With a well-grounded tradition in BPO services, Romania was ranked fourth in the 2015 BPO and Shared Service Location Index published by Cushman & Wakefield.
“We all have the tendency to compare Poland and Romania when it comes to the BPO and SSC market, but we must take into account that Poland entered this market before Romania, ten years ago. Considering the studies carried out by various organizations, as well as the trends across universities, we have discovered that the labor force has potential on the Romanian BPO market. Romania benefits from good language skills and a high education level in young people. In spite of all this, employers are investing in programs that are increasing the employment chances in this industry,” Shibu Nambiar, COO Genpact Europe, Latin America & Africa, told BR.
Genpact entered the Romanian market in 2005. It started with three customers and approximately 80 employees. “At the moment, we have a portfolio of over 50 customers in Europe and more than 4,500 employees,” Nambiar noted.
The company has focused a great deal on expanding the team to match its operational necessities. “Over the past two years, we have hired approximately 1,500 people each year, 70 percent of whom were actively recruited. The Bucharest office is the largest in Europe, with over 2,100 employees, because the most complex operations are delivered from Romania,” said Nambiar.
According to data from the risco.ro website, Genpact’s turnover in Romania totaled EUR91m, with a net profit of EUR9.96m and a net profit margin of 10.9 per cent.
“Our targets include the growth of the business and operations as well as moving our office to a new building and launching a new internal platform dedicated to our employees. We expect to expand the Romanian team to 5,000 employees. At global levels, we plan to grow by 16-17 per cent,” Nambiar went on.
BPO players canvassed by BR all agreed that BPO services have evolved and specialized a great deal since the initial moment when they entered the market.
“In the past 24 months, we have seen a gradual change of BPO needs in Europe, with increased demand for global shared services centers (GBSC) instead of just shared service centers. The portfolio of services at GBSC includes finance, procurement, HR, accounts payable and receivable among other services. Most GBSC are in Eastern European countries, where Romania plays a key role in this market,” Andreea Stanescu, vice-president of Stefanini EMEA Delivery, told BR.
At the moment, Stefanini has more than 2,000 employees in BPO activities, 200 of these working from Romania. “We intend to expand our team by 15 percent this year. (…) In 2015, the employee retention rate reached 80 per cent,” Stanescu continued.
Last year, Stefanini’s business in Romania reached EUR140m, marking 30 per cent growth for the application division (representing one third of the turnover) and 28 per cent growth for the infrastructure services division, including the service desk.
Romania’s contribution to commercial revenues in the EMEA region was substantial, of around 40-50 per cent, according to Stanescu.
Stefanini has expanded its portfolio with 15 new clients, most of which are multinational companies from industries such as FMCG, energy, banking, automotive and chemicals.
The evolution of the services offered by BPO businesses is closely dependent on customer needs, which are constantly evolving.
Since Romania is an emerging market, and more and more organizations have moved their Shared Service and non-BPO operations to the country, salaries have been constantly growing in the past years (twice as high now compared to 2004/2005), and the trend will continue, says Cobbaert.
Over the years, the recruitment process has also changed, and recruiters face new challenges. “New processes such as remote video interviews, online tests, social media background checks, remote group interviews and collaborative client-Conectys interviews are invaluable resources that have dramatically improved the efficiency of Conectys’s global recruitment programs (on-site and work from home),” says Cobbaert.