A new phase of growth for the modern business services sector - productivity growth

Data from latest report ABSL Modern Business Services Sector in Poland confirms that the productivity of the modern business services sector is increasing, setting a new direction for its long-term development. In 2023, the sector's estimated contribution to Poland's GDP rose to 5.3 percent, while the value of exports reached $36.8 billion. At the same time, employment in the sector exceeded 457,000 people in the first quarter of this year.


In recent years, the sector's impressive growth has strengthened Poland's global position as a location for modern business services. At the end of the first quarter of 2024, there were 1941 service centers in the sector in Poland, representing 1167 investors. From the beginning of 2023 to the end of the first quarter of this year, 60 new centers were established (32 in the same timespan last year), creating 4,860 new jobs. The sector employs a total of 457,100 people achieving a 7% share of total employment in all enterprises. This is another year in which employment growth in the sector (3.8 percent) has been greater than in the overall employment in the economy.

- Poland's business services sector has shown remarkable resilience in the face of macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil, but has also seized the opportunity created by shortening global value chains. As a result, it has become one of the engines of the Polish economy, generating 5.3 percent of GDP and accounting for 7 percent of total employment in the business sector - Jacek Tomczak, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Technologynoted.

Systematic increase in export value 


Poland's modern business services sector is highly internationalized, which is reflected in export share indicators. As in previous years, the sector was dominated by centers with foreign capital (91.7 percent). Investors came from 47 countries. The largest number of investors who established new centers from the beginning of 2023 to the end of the first quarter of 2024 came from the US (22 percent), Germany (7 percent), France and the UK (5 percent each). The estimated value of service exports in 2023 was $36.8 billion with an average export value per employee of $59,300. At the same time, the estimated value per employee at the end of the first quarter of 2024 rose to $63,500. The main importers of modern services provided from Poland are Germany, the UK, Switzerland and the US.


- We were curious to analyze the latest data and the correlations between them. The value of services exports has been steadily rising. In 2023, we recorded an increase of a record-breaking 22.9 percent year-on-year, with an export surplus recorded continuously since 2008. From the data collected, it is clear that productivity growth indicators are coming to the fore. At the same time, the dynamics of change in the field of automation and innovation makes it necessary for us to redefine the key indicators defining the development of the sector in the coming years - stresses Janusz Dziurzyński, President of ABSL.

Accelerated transformation


Data presented in the annual report confirms that the modern business services sector is entering a stage of accelerated transformation. With the growth of knowledge-based services, which account for more than 55.5 percent of all services, and the increasing role of mid-office processes, the share of which exceeded 50 percent for the first time, the attention of companies is shifting from growth understood mainly as employment growth to qualitative factors - productivity, sophistication, automation and innovation. Nearly 75 percent of respondents to the ABSL survey confirmed that within a year (by the end of the first quarter of 2025), they plan to implement a transformation strategy. In most cases, this strategy is geared toward automating processes (91.3 percent), standardizing them (79.8 percent) and implementing or expanding AI (70.2 percent). At the same time, more than 80 percent of those surveyed confirmed that the transformation of the current business model will be significant, very significant or fundamental, with the biggest changes expected in terms of AI-based development and virtualization. Thus, upskilling trends, although already strong, are gaining momentum.

- We are experiencing changes that strengthen our competitive edge. Last year was a watershed moment. The sector's share of Polish GDP and the value of exports per employee increased significantly despite the fact that at the same time the growth rate of employment slowed down. And while these changes were anticipated, this is a new situation. Until now, all three indicators have been correlated quite strongly - says Dariusz Kubacki, vice president of ABSL, and points out: - In the coming years, the sector will evolve in a direction oriented toward productivity, broader use of technology and automation, and this requires a focus on providing innovative solutions and strengthening digital competencies, among other things. We have already proven our resilience in the face of crises, now we need to prove our adaptability and transformation capabilities.

Krakow: a talent basin


The number of employees in Poland's centers in the first quarter of 2024 was 457,100, an annual increase of 16,570 (3.8 percent). More than half of the new places were created in the three main locations - Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw. Both Krakow and Warsaw exceeded the threshold of 100,000 employees in the sector. At the same time, Kraków maintains the highest average employment rate (351), more than 30 percent higher than the nationwide average in the centers. Twenty-five centers in Krakow employ 1,000 or more people (58.6 percent of total employment in the sector in Krakow). The data indicates that the modern business services sector should be considered a strong local specialization in Krakow. The city, for another year in a row, also maintains its leading position in the ABSL ranking in the category of highly qualified personnel resources, crucial from the perspective of the sector's development based on highly specialized services.


- For years, Krakow's universities have been an extremely important argument in attracting investors. They educate at a high level, in an increasingly modern and innovative way. Both the personnel base of Kraków and the cooperation of universities with business, so important in view of the transformation of the sector, are valued. The increase in innovation or the demand for IT specialists make investors want to make sure they have access to employees with the desired competencies - says Stanisław Mazur, 1st Deputy Mayor of the City of Kraków, and adds: - Kraków has also been rated highly over the years for its extensive business infrastructure conducive to the development of international investments and its excellent, well-connected location.



The report ABSL Business Services Sector in Poland 2024 premiered at the ABSL Summit - one of the most important events of the sector in Europe. The material was created in cooperation with Colliers, Mercer, Randstad and Randstad Enterprise. The honorary patron of the publication is the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.


The entire report can be downloaded here: link


The host city of ABSL Summit 2024 is Krakow - one of the key locations for business services sector’s projects in Europe. 


For more details, visit https://abslsummit.com/