“Bridges to the future” is the theme of the annual conference organized by ABSL (Association of Business Service Leaders) on November 1, 2022. The event is attended by over 700 industry specialists. This year’s theme refers to the fact that better information and cooperation between industry players is essential in a time when the future is unpredictable. For the last 10 years, ABSL has been actively contributing to the development of the industry.
At the opening of the conference, ABSL launches the annual report of the business services industry, a report that paints a picture of the sector and its trends.
Although the last three years have been very challenging, the number of employees in the industry has risen steadily, with a cumulative growth of almost 30% in the last three years. More than half of the companies that participated in the study estimated that they expect the number of employees to increase between 10-30% in 2022.
The services that experienced the most significant growth, respectively needed the most employees, are: IT, customer support, finance and accounting.
“The degree of process complexity, at least for the top three services, is increasing year by year as core activities are automated. That is why there is a need for employees with increased technical skills, compared to the share of unexperienced employees that was quite high 3-5 years ago. Other important aspects are digital skills and not least foreign languages”, explains Ciprian Dan, President of ABSL.
The pandemic has increased employee loyalty, with the average rate of departures from the company being 18% this year, compared to the average rate of 26% recorded in 2019.
“The cost and availability of labor remain challenging, inducing excessive mobility between employers. For this reason, many companies in the industry have rethought their business model, towards a more sustainable one that is no longer based only on increasing the number of employees, but on their high productivity. The implementation of advanced technology, the optimization of processes and the orientation towards services with greater added value are the new levers towards which companies are oriented”, says Cătălin Iorgulescu, Vice – President of ABSL.
The outsourced services industry is in the top three industries in 2022 in terms of salary growth, at 11% (followed by insurance at 17.7% and retail at 16.8%), but also in the top industries with the highest average base salary, i.e. 10691 lei gross monthly. Wage figures show that the business services industry is becoming more competitive and attracting employees in increasingly specialized jobs thanks to investment and automation processes, with 7.7% being the expected growth rate for next year.
The highest wage increases in the industry were recorded in Bucharest and Transylvania – Banat, while wages stagnated or grew less in Muntenia and Moldova.
The highest paid foreign languages this year were Chinese, Czech and Swedish. Employees appreciate the flexibility of being able to choose their benefits: wellness programs, therapy sessions, medical services and additional vacation days are among the most appreciated. 40% of companies in the business services industry offer flexible benefits.
“Working in a hybrid system has become an industry reality, with almost all companies adopting this way of working in 2022. 78% of the companies in the industry ask their employees to work from the office at least 1-2 days a week”, says Francesca Postolache, ABSL Vice President.
The companies in the business services industry estimate for this year a revenue increasing by 22% compared to last year.
70% of the companies believe that they will register an increase in turnover in the next period and 94% of the companies believe that Romania offers numerous investment opportunities in this sector.
The study was carried out by ABSL with PwC on a sample of 71 companies that have a cumulative turnover of over 1.14 billion euros and approximately 50,000 employees, between August and October.