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For businesses looking to expand their operations in Europe, Warsaw may be the perfect destination. Poland’s capital and largest city has become a hotbed for business growth and a key source of qualified talent in the region. Warsaw was even named a European city of the future for 2018/19.
What makes Warsaw such a prime destination to expand a business? And what are the important workforce trends companies should know when entering the market? In this Q&A, Edyta Janas, Business Development Director for Randstad Sourceright EMEA, shares her expert insight on the changing talent market in Warsaw.
Q. Why are more businesses considering Warsaw?
A. There are several reasons. Its location makes it easily accessible from other destinations across Europe and the U.S., which is a key investor in the area. Another factor is the cost. Warsaw offers competitive operating and employment costs compared to the U.S. or western and northern Europe. Companies also benefit from highly qualified talent.
In the past, companies were often looking for the cheapest sources of talent, focusing on transactional abilities rather than advanced skills. That’s changed, and as more companies seek talent with sophisticated skills and knowledge of multiple languages, they find that Warsaw’s talent pool can meet their hiring needs.
Q. What are the biggest challenges in the market in Warsaw at the moment?
A. One of the biggest challenges is market competitiveness. According to a report by the Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) of Poland, more than 25% of Warsaw’s business services centers were established in the last five years. Due to extensive growth of the market year over year, companies may be challenged with attracting the best candidates.
As salary expectations among candidates rise, if a company wants great talent, they’ll need to compensate them well. They can’t simply aim for low costs. As a result, wages throughout Poland have continued to increase, reaching an all-time high in Q1 2018.
Q. What opportunities do you see in the business services market in Poland?
A. Organizations will find a city with market readiness and a big opportunity to be successful due to the high number of talented individuals with in-demand soft skills, language skills and IT skills. Of the 55,000 people employed in Warsaw’s shared services centers, a high majority have advanced degrees. Also, ABSL reports that the 215 BPO, SSC, IT and R&D centers currently in Warsaw will expand to 240 centers accounting for 65,000 employees by the end of 2020.
As such, the opportunities for employers and talent alike are huge. Moreover, 89% of Warsaw business services centers have expanded both in scope and sophistication, highlighting the stability and future promise of the market.
Q. What is currently the strongest sector? Do you think there will be a shift in the future?
A. At 51%, the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) and IT sectors combined generate more than half of all employment in the industry. There’s still room for banking to grow, especially as new commerce continues to enter the market. And the IT sector will likely continue to grow as well. Warsaw is the biggest market for IT skills in Poland, meaning there are lots of opportunities for companies to enhance their operations.
Q. What questions do employers typically have when considering hiring in Warsaw?
A. They typically want to know what’s possible – how far can they go in terms of innovation? Businesses often find that the city offers much promise in terms of growth and acquiring the employees who can help them achieve it.
Along those lines, employers also want to know about compensation and talent. What are their expectations? The answer is that candidates are very interested in the overall value proposition of the job and the company, and how both will help advance their careers. Companies must differentiate themselves by highlighting the unique work culture, explaining their leadership style, and demonstrating how employees can grow with the company.
Q. What are some of the trends that will change the workplace in Warsaw in the near future?
A. One of the biggest trends is the growth of recruitment technology. Getting to talent more efficiently and enhancing the quality of the recruitment process are both high on the list. Just as important, especially in a growing market like Warsaw, is for employers to create a good employee value proposition (EVP).
In such a competitive market, companies will want to keep their employees engaged and demonstrate not only why they should join the company, but also why they should stay. Therefore, companies will need to work on upgrading their strategies from hire to retire — paying special attention to both the candidate and employee experiences. A growing number of employers are highlighting the full benefit packages they offer that are more extensive than traditional life insurance, pension provision or healthcare benefits. Benefits nowadays also include access to fresh foods, team building activities, working from home options and performance-based bonuses. The average employee in a shared services center is in their 20s, and they’re looking for communities where they can socialize with colleagues. The companies that can meet those expectations will win their loyalty.
Q. What can employers do to prepare for ongoing HR tech changes (like AI and analytics)? How can they adapt their recruiting strategies?
A. Given the advancements in HR tech, employers must do two things. The first is to enhance their candidate experience to be more attractive to potential candidates. Companies focus a great deal on attracting people, but they can be lacking in the onboarding process. So, they should aim to focus more attention beyond the recruitment stage.
Secondly, they’ll need to focus on retention, which is increasingly important as more businesses enter the Warsaw market. This will require additional investment in training and upskilling their current talent.
Fortunately, most employers recognize the need to adopt new technology. Randstad Sourceright’s 2018 Talent Trends report found that 64% of talent leaders in Poland say that smart technologies will have either the same or greater influence on their business. As a result, employers already in Warsaw and those who plan to enter the market alike should consider investing in technologies to enhance their recruiting strategies.
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