Katowice third fastest growing hub of business services sector in Poland

Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis are listed the third fastest growing business services sector in Poland according to the report prepared by Association of Business Sector Leaders (ABSL) in cooperation with Jones Lang LaSalle and Hays Poland.

The “Business services sector in Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis” report prepared by ABSL
The “Business services sector in Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis” report prepared by ABSL

According to the 2009-2011 data, the Silesia Metropolis was the third fastest developing center of service offshoring in Poland (after Wrocław and Łódź). More than 35 service centers, 7 500 employees and expecting growth to the number of 9 thousand by the end of 2012 – these are the key numbers of the “Business services sector in Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis” report presented during the conference on 11th of May organized by the City Hall of Katowice. The meeting was attended by sector leaders and advisors – IBM, Capgemini, Ernst&Young, Jones Lang LaSalle, Hays and Manpower.

Katowice is one of the seven main metropolis in Poland being the most frequently chosen by foreign investors of the business services sector. During the recent years, the City has been more and more effectively attracting the offshoring business services – shared service centers (SSC), business process outsourcing (BPO/ITO) and research and development (R&D) units. Only two companies – Grupa Żywiec (customer service center) and Ruch (financial and accounting services center) – hired more than 500 people in the last twelve months. “The region of the Upper Silesia had been perceived as the center of heavy industry. As the result of dynamic economic changes, I am gladly presenting the report on the business services sector in Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis. This new branch of investments has been strongly developing in the City over the recent years” – said Piotr Uszok, Mayor of Katowice.

In the territory of Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis, there were 36 service centers in operation with a 7 500 headcount at the end of 2011, which stands for 3% of total employment in foreign service centers in Central and Eastern Europe (2011). Since 2009, 2 700 new jobs (i.e. over 1/3rd of the current headcount) have been established in this sector. Out of service centers currently operating, 17 are shared service centers (SSC), 13 are outsourcing service centers (BPO/ITO) and 6 are research and development centers (R&D). It is worth to mention that 30 out of 36 centers are entities of foreign capital hiring over 90% of the total workforce in the sector.

According to the researchers of ABSL, the Silesia Metropolis’ business services sector grows faster than e.g. Kraków and Poznań. Only Wrocław and Łódź keep better scores. The strong position is mostly contributed by Katowice where absolute majority of centers in the Silesia Metropolis (24 out of 36) are located in the City, gathering 2/3rd of the whole employment in the sector in this area. However, Katowice based companies use a workforce that lives across the whole agglomeration what shows high mobility of the inhabitants of the Silesia Metropolis, very close relationships between the cities and a well-developed roads system and public transportation. For example, out of 1 300 employees of two Capgemini’s office located in Katowice, only 20% are residents of the City.

As can be read in the report, it is assumed in the plans of the existing centers that by the end of 2012, 9 000 people (a 1/5th growth in comparison to the numbers at the end of 2011) will be employed in the Silesia Metropolis. This value does not take into account new jobs in centers that have not yet announced the commencement of their business. Thus, it may be expected that it will be higher. The share of the Upper Silesia agglomeration in overall headcount in service centers in Poland reached a level of 8,1% in 2011.

Companies from seven countries invested in service centers in Katowice and the Silesia Metropolis. Two thirds of centers is owned by enterprises from the European Union (e.g., France – 2,7 employees, United Kingdom – 1,8 employees). American companies invested in over 1/4 of the total centers performing business operations in the area – 16% of employees in the sector. Almost half of the headcount in the US centers in the Silesia Metropolis is generated by two major investors from the US – Rockwell Automation (540 employees in several departments) and Mentor Graphics (200 in R&D unit). “It is very important for Katowice to attract investors of the outsourcing sector, especially those from the United States as they are mostly recognized as leaders of the branch. This is a very exacting customer. However, winning American investors can have an impact on decisions of companies from other countries. That is why, I concern the participation of Katowice in World BPO/ITO Forum in New York in June as a good move” – says Paweł Panczyj, advisor of Ernst&Young and ABSL.

According to analysts of ABSL, Katowice will still attract new business services investments and the Metropolis has necessary assets to develop in this branch.

Read a full version of the report >>>