Opole’s strong point is the favourable investment climate for the business services outsourcing sector must not be regarded as secondary to other comparable municipalities. Still, the city must build on those areas that will give it a competitive edge. A decent real property development offering is necessary, including the desired volume of office space. And there is much to be achieved. Following the automotive and mining industry, the BPO sector is the third largest employer in Poland. This is just a selection of the key conclusions reached after the conference, GREEN LIGHT FOR BPO/ITO.
“Opole is a young city: every third resident is aged 19-39. Our residents are also among the most satisfied Poles, and the city itself is one of the safest, most modern and most attractive places to live in the country,” says Ryszard Zembaczyński, Mayor of Opole. Although our unemployment rate of over 7% is much below the national average (ca. 10%), to attract new and better jobs and boost the economic activity of the region remain our top priorities.
As many as approx. 1 thousand residents are employed in the modern services and shared services sectors. Still, the demand for such workforce is greater, but there is a shortage of office space. The city has already prepared land for further construction projects and fully endorses the investment process as well as offering tax incentives, public institution assistance and support in the training and acquiring of the necessary labour force and creating favourable business environment. A strong foundation of Opole’s labour market is the qualified and available staff. The students of our six universities are the most sought-after labour for the BPO sector. The local establishments of higher education produce almost 9 thousand graduates annually.
“Opole is already home to five BPO companies. I do hope that the upward trend will continue. The economic situation has never been more favourable,” underlines Arkadiusz Tarnowski, Deputy Director of the Department of Regional Development, Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency.
It is important that the city is ready to double and even triple the number of available qualified personnel relatively quickly. The newly implemented law is conducive to universities modifying their teaching and scientific programmes to accommodate the employers’ needs. For example, as Capgemini was after English- and German-speaking graduates to its new outsourcing centre in Opole, the University of Opole immediately launched additional language courses for students at the so-called Capgemini Academy. “In Opole, we occupy approx. 1 thousand m2 of office space with about 100 employees. We are training more personnel and looking forward to the completion of further development projects,” says Marcin Nowak, Managing Director at Capgemini Poland.
The BPO sector in Poland is the largest employer compared with our neighbours in this part of Europe (105 thousand employees). The same sector in the Czech Republic and Hungary employs approx. 40 thousand people altogether. These 105 thousand jobs in outsourcing services have been generated just over the last 10 years, with the impressive 20% increase year-to-year. The sector is bound to grow over the next few years and is expected to create up to 20 thousand new jobs in Poland annually. Will Opole have its share in this process? Time will tell.