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edition 9 (213)
September 2016
Office & mixed-use development

Business is booming

Interviewer: Rafał Ostrowski

Business is booming
Janusz Dziurzyński, the vice-president of the board of ABSL

In three years the business services sector will be the largest branch of the Polish economy. Its growth dynamics indicate that it will exceed the current leader, the automotive industry, in terms of employment. What are the main assets of Poland from the point of view of international companies locating their modern business service centres in our country?

Janusz Dziurzyński, the director of the global IT service centre of Procter and Gamble as well as COO and vice-president of the board at ABSL: There are a number of factors. First of all there are the people we have – their qualifications, technical skills, analytical thinking and all-round engagement. Furthermore, there is our great flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing requirements. This seems to be simple, but there are places across the world where it is very difficult to receive a positive response to necessary changes. We can enjoy the changes and we can accept them. In our history we have changed so many times that it must be imprinted somewhere in our DNA. There are also the technical skills, such as what we can do. Our technical skills and analytical thinking skills are listed among some of the best.

So firstly there are people and their skills. What else?

The second thing is the investment environment. For some reason many companies invest here because they believe that it is a good and stable economic and political environment. We lie in an ideal place in Europe. The third thing is the work culture- and this is of great importance. I often meet clients who want to pay more for the servicing of their processes to be carried out from here and not from, for example, Asian countries. Because we are part of European culture. Furthermore, we are in the same time zone, which is also of great importance. The fourth factor I would mention is the infrastructure, which has been improving exponentially in our country. Over the last 10–15 years we have become a magnet for investors because everything is new. Our office buildings, hotels and roads are often considerably better compared to those in Western Europe and this makes a great impression. And finally, we are still much cheaper compared to Western Europe. Some time ago it was expected that we would match the salary levels of Western Europe over a period of 10–15 years. This has not taken place. We have a great advantage in this respect and there is no evidence that it will change any time soon. So these circumstances are very beneficial for us.

I was surprised to hear that according to Hackett Group, Poland comes third in the world in terms of investment attractiveness among investors. We are only behind India and China.

When I heard it for the first I was also shocked, although it was a very pleasant shock, but I have got used to this idea and I am now less and less surprised. Indeed, if we ask investors about the most interesting market for investing in, they mostly say, based on their experiences and observations so far, that Poland is their third favourite country in the world and the top one in Europe.

Our language skills are one of our advantages over Asian countries we learn languages easier, particularly the European ones. They do not have this aptitude.

Indeed, we win against Asian nations in this respect. However, language skills are probably not among the key advantages for us Europeans. If we go to Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary – they are all good in this field.

So what is it that puts India and China ahead of us, since they occupy the first two positions?

Two things. The first are the costs and the second is the fact that the service centre culture is only a dozen or so years old here, while in their case they have several dozen years. They do not have individual centres but entire districts and towns that provide such services. So the scale is incomparable and this is due to historical factor.s However, I would like to finish by adding that on top of the five assets I mentioned at the beginning, success breeds success. When asked by potential investors whether they would make the same decision again, companies that move their centres here give us such a good write-up that others come here too. It is a snowball effect. We have had 20 pct growth in the sector every year. This is an absolute revelation. Every year we wonder whether such a performance could be repeated and it turns out that indeed it can.

If this pace continues we would have over 300,000 employees in the sector over two or three years. Is that right?

Yes, it is. Modern business services would become the unquestionable number one sector in Poland. At this time the automotive industry is the only larger branch of the economy in the private sector as far as full-time employment is concerned. The sector is already larger than the mining industry, which is shocking but true. These are the hard statistical facts.

So it will be the main branch of the economy in Poland in just three years?

I have no doubt about that.

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