Issues faced by Pakistan’s information technology sector


There’s a bug in the system

It is indeed a matter of considerable concern that the IT sector in Pakistan is characterised with numerous challenges. Pakistan’s IT sector constitutes only 1% of the global IT industry, a negligible share compared with the accelerating need of robust development and growth of this sector in Pakistan.

Though there are over 1500 registered IT companies in Pakistan, each firm and individual is unable to deliver its full potential. There also appears to be a lack of support from the government, particularly when it comes to government grants and incentives to the IT sector, which are not on the same footing as those given to, say, the textiles industry. The government has so far failed to introduce a dedicated national IT policy focusing on development of IT centres and institutions, and there persists a lack of deliberation on the allocation of a budget to develop IT centres and institutions.

The educational sector of Pakistan is also failing to support this industry’s needs. The courses, subjects and the information imparted at a majority of our existing educational institutions are all obsolete and fail to inculcate creativity and innovation amongst the students – a key requirement of the IT sector. In addition inculcating sound and effective communication skills of the students is another pre-requisite because outsourcing services rendered by IT companies involve communicating with the foreign clients. Nevertheless, majority of the universities in Pakistan persistently produce personnel incapable of meeting the sectors’ needed communication and interpersonal skills standards. The sheer number of IT universities in the country is also insufficient to properly promote IT education in the country.

Moreover, different managerial issues also pose a challenge to IT sector. The ineffective human resource management practices such as lack of employee involvement in strategic decision making and rare implementation of training and development programs adversely influences the employees’ morale and motivation level. The prevalent organisational politics and personal motives in the local IT companies also hinder the operation of a smooth flow of work. The focus of the industry representatives to fulfil their personal interests rather than working jointly for the benefit of industry and national economy is a bottleneck in the effective realisation of IT sector’s organisational goals.

Considering the paramount significance of IT sector in opening new prospects for the national economy, it is vital for the government to support IT sector by allocating adequate finances for it. IT entrepreneurs should be provided easy financing facilities to establish their ventures effectively. IT companies should be registered and they should be represented in the trade shows held globally. In addition, the educational institutes should establish a strong lobbying body with the IT industry and its representative bodies to enable the students to be well-equipped in-line with the current requirements of the IT sector, and to modify the course contents in light with the changes in the IT industry.  A special emphasis of the educational institutes should be laid on improvement of the communication skills of the students to enable them to effectively communicate with the foreign clients. Implementation of sound intrinsic employee motivational strategies in IT companies such as encouraging employees’ involvement in decision making strategies, as well as provision of timely incentives and performance based bonuses can enhance work productivity and effectiveness. Conducting award shows regularly can also effectively breed healthy competition amongst the employees, and the issues of IT industry should be properly raised with the government to overcome unhealthy politics and to promote the interest of the industry at large.