Kraków to host ABSL Summit 2023

Kraków has been selected by ABSL Summit organizers to host its annual conference in 2023. ABSL Summit is one of the most important socio-economic events in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), attended by more than 1,000 business leaders from some of the world's largest companies, as well as government representatives, experts, and academics. The ABSL Summit will take place on September 6 - 8, 2023, at the ICE Krakow Congress Center, and will be hosted by the City of Kraków.

Kraków has maintained its leading position in terms of employment in Poland’s business services sector for a number of years now. Nearly one in four people working in the sector are employed in centers located in Kraków. Business services companies in the city employed almost 93,000 people at the end of Q1 2022, illustrating why Kraków is the most important business services hub in CEE. Since 2017, 104 centers and more than 35,000 jobs have been created in the Kraków metropolitan area, with an average annual employment growth of 10.2% between 2017 and 2022.

One of the sector's biggest challenges, which will also be discussed at the ABSL Summit 2023, is the talent pool - the availability of highly skilled workers. It is no coincidence that it was at the Kraków University of Economics that the Global Business Services major was launched for the first time in Poland as a first-cycle (bachelor's) degree program. The goal is to educate people so that they are ready to take up various positions in an international working environment. The uniqueness of the major lies in the opportunity to implement the work of companies in the sector during the first year of study, with ABSL, as the organization which coordinates the project and liaises with the University and partner companies.

Janusz Dziurzyński, President of ABSL, emphasizes: - The ABSL Summit always focuses on the most relevant topics faced by representatives of companies in the business services sector - an industry that in Poland already employs more than 400,000 people and is one of the main growth engines of the country’s economy. Kraków in this ecosystem plays a key role, which is why we are inviting our guests to a city that can inspire participants by its example. The investors’ decision to locate operations in Kraków is a practical reflection of the city’s rankings and other analyses.

The U.S. credit rating agency, Standard & Poor's, while upholding Kraków's long-term credit rating and assigning an A - the highest rating possible for a local government entity, rated the city's outlook as stable. The agency forecast that Kraków's economic growth will be in line with national trends, however, the city's economic development will be above the national average. At the same time, in fDi's European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/23 ranking, prepared by the prestigious publication - fDi Magazine, Kraków was recognized as one of the top ten large European cities in the following categories: friendliness, human capital, lifestyle, economic potential, overall classification and strategies for attracting foreign direct investment.

Jerzy Muzyk, Deputy Mayor of Kraków for Sustainable Development, emphasizes: - We are well aware of the importance of the city’s development that takes into account the needs of all groups, including both residents and investors. We know how important the environmental aspects that constitute the quality of life are. We understand that investors are increasingly choosing locations to which they will be able to attract employees from other urban centers, including those from abroad. So, we look forward to welcoming and to discuss cities in the context of ESG at next September’s event. 

Dariusz Kubacki, Vice President, Business Intelligence, ABSL, adds: - The survey, which was conducted by ABSL's Business Intelligence team in 2021, shows that Kraków received the most votes as a location that creates a climate for innovation. And it is innovation that will largely determine the future development of the sector. Technology and related innovation are particularly important due to the changing nature of the Polish market, which has become a mature market in terms of the services which it provides. We are acquiring global roles, the services provided in Poland are increasingly complex. In fact, the share of highly specialized services performed in centers in Poland exceeded 50 percent for the first time. All this means that creating a climate for innovation will be one of the key topics at the ABSL Summit 2023.

Accelerated implementation of innovation creates opportunities to move into the role of a creator of global trends, which presents a development opportunity for Poland. The sector is one of the pillars which helps in stabilizing the Polish economy. The sector's estimated share of GDP is about 4.4%, while the industry's estimated share of Poland's total employment has risen to 6.2%. The sector ended 2021 with a record year-on-year export growth of 15.1%.