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Cracow among top polish cities attracting investors – BEAS report results

Poland's second-largest city is recognized as an attractive place for conducting business. In the latest edition of the Antal and Cushman & Wakefield report - BEAS, Cracow's average rating in terms of all factors influencing companies' investment decisions was 76 out of 100. Compared to the previous study edition in 2021, this score increased by 11 points. The favorable assessment is influenced by an advanced network of scientific research units and their highly educated graduates, well-prepared and developing infrastructure, and the second-largest modern office space base after Warsaw. 

The fourth edition of the Business Environment Assessment Study (BEAS), created by Antal and Cushman & Wakefield with partners Baker McKenzie, PAIH, Employers of Poland, Pro Progressio, and Vastint, reveals the investment plans of company heads operating in Polish cities for 2023-2025. Poland has been maintaining and strengthening its position as a leader in attracting investments, including foreign ones, for some time. 

Investment potential in Cracow continuously growing 

Key factors for business development in Cracow include the proximity to the airport, the A4 motorway, and a rich network of railway connections, including international ones. Expanded infrastructure such as the Nowa Huta Przyszłości investment areas and the dynamically innovating Cracow Technology Park represent additional city assets. Moreover, the presence of many renowned higher education institutions translates into a highly specialized workforce, attracting numerous investors who create new jobs. 

Cracow is well-rated on a European scale. It achieved a high position in the prestigious "fDi" magazine ranking as one of the top ten large European cities of the future. It was distinguished for its business-friendly environment, rich human capital, and high quality of life, attracting investors from all over the world. The number of investment projects in the city is steadily increasing in sectors such as modern business services, finance, high-tech, and recently, research and development centers and startups. The BSS sector in Cracow includes over 260 companies employing around 100,000 workers, and there are also over 500 technology companies with nearly 50,000 IT employees – says Jerzy Muzyk, Deputy Mayor of the City of Cracow. 

Business services and IT sector specialists most sought after 

The employment potential in Cracow was highly rated by the respondents, scoring 74 out of 100 points and taking second place among 9 Polish cities. IT sector staff is particularly sought after, and the diversity of companies – from banks to startups – means that there is a demand for programming specialists in almost every language. The city's strong technological potential also translates into the hiring of experts in areas such as AI, IoT, Machine Learning, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity. Cracow also stands out for its highly qualified staff in administration, HR, and linguistic competencies. 

 

Thanks to a stable job market, Cracow is an attractive place for people from other countries who are looking for better career opportunities and development. It is one of the largest business and technological hubs in Poland, attracting specialists from all over the world who are readily included in the recruitment processes. A very interesting solution often chosen by large companies is the possibility of employing experts on an outsourcing basis. For one of our Cracow clients, we employ over 250 employees, and this number is constantly growing, which only shows the real scale of needs in the IT market – explains Edyta Morek, Senior Consultant, Antal IT Services.

Developers' activity in the office market 

Over the past few years, the resources of modern office space in Cracow have been steadily increasing – by the end of 2023, they amounted to over 18 million sqm. The city maintains its leadership position among regional cities in this area, and the average office space rating of 83, one of the higher in the report, testifies to its quality and attractiveness to investors. 

In 2023, the volume of signed agreements amounted to over 200,000 sqm. This was the highest result among the largest regional markets, confirming that tenants' activity in Cracow is not weakening. New agreements constituted 45% of transactions. Renegotiations accounted for 47%, and the expansion level was 8%, showing that companies continue to develop and consider the office as a key factor supporting this process. Sustainable and modern office properties with a wide range of services such as small retail and restaurants are most in demand among tenants. Such aspects are appreciated by employees and actually translate into increasing office occupancy. This is an important signal for developers and owners of such properties – ESG and amenities in the building are "a must" in the rapidly evolving office market in Poland – concludes Karolina Słysz, Associate, Regional Cities, Office Agency Cushman & Wakefield.

The city attracts students 

Cracow offers the opportunity to study at one of 23 higher education institutions, with the Europe-renowned Jagiellonian University among them. The report's score of 79 points, which is also the highest, confirms the city's attractiveness in terms of pursuing higher education. Students choose to study in the capital of Lesser Poland mainly due to the high standards of numerous programs focused on innovation, as well as the potential for learning foreign languages, preparing them for work in an international environment. The city offers modern university campuses, possesses advanced laboratories, and research centers, making it an equally good base for investors moving in the sphere of new technologies. 


Cracow's universities follow the job market and modern business trends, including the needs of the rapidly developing shared services sector. Students can take advantage of many specializations offering broad career prospects, such as data analysis, information technology, operational management of outsourcing services, or artificial intelligence – says Edyta Markiewicz, RPO Service Manager, Antal SSC/BPO. 


About BEAS 

The "Business Environment Assessment Study" was conducted using the CAWI method among 1,290 company decision-makers in Poland between July 31 and August 25, 2023. Reports developed as part of this and the previous edition of the project are available on the new interactive portal, allowing for the comparison of key indicators for cities and downloading selected compilations at www.investmentpotential.pl 
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