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The SSC/BPO sector in Poland: trends, facts and figures

The Shared Services Centres and Business Process Outsourcing (SSC/BPO) sector in Poland is changing just as fast as the Polish economy, though that might not be visible at first glance. So far, it seems to have been perceived in a clichéd manner. Associations of low salaries with no benefits and simple, monotonous jobs being conjured up. But those age-old beliefs do not correspond with today’s reality. With 650 business services centres already operating in Poland, the country has become a promised land for the SSC/BPO industry.

An increasing need for new blood

According to Michael Page’s Global HR Barometer, nearly half of all HR leaders declare that they are expecting an enlargement of their company's workforce over the next 12 months. This also holds true for the SSC/BPO sector itself. Among the 330,000 people employed in this sector in the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region as a whole, 150,000 are Polish residents – and that number is predicted to rise to 200,000 within a few years.

The growing importance of regional capitals

Companies are investing in people, while cities are seeking to attract new investment. Warsaw and Krakow remain the leaders, but the Polish SSC/BPO sector is developing dynamically in at least 10 urban areas, while another 7 localities with airport access are soon likely to be discovered by investors. Cities with very high growth potential include Katowice (the capital of Upper Silesia – the biggest conurbation in Poland), as well as the Tri-City, which is populated by 4 million people overall.

Rising salaries and work standards

While salaries in SSC/BPO have traditionally been considered lower than those in other sectors, the trend has changed. Salaries in SSCs are higher than in regular business and still are expected to rise by 5% within a year. And employers tempt candidates not only with financial factors but also by providing benefits – with private healthcare already standard. This helps attract the best talent to the sector. Despite such changes, costs of labour in Poland remain competitive – especially so when the level of education of the workforce is borne in mind. A full payroll and list of benefits can be found in the report.

Expanding areas of competence

The Polish SSCs once tending to specialise in specific elements of the business process (and in particular the simpler tasks) are now becoming involved in the whole process from end to end process. In addition, more and more employees have stopped treating SSCs as nothing more than an initial career stage; instead seeking professional development within the sector.

The wide availability of office space

There remains a great deal of free office space in Poland, making it a perfect place to set up new SSCs. The eight major Polish cities have nearly 8 million m2 of modern office space, with a further million m2 under construction. Rents in Warsaw are traditionally the highest – at a level of about 16 EUR/m2, while in Lodz they stand at 11 EUR/m2. What would be the other six cities on the list? To find out, check the report!