Business Services Centers: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
March 3, 2014
Modern business services have provided work for more than 120,000 people in Poland.
Over 110,000 people worked in foreign-owned business services centers operating in Poland in mid-2013, according to a report published in June by the Association of Business Service Leaders in Poland (ABSL), an organization that brings together companies from the shared service centers, business process outsourcing, information technology outsourcing and research-and-development sectors. Seven months later, employment in such centers had increased by a further 10,000, according to the ABSL. “Foreign-owned modern business services centers in Poland have more than 120,000 employees. Over the past year employment has grown by 20 percent, meeting our most optimistic scenario,” said Jacek Levernes, president of the ABSL and member of the board of HP Europa. The modern business services sector is the most dynamically developing sector of the Polish economy, according to the ABSL.
In addition to those employed at foreign-owned business services centers in Poland, there are tens of thousands of jobs in centers run by Polish companies.
Krystian Bestry, an ABSL vice president and managing director of Infosys BPO EMEA, said, “Over the past few years the [business] services sector has grown into one of the most important sectors of the Polish economy. It currently employs more people than the mining industry, for example. Projects in the business services sector now constitute the largest group among all foreign investment projects in Poland.”
Prospects for the coming years in terms of employment are stable.
The business services sector will continue to develop in Poland, offering new jobs for tens of thousands of professionals every year.
Marek Grodziński, a vice president of the ABSL, said, “The dynamic development of the sector confirms that our country has not only achieved but is also maintaining a position as one of the most attractive destinations for investment projects in the [business] services industry, which is a source of stable and attractive jobs.”
Poland’s investment attractiveness is confirmed by the latest Tholons Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations report, in which Cracow was ranked ninth, ahead of Dublin. Warsaw was ranked 32nd and Wrocław moved up 10 slots to 65th place in the report.
The strength of the Polish sector for modern business services is reflected by both newcomers to the market and new projects undertaken by market players that have already been active here for some time. The first group, which means new market entrants in 2013, includes companies such as DFDS (Poznań), JDA Software Group (Warsaw), Kemira (Gdańsk), Merck (Wrocław), Propex (Poznań), RWE (Cracow), and Veolia (SAP excellence center, Łódź).
Janusz Górecki, chief analyst for the ABSL, said, “In 2012, there was a total of 56 entries by new investors on the Polish market, followed by a further 25 in 2013. What is important is the overall upward trend and the steady increase in the number of employees, generated largely by companies that are satisfied with doing business in our country and developing their operations here.”
In Wrocław, Capgemini will create about 150 jobs for programmers and engineers by the end of this year. In Łódź, Infosys plans to hire several hundred people by the end of 2014, while IBM has announced a plan to take on 2,000 workers in its new center in Katowice by the end of 2015. Accenture will employ 150 workers for its technology center in Łódź by the end of 2015, and Luxoft will hire more than 400 workers by the end of 2015 for its centers in Cracow and Wrocław.
Polish business services centers specialize in handling financial and accounting and IT processes as well as R&D. Their main goal for the coming years is to secure leadership in the BIFS (banking, insurance, financial services) sector. According to the Business Processes Offshoring for the Financial Services Sector. Success Story of Poland report by the ABSL, foreign-owned centers providing services for the financial sector already employ close to 30,000 people, and in the next five years this number could increase significantly. Companies such as JP Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse, Citibank and BBH are already active in Poland. They have opened shared service centers and research and development centers here and also use the services of local outsourcing centers.
Business services centers often need to carry out massive recruitment of workers—dozens or even hundreds of employees at a time. Insiders agree that skilled staff is a key factor for the development of Poland’s business services sector.
Many organizations decide to independently invest in employee education and skills. One example of such an initiative is collaboration between the University of Łódź and the Infosys and HP companies to launch a new course in Linguistics for Business. “Such initiatives benefit not only the sector, but the entire economy,” says Małgorzata Jasińska, corporate accounts director for Central and Eastern Europe at recruitment firm HAYS. “They contribute to the comprehensive development of skills of Polish employees—in the area of hard skills, but also language skills and soft skills. Service center employees also have the opportunity to gain experience by working for large international organizations. They can thus find about their business standards and the ins and outs of working in a multicultural environment. All this makes them attractive on the labor market.”
The development of the modern business services sector has an increasing impact on various sectors of the Polish economy and is becoming a major factor behind the development of Polish cities. This is reflected by the emergence of new projects, mainly those involving office space, but also the development of transport infrastructure. Anna Kot, head of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Office Agency, said, “The growing employment in the modern business services sector translates directly into demand for office space in major Polish cities. Tenants from the business services sector occupy up to 50 percent of the total office stock in some major urban centers. According to our estimates, companies from this sector operating in Poland currently occupy more than 1.1 million sq m of office space, an area comparable to the total modern office stock in Warsaw’s Mokotów district.”