The development of the global modern business services sector has been doing very well for many years now, and neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the war in Ukraine nor the all-time high inflation have stopped it. What factors are behind the boom in this sector, which brings together companies providing services in the fields of BSS, SSC, BPO, ITO, or R&D? Certainly the continuous globalization of the economy, the growing popularity of outsourcing and its benefits, the accelerated digital transformation, the high demand for knowledge, especially technological knowledge, and the strong demand for intangible services.
In this year’s ranking of the international consulting firm Kearney’s “Global Services Location Index 2023” Poland ranked 2nd (in Europe) among the countries most attractive to investors developing modern business services. This was certainly influenced by the noticeable trend of moving investments from distant locations to Central and Eastern Europe, but also important are the assets of the Vistula River country, such as its attractiveness for technology investments and access to high-class specialists. SSC or BPO centers in Poland primarily serve the technology, banking, finance, insurance, and commercial or professional services sectors.
According to data from ABSL’s report “Modern Business Services Sector in Poland 2022,” there are already more than 1,700 business service centers in operation, and employment in the SSC industry in Poland is growing all the time – the prediction for 2023 is a 7.9% increase, or approaching 500,000 employees. The vast majority of companies in the modern services sector will continue to recruit new employees in 2023.
All this data and information is fantastic! Nevertheless, there is also the other side of the coin – in the ongoing race for talent in the local market, the pool of top professionals is shrinking at a rapid pace…
SSC/BPO leaders face challenges.
The main challenge for Poland’s growing modern business services sector has become a shortage of skilled workers. The best specialists receive as many as several professional offers per month or drift away to Western European countries. Competition for talent is already high and will intensify even more in the coming years. How can employers face this situation victoriously? There are several scenarios…
The first thing that comes to mind is enticing employees with higher pay, more interesting benefits, a modern office in a good location, or flexible working conditions, such as a hybrid.
Another scenario is to build an attractive offer for the employee – the so-called Employee Value Proposition, guaranteeing the possibility of building a promising career path for the employee based on development and promotion path.
Another effective solution, which requires a broader and more strategic view, is to look for high-class specialists outside Poland, especially when the company also serves foreign markets. Although, according to the ABSL report mentioned above, the number of foreigners employed in centers in Poland is now already 55,400 (13.8% of the total number of employees in the sector), this is definitely an area for development, especially for companies that are looking for innovative and effective solutions to maintain their positions as market leaders.
It is worth inviting foreign specialists on board the organization who, in addition to their substantive knowledge, competence, and command of English, German, or French, can boast knowledge of their national languages, such as Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Danish, Spanish, and Italian. Remember, too, that non-Polish specialists will also bring with them a working knowledge of the business ecosystem from their home country and often an international perspective and experience. Enriching the team with employees from these countries is an ideal solution for companies that have their headquarters in Poland, but also target other European markets. Zdeno Fedeš, founder and CEO of Ahoy Career Agency, noted that as a Slovak living in Poland for several years, he gets many job offers aimed at people fluent in Slovak:
“Of course, not only Slovaks but also representatives of other European nationalities in Poland regularly get job offers from multinational companies, which are constantly looking for employees to serve foreign markets. Unfortunately, there are still relatively few representatives of these countries or people fluent in their languages living in Polish metropolises, so it is not easy to find a suitable employee to serve foreign branches of corporations”.
The situation related to the shortage of specialists in the company is detrimental to its future – the lack of a properly built team of specialists threatens, first of all, the organization’s position in the market, reduces the effectiveness of its operations, competitiveness and slows down the pace of development.
How to encourage specialists to come to Poland?
“First we need to start by profiling the potential employee who will decide to move to Poland on a long-term basis. – says Zdeno Fedeš – Such a move is more likely to be made by people who are ambitious, open to the world and interesting professional challenges, eager for adventure, meeting new people, and able to get out of their comfort zone.”
“Of course, the basis is to support them in building a relationship with their new employer and new country of residence. It is necessary to accompany them in the first steps – from the initial interview to care during the first months in Poland,” adds Zdeno Fedeš, “it is not worth forgetting this if you want to attract a valuable and loyal team member”.
An important aspect of planning a recruitment strategy abroad is to take more general and long-term measures, such as Employer Branding for the entire Polish labor market, resulting in a noticeable increase in foreigners’ interest in coming to Poland. Zdeno Fedeš shares his experience in this regard: “We, as Ahoy Career, are really doing a lot in this area because we see the practical value of these activities. On our blog and social media, we describe the life of expats in Poland, the local labor market, current recruitments, and other topics that directly or indirectly affect the perception of the country abroad. In addition, we also conduct PR activities aimed at foreign media”.
What does the company’s organizational culture benefit from
Attracting qualified employees abroad and providing them with opportunities for continuous development is key to the success of the company, but also benefits the organization and its corporate culture:
- Diversifying the team – having employees with different perspectives and cultural backgrounds on the team can bring new ideas and innovative approaches to executing projects or solving problems.
- Multilingualism is the aforementioned asset in the SSC / BPO industry, where you serve clients from different regions of the world. It can also help you communicate within an international team.
- The similar cultural and social backgrounds of employees from countries in the Central and Eastern European region can facilitate the integration of the entire team and mutual understanding.
- Potential cost savings – although labor costs in Poland are competitive, they are not always the lowest in the region. Hiring specialists from other countries can help companies reduce operating costs.
- Diversity of skills – different countries in the region may have different specializations and skills that can complement each other in areas such as IT, finance, accounting, or customer service. Hiring specialists from different countries can help create teams with a wide range of competencies.
- Flexibility to expand global operations – as the company expands its operations globally, it can be more attuned to diverse markets, drawing on the different competencies of its local and expat employees.
The challenges facing Poland’s modern business services sector go hand in hand with many opportunities that must be spotted and then known how to take advantage of in order to maintain a leadership position in the market. The problematic shortage of skilled workers can be a hassle, but it opens the door to hiring specialists from abroad who can bring with them innovation, new perspectives, and a wealth of competence and knowledge resources.