

  • The majority of vacancies are available for professionals at the Middle and Senior levels

  • Junior specialists need additional investment in the form of training, making Middle-level candidates a more cost-effective option for businesses in the long run

If a company is looking for professionals with a common stack such as JavaScript or Java, they might be able to find available specialists on the island. However, it is not as simple to find programmers with rare skills. Typically, they are in high demand and switch to other projects without even entering the job market.

European developers usually prefer to stay on the mainland and avoid moving away from central countries, whereas individuals from the CIS countries find the warm and tranquil island a popular relocation destination.

The Format Of Work

There has been an increased demand for remote work in the last couple of years. Our experience shows that before the global lockdown in 2020, only 15% of employees worked remotely full-time, but in 2022 that number rose to 40-50%. However, not all companies are willing or able to establish a distributed team. Some are not legally comfortable with this mode of operation and require a physical office location. Others are hesitant to risk data and invest significant amounts of money in cybersecurity (which can often exceed the cost of maintaining an office). This is especially true for industries like forex, where brokers deal with large financial assets and require strict security measures.

But after certain geopolitical events in 2022, the inflow of relocating specialists has again skyrocketed, especially from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. As a result, more candidates became available for office-based employment.

After relocation, a developer can be offered a hybrid schedule.
"Some people prefer a hybrid format. For example, 3 days of working from home, and 2 in the office. This practice has become especially popular since 2020: it ensures employee safety (less contact, less risk of getting coronavirus) and team interaction. And it has a positive effect on the work-life balance."

Head of Accounting
Alex Staff Agency
Anna Mikhaylichenko

About Work Communication Tools

Slack, Google Meet, and Zoom are the commonly used communication tools in Cyprus. Skype, which was once popular, has lost its position in the market and is unable to compete with more user-friendly applications.

Cyprus is a popular destination for businesses and specialists from all over the globe. They build communities that may use alternative communication platforms. For instance, the Russian-speaking one tends to favor Telegram. Therefore, we actively use its chats and channels to widen our reach and discover potential candidates and clients.

How To Attract Professionals in Cyprus

Programmers of all levels are drawn to the sea, sun, and sandy beaches. However, companies typically offer relocation packages that go beyond covering the cost of moving. Some also help individuals get used to a new environment.
"I am working closely with a major forex broker (with an office in Limassol), which offers great benefits for new employees. Here are some of them:

  • Coverage of all travel expenses (including all family members)
  • Free accommodation for the first few weeks/months
  • Coverage of all visa expenses, assistance with documents
  • Extended insurance for employees and family members (including maternity plan)
  • Coverage of daycare and school expenses
  • Free fitness centers, English and Greek classes

The office also has a lounge area with its own rooftop bar and a special app for ordering beverages. Additionally, the company organizes corporate events: yoga, movies in the cinema hall, ping-pong matches, aqua bike rides, etc."

Head of Accounting
Alex Staff Agency
Anna Mikhaylichenko

To sum up

We hope this article provided you with useful insights into working in Cyprus and its local environment.