Over 335,000 jobs, over 1,000 operating centres with foreign capital, over 40 languages used and a steady increase of growth ratios – such is the current state of affairs in the BPO and SSC sector in Central and Eastern Europe
Warsaw, 12 October 2016 - The “Mazars CEE Business Forum”, dedicated to the current situation in BPO and SSC sector in Central and Eastern Europe, ended last Friday, 7th October 2016. The main conclusion is: the situation in the industry is good and it will only get better.
The main reasons to be optimistic about the future of this market in the region are the numbers and statistics. According to the Tholons global ranking “Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations” in 2016, Kraków ranked 9th among the best outsourcing destinations for the third year in a row. This is the highest position for a European city in this world ranking. Notably, also Prague (ranked 14th), Budapest (24th), Warsaw (ranked 25th), Brno (31st), Bucharest (41st), Bratislava (49th) and Wroclaw (58th) are on this list. These cities have been moving up in this classification continuously since 2011.
The growth of the business services sector in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has been one of the greatest achievements of the CEE local economies in the last two decades. Over the past 15 years the sector grew from almost zero to 335,000 highly qualified FTEs, being the fastest growing sector in terms of jobs which was actually two times faster than the growth of business services in India. This is a surprising insight for sector players. The exceptional growth has been fuelled initially by lower costs of personnel and ease of setting up delivery centers given the high abundance of talent and the EU legal and regulatory environment. Over time, the cost benefits, while still important in the decision process, have been gradually overtaken by additional advantages centered around quality of workforce, abundant multi-language skills, proven track record in delivering more advanced services, as well as rapidly improving soft managerial skills, which are not different today from the Western European experience.
CEE is no longer a place where the simplest services such as call centres or basic financial services are transferred (which was the standard 20 years ago). A large part of these elementary services are spun off and transferred to other countries so that CEE centres can focus on more advanced services, for instance, finance and accounting, IT or R&D. A significant change is an ever stronger presence of robotics in BPO and SSC. However, the conference participants agreed that at the end it is the human who will always be the ultimate authority and guardian of the correctness and quality of the automated processes.
It can be seen how dynamic the development of the BPO and SSC sector is in CEE, when you look at the 17% cumulative growth rate of employment in business services centres in the last 7 years, the result twice higher that achieved by India (8%). Our region is often chosen by foreign investors because it gives access to a wide range of qualified multilingual employees and experienced managers. Other important factors are the diversity of available locations and the economic stability of the region.
The event programme included a presentation of the attractiveness of the outsourcing sector in our region compared to the rest of the world, and in particular its strong position in Poland (over 200,000 FTEs) and in Romania (second player in our region – approx. 70,000 jobs)
– countries in which its development is most dynamic.
The panel during which the types, nature and dimension of support of different CEE countries for potential investments in the area of BPO and SSC were discussed, also generated great interest.
„The sector of business services has been expanding particularly fast in the whole Central and Eastern Europe, becoming one of the key economic sectors in some countries. The purpose of our conference was to enable many experts and practising professionals to meet
and determine together what the factors of rapid growth potential are for the coming years. As one of the leading advisory firms co-creating this market in Europe for over 25 years we know that creating communities of people engaged in developing BPO and SSC sector is crucial because it translates into real business,” summarizes Michel Kiviatkowski, Managing Partner of the audit and advisory group Mazars in Poland.
“We wanted the forum to facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas between companies that are already present in the CEE and those who may be considering entering the market. There are a number of key factors that make the CEE an attractive location for investment for many Western European companies: cultural and geographical proximity; EU membership; economic stability; and access to a qualified and educated, multilingual workforce. Feedback from many of our clients suggested there was a clear need for this forum to help companies make the most of the opportunities that the region has to offer,” says Erick Gillier, Partner and Head of Global Accounting & Outsourcing Solutions at Mazars group.
The conference was attended by CEO, COO, CFO, operational directors, strategy, outsourcing and IT directors and SSC and BPO managers from Western and Central and Eastern Europe.
Exact and CMS Cameron McKenna were partners of the conference. The event was held under the patronage of: the Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL), ASPIRE, DFCG (Association of French CFOs), The International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), Pro Progressio Foundation, France-Poland Association, UFE and bilateral chambers of commerce: Polish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK), British-Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC), French-Polish Chamber of Commerce (CCIFP) and Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce (SPCC).
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