Focus on Poland!

by Jakub Jański in: Working in Poland, 30 Oct 2014     0 Comments

Let’s start with numbers. According to the recently published data of Eurostat (European Statistical Office), almost 25 million people, including a considerable number of young people, do not have a job in Europe.

If we present millions of the unemployed Europeans as a percentage, the unemployment in many countries both in the European Union and outside it will be double-digit. These figures definitely can overwhelm each of us but the news from the labour market does not necessarily have to be negative. This unfavourable situation can be remedied by mobility. And what would be multicultural Europe without the common exchange of experience and knowledge?

Let’s start with numbers again. Krakow’s first position, Warsaw’s sixth place, and Wroclaw’s enormous leap by a few positions on the world’s investment map, which is drawn up yearly by Tholons, an international advisory organization, have been among the most significant differentiators of Poland against Europe in the last several years. Yet it is not only the meaningless Excel tables that support the rankings of the leading global consulting companies (Tholons’ findings have been confirmed by the reports of the Hackett Group and Jones Lang LaSalle). Nothing could be further from the truth. The employment in the modern business services sector, which, in fact, stands behind our country’s investment success, is growing systematically. According to the calculations by the Association of Business Service Leader (ABSL), a Polish organization, the number of employees working in service centres with foreign capital has grown by over 50% as compared to the beginning of 2012. What does this percentage actually mean? A radical employment growth from 83,000 to 128,000. The industry experts estimate that with such a dynamic increase, we can expect that the number of people employed in modern business services sector will exceed 150,000 next year.

What is behind this dynamic?

Poland’s economic success comes from all the employees of the modern business services sector. During the recent years, our country has undergone a deep evolution – thanks to the quality of services and innovativeness of our solutions, Poland is becoming more and more appreciated in the world, and the greatest global brands are making decisions on investments in the biggest Polish cities. For sure, you know such brands as Shell, Electrolux, HP, Nokia, Heineken, Carlsberg and Credit Suisse. The major global companies choose Poland for several reasons. First of all, our country has appeared to be an excellent business partner: it offers well educated potential employees, a very good infrastructure and broad access to modern office space. Therefore working conditions look extremely favourable and that is why in Poland, there are currently 470 service centres with foreign capital, which belong to more than 300 investors from all over the world. The most popular cities where you will have a chance to work for globally renowned institutions include the abovementioned Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw, as well as Tricity (Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot), Katowice, Lodz, Lublin and Poznan.

Why can I work here? 

The above paragraph may hide a certain paradox: why does a country which has such well-educated young people open up also to foreigners? There are several reasons. The command of foreign languages is the most significant one. Although Polish universities work with business more and more closely, business centres, the number of which grows every year, have an increasing problem to acquire qualified employees who would be fluent at languages that are rarely spoken by Poles. According to an international employment agency, ManpowerGroup, as many as 75% of employers in this sector have problems with acquiring employees for positions essential to their businesses. Additionally, we are talking about an international working environment, and multiculturalism is one of the differentiators of those organizations’ corporate culture. That is why when you come to Poland, you can meet friends from your country not only at university, but also at work.

Why is it worth working here?

Modern business services sector is made up of international organizations whose brands are recognizable practically all over the world. Starting their career in business centres, each employee can count on high workplace standards. Employers, afraid of high staff turnover (it is worth mentioning that in case of this industry, there is the so called employee’s market), offer their specialists numerous benefits: from the MultiSport card to private health care to other foreign languages courses. The career path is an additional advantage. Each of the big companies has its own development programmes for its employees and HR departments work out individual paths of promotion, both a horizontal and vertical one. Employees not only participate in internal trainings, where they acquire, first of all, soft competences. More and more organizations co-fund postgraduate studies or help to gain international qualifications sought-after all over the world. Candidates who decide to work in this area take part in training programmes which prepare them to do their job, and after a few years, the employees become the first class experts in the service of selected business processes. The modern business services sector employees are young. And this is also a decisive advantage. As many as 40% of them are between 26 and 29 years old. Therefore it is not surprising that dynamics and development are symbols of this sector.

What can I do here?

Modern business services sector is considerably varied, which is proved by the abbreviations: BPO, SSC, ITO, R&D, KPO and CoE. What hides behind these terms?

BPO (business process outsourcing) is one of the more innovative segments of services for business, rendered by an external supplier to other enterprises. Outsourcing enables cheaper and more effective management of selected business processes, including accounting, HR, marketing, customer service and even knowledge management.

SSC (shared service centres) are centres created in Poland inside a capital group of an enterprise (in the form of a branch or a separate company) with the capital fully owned by the parent company. They offer the same services as the BPO external suppliers.

ITO (information technology outsourcing) – this term refers to the whole sector of IT services for business, including server management, network administration and software development. Pierre Audion Consulting estimation reveals that in 2015, the Polish market of software and IT services will be the second IT market in Central and Eastern Europe.

R&D (research and development) may deal with various processes. The key element is to achieve an innovative effect with novelty value, enabling the improvement of services. This can be exemplified by research projects developing new models of risk analysis or improving methods of rendering financial services.

KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) – centres of advanced services of analyses and expert opinions, often niche ones and equally involving employees’ knowledge and modern technologies. KPO is also the best proof that the business services sector in Poland has achieved the highest phase of development, and it is not only the simplest solutions for business that it offers. KPO includes such processes as legal processes management, financial modelling and data processing.

CoE (centre of excellence) is an organizational structure which deals with scientific activity and processes of development of state-of-the-art technologies. This unit is included in the R&D and KPO area.

And what is next?

From a junior specialist to a manager responsible for the work of several teams, from an inexperienced assistant to a team leader, the BPO/SSC sector in Poland offers to young people more than you think. Our country is, therefore, the great beginning of a fascinating professional adventure. If you are studying, the employer will appear to be flexible enough to enable you to reconcile your education with the career; if you are looking for the first experiences, the organization will provide you with trainings and it will help you to choose the right career path; if you focus on mobility, in a few years, as an expert, you can move to another country as part of organizational structures of global institutions. Everything is in your hands.

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Jakub Jański

Jakub Jański


Contact the author

Commissioning Editor of the website and Editor-in-Chief of the guide for financiers “Kariera w Finansach i Bankowości” [Career in Finance and Banking]. For several years, he has been dealing with employer branding. A graduate of Polish philology and film studies at Jagiellonian University. 

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