The Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) released its newest report on the business services centers’ sector (BSC) in Poland. The country is strengthening the position as one of the most frequently chosen locations for the centers (BPOs, ITOs, SSCs and R&D centers). Also, Katowice plays more and more important role on the BSC map.
„Heads of business service centers declare: demand for our services remains at a high level. This is confirmed by the numbers – in less than 2,5 years, the sector has grown by 50%!” – says Marek Grodziński, vice president of ABSL and head of European Delivery Centers at Capgemini. Compared with the beginning of 2012, the number of employees in service centers with foreign capital increased from 83 000 to 128 000. In the past 12 months (from April 2013) at least 18 000 new jobs have been created.
On average, a service center with foreign capital located in Poland employs 273 staff, while in Katowice the number is 243. Presently, about 10 000 people are hired in foreign business centers in the Katowice agglomeration in total, which makes up 8% of all sector employees in Poland, and the volume is at the same level as in Łódź. Since the beginning of 2012, employment in the sector increased by approximately 40% in Katowice and the number of centers exceeded 40 this year. This way Katowice became the sixth largest location of the foreign business centers in the country.
In recent months, new main investments for BSC in Katowice include IBM, Sii and Perform, for example. In the previous years, Katowice was chosen by such foreign companies as Capgemini, Unilever, Kroll Ontrack, Steria, Ericsson, Rockwell Automation, Mentor Graphics, Oracle or PwC. In 2013 alone, the City was awarded during Poland Outsourcing and Shared Services Awards Gala as „Newcomer City of the Year”, „Investor Friendly City” during Prime Property Prize 2013 and in 2014 „City Outsourcing Star” during Outsourcing Stars 2013. Additionally, in 2014 Katowice was recognizes as part of the prestigious ranking of „European Cities and Regions of the Future 2014/15” prepared by fDi Magazine. The City was ranked 9th in Europe among large cities in investment attractiveness.
Amongst companies which conduct advanced processes at services centers in Katowice are, among others: Kroll Ontrack (data recovery services and technologies, information management, content management), Rockwell Automation (financial analysis, advanced software development) or Wincor Nixdorf (research and development of complex software).
ABSL own study based on service centers survey results says that 12% of total operating costs are spent for real estate and facilities (while 65% of the costs are allocated for salaries and benefits).
The strong demand of the BSC sector made Katowice the third regional city in Poland were the activity of tenants is the largest this year (together with Kraków and Wrocław). Also, the City was highly popular among tenants in 2013. As a result, the vacancy rate in Katowice dropped to 5,6% at the end of the first quarter of 2014. To compare – in seven out of nine office markets in Poland, the vacancy rate is above 11%. It can be estimated that – similar to Kraków – the vacancy rate in Katowice will rise in the second half of the year, due to the large number of office projects planned to be launched.
The overall outlook for the business services sector in Poland is very positive. Poland is and will continue to be seen as a mature BSC destination, attracting new investors, according to ABSL.