BPO services still showing much upside
The BPO sector in Poland encompasses around 300 shared services centre (SSC) and business process outsourcing (BPO) operations that employ approximately 50,000 people. It is easy to see why it is one of the dominant sectors in Poland. If R&D and software development centres are included in the mix, Poland can be considered one of the market leaders for the sector in the CEE region. It is envisaged that over the next few years the number of people employed in this sector will continue to grow, suggesting confidence in the quality of service delivered in Poland.
Poland has been successful in this sector due to several factors. Poland is one of the largest country in the CEE region with over 38 million inhabitants, which provides a huge labour pool. Education has always been important in Poland and this creates one of the biggest advantages. Not only is the labour pool large, it is well educated. Over 400,000 graduates a year with strong European language proficiency together with technical
and accounting skills are available to enter the sector.
With the dynamic growth of the BPO/SSC sector over the past five years, there is a large number of experienced BPO staff on the market, who have continued to develop with professional qualifications in the finance and management area and through time spent abroad on international assignments. All this and yet Poland's labour costs still remain competitive compared to countries in Western Europe, which remains a key consideration for any investor looking to partner with an existing BPO operation or to set up a SSC.
The BPO/SSC sector in Poland is supported by a positive eco-system, with administrative and investor support offered by the national and local authorities. Potential tax breaks and EU financial grants are among the incentives available to new investors entering the Polish market. Consulting firms such as PwC can support any investor to gain access to these incentives, as well as supporting them through implementation transition of a SSC or the process of partnering with a BPO provider.
Importantly, Poland continues to look at opportunities to move up the value chain and create higher value in this sector. Mature BPO/SSC cities are adding service offerings such as KPO (knowledge processing outsourcing) and Decision Support, while smaller Polish cities are also looking to enter the market and compete on the more traditional areas of cost. All this makes for Poland continuing to be an attractive BPO/SSC destination for the near future.