In the past few years a new outsourcing wave has come: after successfully outsourcing of production function to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, big multinational groups have come to the conclusion that also other functions, for instance the administrative ones can be relocated to CEE.
The preparation for the EU entrance and then the entrance to EU has made the CEE countries more stable and thus more attractive for foreign investors.
There are some important reasons why companies from Western Europe choose the CEE region as their nearshoring destination:
- membership in the EU: this requires the same legal and institutional framework,
- performance/cost factor: employees in CEE region are well-qualified and do qualified work at lower hourly rate than the Western European employees,
- destination: key CEE locations can be reached within a few hours time,
- cultural background and language skills: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and other CEE countries have similar cultural background to that of Western Europe. Many people (mainly the younger generation) speak fluently 2 or 3 foreign languages.
According to NIB (National Irish Bank) Poland ranks second worldwide (after India) in terms of attractiveness to foreign investors. Comparing with Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland in on the top of the most attractive BPO destinations. That for good reasons.
The population of Poland amounts to 38.2m. Poland is the biggest market in CEE region in terms of population. The capital town, Warsaw has 1.7m residents.
The GDP growth of Poland was 6.2% in 2006, 6.7% in 2007 and 4.8% in 2008. The unemployment rate decreased from 15.1% in 2000 to 9.5% in 2008.
Warsaw belongs to the most attractive towns in Central and Eastern Europe regarding wages and salaries, comparing with other capitals, as Budapest, Prague or Bratislava.
Poland is located in Central Europe, that is a good location in terms of offering goods and services to both: Eastern and Western parties. Berlin, Moscow, Vienna, Bratislava, Kiev, Vilnius and Minsk can be reached within a few hours from Poland – by rail, car or by air.
Poland also possesses a very good system of education. There are almost 500 universities and other types of higher education schools in Poland and about 2 million people study there. Almost 50% of population between 19 and 24 are students. The fact that big corporations locate their R&D centers in Poland and Polish specialists are very welcome in multinational groups in the country and abroad shows their recognition to high quality level of their educational background.
According to PAIZ (Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency), foreign companies invested EUR 15.7 bn in 2006, EUR 16.7 bn in 2007 and EUR 11.0 bn in 2008 in Poland. The leading investors are the German (17% of the whole investment volume), the French (11%) and the Dutch companies (10%). There are many attractive incentives for investors, motivating them to invest in Poland. Also the tax rates are relatively low in Poland, CIT rate is 19% for instance.
According to PAIZ, Poland does not intend to compete with India with labour costs but with the possibility to provide more technology advanced projects. As the demand for high-qualified specialists in India in very high, there is the lack of them experienced in the market, which can now be fulfilled by Polish specialists.
Magdalena Szarafin is a Polish economist, residing in Frankfurt, Germany. She works as an international management accountant in a big multinational group. In her leisure time she prepares a PhD dissertation focused on shared service centers. Her research interests include insourcing and outsourcing in connection with the value chain. She is the author of many publications dealing with outsourcing, knowledge management and total quality management.