Remote offshoring, or in/on-shoring, are no longer the only answer for customer service solutions; Romania – a sizeable opportunity still underexploited.
Companies have often relied on a limited number of geographic sourcing areas, mostly far away (offshore), as part of their outsourcing strategies. However, they also look to deliver enhanced customer service and consolidate cost effectiveness, so lately we are seeing nearshore locations emerge (as opposed to remote locations such as India, Africa, the Philippines and China).
The current, growing role of nearshoring locations is clearly the result of an increased focus on drivers like proximity – either cultural or geographical – languages, skills, and business environment that create real value to the final users, while still being cost-conscious.
The share of the outsourcing market sourced from Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) is growing.
CEE locations such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia enjoy strong skills, EU regulations, advantageous labour costs and solid infrastructure. However, these areas are becoming increasingly over-crowded while Romania – though the second-largest CEE talent basin after Poland (but with labour cost level tangibly – 40% – lower), is relatively still to be exploited.
Romania is fighting its way towards the first positions in the latest reports:
- Tholon’s most recent “Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations” (overall worldwide) report includes several CEE countries, and ranked Romania, with its capital Bucharest at number 40, a better position than in the previous edition when it was 44th.
- Cushman & Wakefield 2015 BPO Location Index ranked Romania at no. 4
- A.T. Kearney 2014 index ranked Romania fifth among the most attractive outsourcing destinations in Europe
IDC’s recent survey highlighted the following qualities of Romanian locations:
- Attractive price versus performance
- Young, motivated and flexible workforce with strong language skills
- Close cultural fit and similar mentality to US/Western Europe
- High level of commitment to projects and the overall relationship with the client
In fact, major global players such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, P&G, ING Bank, Deutsche Bank,Société Générale, Unicredit and others, choose Bucharest, together with some other Romanian cities, as main service hub.
Eastern Europe in general, and Romania in particular, is perfect for those markets where French and English are required languages.
- One of the widest, and most ‘balanced’, foreign language skills range in the whole of Eastern Europe (according to Lugera HR Match Makers, out of the total of educated population: 47% speak English, 29% French, 9% Italian, 8% Spanish, 7% German, etc.)
- the second-largest talent pool in CEE: above 300.000 graduates per year (more than Hungary and Czech Republic combined)
- one of the best internet connection infrastructures (according to Bloomberg 2013: 5th position world-wide, and 2nd position in the whole Europe)
- one of the lowest labour costs amongst major countries in all Eastern Europe
- a very high cultural and social affinity with Western Europe.
CEE, and especially Romania, offers choices for all those companies seeking to take advantage of fast emerging top outsourcing destinations with high level language skills, large talent pools, low-cost skilled labour, social and economic stability. All these are relevant items for customer care and similar core tasks.
Bottom line: Romania is a nearshore “smart”, sizeable and ready to be approached destination, still to be fruitfully leveraged.