Press Release. Cluj-Napoca, March 5, 2020
The number of employees in the business services industry in Cluj will increase by 10% in 2020
“Making the Shift: Embedding a Digital Culture in Business Services’ companies” is the theme of the event organized today by the Association of Business Service Leaders in Cluj. Current issues such as changes in digitization in organizational culture, the impact of automation on workplace performance and challenges in the labor market are among the topics debated by local industry representatives.
Over 15,000 employees (6% of the employees in the county) work in Cluj in the business services industry and for the current year an increase of 10% is estimated.
Companies from the local business services industry appreciate the fact that in Cluj it easier to recruit specialists in software developments, engineers or HR specialists more easily, compared to the Bucharest market.
Also, the average rate of departures from companies is below the industry average at national level.
“In the last two years, the local business services industry has substantially changed its dynamics. The number of new investors has decreased compared to the previous period, and the companies already present on the market have consolidated their position, which is also valid for Office Depot. In contrast, new and increasingly specialized jobs have grown significantly, with a different HR strategy required by companies. Most of our employees are at the beginning of their career (0-3 years experience), and others are always eager to discover and learn new things. So, in Office Depot we focus on their professional development, but also on their well-being in the workplace and not only that. We continue to be actively involved in developing the skills of the new generation of professionals, through projects and actions oriented towards the pre-university and academic environment” says Carmen Bindas, Human Rescources Manager, Office Depot.
And for Vertiv, a company with about 400 employees, 2020 is a year of consolidation. “Last year we had a 45% increase in the number of employees. This year we want to grow the team with 75 people, especially looking for software development specialists, engineers, but also to increase the customer service team. We focus on the benefits offered to employees. From 2019, we offer our employees 10 days of paid leave in addition to the legal leave, a benefit that has been very well received by the team” says Ali Hamdan, Head of Professional Services at Vertiv.
All the companies in Cluj have programs dedicated to the sudents, but also to the teachers, through which they offer career counseling, but also practical courses of finance, HR, corporate so that the future graduates will adapt more easily to the requirements of the companies. These programs have a duration in Cluj ranging from 6 to 18 months.
Companies, no matter how well-intentioned they are, cannot radically influence the educational system of a state. They may have punctual interventions, for example, in a particular industry or city, especially at the higher education level.
“For example, ABSL Romania and the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest launched in 2016 the Master Program of Business Services. At the end of the studies, the first generation was already employed in a proportion of 98% – demonstrating a high degree of correlation of the subjects taught with the demands of the market. However, private initiatives to support education cannot achieve large-scale results in the absence of a partnership with the authorities” says Cătălin Iorgulescu, ABSL Vice President.
Business services industry at national level
According to estimates, last year the business services industry generated revenue of over 4.5 billion euros, reaching over 2% of GDP.
The sector comprises 280 companies and over 131,000 employees, i.e. 2.4% of the total employees in the Romanian economy.
Most companies operating on the local market come from France, Germany, Romania and the USA.
While a large part of SSC companies, i.e. 42% of them, will focus on optimizing and stabilizing services in the next year, 79% of BPO companies intend to increase the number of customers and implicitly the turnover.
According to the companies participating in the annual study conducted by ABSL together with KPMG, the main services provided are IT (34%), financial and accounting services (28%), customer operations (26%), HR (21%), purchases (19%), Project Management (18%), business transformation (16%) and document management (15%).
About 85,000 employees of this industry work in Bucharest (about 8% of the total employees in the capital), 15,000 in Cluj (6% of the number of employees in the county), 11,000 in Iasi (6.5% of the workforce available in the county ), and in Timișoara 11,000 (less than 4% of the number of employees in the county), the rest of the industry employees coming from other cities such as Brașov, Sibiu, Galați or Craiova.
For 2020, the maximum increase in the number of employees estimated by ABSL is almost 10%, and for 2021 the projected growth is 6.5%.
The average turnover generated last year by an employee in business services is 31,000 euros/year, while the maximum value stands at 119,000 euros/year, reflecting the tendency of players in the industry to move to high value-added services and to complex pricing models.
Most employees in the industry provide customer services (32%), finance and accounting (24%), followed by IT (21%).
The average rate of departures from the company is 26%, compared to the national average of 20%, and the average rate of departures from the company for the first six months is 17%.
60% of the employees of the industry are women (percentage decrease compared to previous years), which is explained by the high share of services such as finance – accounting and customer service. Most of the employees in the industry are between 26-35 years old, 58% have a university degree and 28% have also completed a master’s or doctoral program.
45% of the companies participating in the study reported that the average level of employee experience is up to 3 years, 30% between 3-5 years, while in 25% of companies the level of employee experience exceeds 5 years.
The companies participating in the study reported that the most sought-after qualifications for employment in the industry are foreign languages (55%), the combination of a foreign language with technical or IT skills (18%), technical knowledge (9%), financial knowledge (3%) and various other knowledge (soft skills, project management, etc.) (15%).
According to the report, 74% of the companies in the industry use solutions to automate their activity, at different stages of maturity, while 60% of them use staff from inside the company to implement these projects.
Starting salaries in the business services industry are 30% higher compared to the economy minimum for employees with higher education and within the industry are very rapid career development opportunities.
The ABSL report analyzes seven processes/types of industry positions, as follows: Project/Process Management, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Customer Services, Procurement and Procurement Services, Software Development (IT) and Management.
The average salary for a project management specialist with over five years experience can reach up to RON 15,000 gross.
In finance and accounting, the starting salary can start from RON 3,900 gross, while the salary of a specialist with over 3 years experience is between RON 4,800 and 25,000 gross, in the case of top managers who combine certain rare skills, required on the market.
In customer service, the average gross salary for people with experience and middle management positions is around RON 8,600.
According to the study, most companies offer language bonuses. French, German, Italian and Spanish are the most sought-after languages by employers, these being paid with bonuses (included or not in the basic salary) that can vary between RON 290 and 3,000 gross per month. Those who know less spoken languages (Dutch, Hebrew, Polish, etc.) can receive bonuses up to RON 4,700 gross/month, in certain situations.
Another benefit granted to employees is the extra free days, apart from the mandatory ones, which can vary between one and six days a year. Meal tickets, private medical subscriptions and the option of having flexible working hours or being able to work from home are already common benefits in the industry.
The study of the business services industry was carried out by ABSL in collaboration with KPMG. The study was attended by 42 companies comprising 24% of the employees of the industry.