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BSS Sector - Business Services SectorBSS Sector - Business Services Sector

Support for Investors:
Centre for Strategic Investment
 +48 22 334 98 75
e-mail: invest@paih.gov.pl

A few words of introduction

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is a region bursting with tremendous business services (BSS) potential. This sector includes ‘in-house’ Shared Service Centres, Business Processing Operations primarily servicing external clients, IT centres, and R&D centres (including software development). Poland is the regional leader - both in the overall number of centres as well as in the total volume of employment within the industry. More than 1050 centres operate across the country (which accounts for about 70% of all BSS centres in Central and Eastern Europe), while the total employment figure exceeded 240 000 people, accounting for nearly 50% of the total number of employees within the industry in this part of Europe. A telling proof of Poland's competitiveness in the region is the 1st place it took in the EY Attractiveness Survey - Europe 2017, which ranked CEE countries according to the ease of doing business.

The modern business services sector in Poland has been developing dynamically for over 15 years now, and the average annual increase in employment stands at between 15 and 20 percent in recent years.

Why Poland?

Well-educated, highly qualified people with great command of a large variety of foreign languages - these certainly are Poland’s main assets when it comes to attracting projects like this. Its strategic location in Europe, favourable investment climate, economic stability, development of modern business-related infrastructure, improving quality of life in Polish cities, as well as an investors-friendly ecosystem supporting businesses, are all of great importance as well.

It is also worth mentioning that, in addition to the advantages mentioned above, modern business services investors benefit from Poland’s unparalleled choice of locations. The most dynamically growing markets where majority of BSS investments have found their home are Kraków, Warsaw, Wroc³aw, Poznań, Tricity, Katowice, and £ód¼; although other tier-2 cities, such as Szczecin, Lublin, Bydgoszcz, Toruń, Opole, Kielce or Bia³ystok are becoming increasingly interesting for investors. Kraków, Warsaw, and Wroc³aw are considered to be mature markets and are globally recognizable due to international corporations which have decided to locate their operations in these cities. Kraków is the only city in Central and Eastern Europe in the top 10 most attractive cities according to the Tholons Services Globalization Index 2017 study.

What’s truly crucial is that the business services sector in Poland is not only growing, but also developing, namely the rise in employment goes hand in hand with an increasing complexity of processes. More and more companies opting for Poland choose to locate highly sophisticated roles that require specialized knowledge. This, in turn, stems from trust they have in the quality of the Polish academic institutions and the availability of experienced staff. This is also reflected in the growing multifunctionality of the centres in Poland; according to PAIH own study, these centres already provide around 1750 unique processes. It should be emphasized that over 35% of centres located in Poland handle processes in five or more foreign languages.

Almost 600 centres provide software development processes. IT support is performed by more than 300 entities. F&A functions and customer service are supported in more than 200 centres. The ongoing development and growth of the modern business services market as well as the increasing sophistication and innovation of the services on offer mean that more and more BSS entities are becoming Centres of Excellence.

Transformation of the sector and the implementation of ever more advanced processes is possible thanks to highly qualified staff. In 2016, from the total pool of 1.35 million students, over 360 000 graduates entered the labour market. The industry is welcoming the recent trend showing a growing number of students who are choosing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) courses. The demand for experts in these areas has always been high, which is why cooperation between universities and businesses is of utmost importance - this, in turn, produces short and long-term gains for both parties. The ability to create dual study programs and tailor-made postgraduate courses are important initiatives for future employers. The influx of foreign students, who often decide to remain in Poland after the completion of their studies due to career development opportunities, is of great importance as well.

The increasingly widespread operational and linguistic spectrum of services provided by the centres means that Poland can compete for projects not only with other countries in Central and Eastern Europe but also with Asia and South America. Thanks to the quality of work, cultural proximity to Western Europe and the United States, excellent language skills, smaller time differences, and economic stability, Poland has become a reliable location for BSS centres.

 in numbers

According to the latest data, total employment in the sector exceeded 240 000. This is an impressive number, especially given the fact that this sector has only existed in Poland for around 20 years, and - to give it some more context - much more traditional sectors such as agriculture and mining have recently given employment to 85 000 and 132 000 people respectively.

Kraków is the largest hub for quite some time now - the BSS sector there has over 55 000 employees. Warsaw with 45 000 employees and Wroc³aw with over 38 000 employees come second and third; also, there are over 20 000 people working in the industry in Tricity. Centres located in other large urban centres such as £ód¼, Katowice agglomeration or Poznań employ between 10 000 and 20 000. However, not only the largest cities are featured on the BSS map of Poland - regional centres such as Bydgoszcz, Toruń, Lublin, Rzeszów, and Szczecin have between 4 000 and 10 000 employees each.

The language scope of centres operating in Poland may be found below:


Growth perspectives:

According to market forecasts, the number of employees within the sector in Poland is expected to increase to 300 000 by 2020. Industry development is possible thanks to, on the one hand, the presence of experienced employees, and on the other, the continuous influx of university graduates to the labour market. The support offered by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, regional partners, and industry associations is also invaluable throughout the decision and investment process.

Useful contacts:

  • Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL)
    Address: Rondo ONZ 1 (2nd floor), 00-124 Warszawa
    Telephone office: +48 22 445 33 58
    E-mail: absl@absl.pl

  • ASPIRE The Association of IT and Business Process Services Companies
    Address: ul. Pr±dnicka 4, 31-002 Kraków
    Telephone office: +48 12 426 25 35;
    E-mail: joinus@aspire.org.pl

  • Pro Progressio Foundation
    Address: ul. Dolna 21b lok. 40, 00-773 Warszawa
    Telephone: +48  22 213 02 44
    E-mail: info@proprogressio.pl

Publications and more data on the BSS market in Poland:

ABSL reports

Focus ON reports 2021

Source: Statistical Yearbook of Industry - Poland 2018 (GUS - Statistics Poland, February 2019); Production of industrial products in 2018 (GUS - Statistics Poland, July 2019); Foreign Direct Investment in Poland in 2018 (NBP, October 2019)

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