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Knowledge of Foreign Languages Means Higher Salaries in BPO/SSCs. German and Scandinavian Languages are in High Demand

Karina Chowaniak

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– Due to fierce competition, SSC/BPO companies have been offering the most competitive salaries in the market for years. Rapid growth generates more and more vacancies, both in newly opened centres as well as those that are expanding their business, which leads to the emergence of a candidate's market. Candidates receive up to several job offers each month, forcing employers to expand their perks packages and award raises to retain employees. It is increasingly often the case that employees are given raises when they are offered better employment conditions by the competition and are planning to resign. In such cases, employers often present them with counteroffers to keep turnover in check. The rapid growth of the sector means that losing even a professional-level employee may pose serious consequences, and finding a suitable replacement is often very challenging – says Daria Stefańska, Business Unit Manager, Antal SSC/BPO.

In 2017, SSC/BPOs offered an average gross monthly salary of PLN 6 396, which marks a 15% increase from the previous year. This was one of the biggest salary increases out of all industries included in the "2017 Antal Salary Report." What is more, Antal experts emphasize that the salary growth rate in the SSC/BPO sector reflects the demand for professionals and managers. Forecasts show that the demand will further increase this year as, according to the "2017 Company Investment Plans" report, 87% of shared services and outsourcing companies are planning to take on new employees.

Knowledge of foreign languages, with the exception of English, means a higher salary

Foreign language skills are crucial in the SSC/BPO sector. At least an intermediate command of English (B2 level), which has by now become the corporate language of choice, is required by practically all companies. Consequently, candidates who speak English will not earn more. Last year, German-speaking candidates were in particularly high demand. Candidates with French and Italian were equally as sought after. Knowledge of those languages could net candidates even PLN 1000 (gross) more a month. Dutch speakers could earn even PLN 1200 more. However, Scandinavian languages were the most valuable and candidates who speak at least one Nordic language could earn even PLN 2000 more than the average salary in the sector, regardless of role.

Experience matters

Because ever more advanced processes are being delegated to Poland, SSC/BPO centres need seasoned employees. An ideal professional-tier candidate should have at least 2-3 years of experience in a given area. The broader their knowledge concerning a given process, the better their qualifications and, therefore, the higher their salary. Knowledge of legal regulations, experience in process migrations, software skills (SAP, ERP) and various international certificates are also considered important.

Many employers treat the size of the candidate's former company as an indicator of his or her scope of responsibilities.

Most companies with several hundred or thousand employees have very narrow processes. Candidates who work in smaller companies are often responsible for an entire process (end-to-end) and have a broader knowledge of business processes, which is appreciated by employers.

More cities are drawing in SSC/BPO centres

A regional analysis of salaries in the SSC/BPO sector shows that there no longer are big salary gaps between individual regions. It still seems that the competition between employers is the strongest in Kraków, which has the highest number of shared services centres and BPO companies. The majority of advanced business processes in the areas of accounting, banking, HR and buying are being handled there. Other large cities, however, are becoming more effective in drawing in new investors, who attract candidates with high salaries which continue growing with each coming year.

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