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One in Ten Companies Tempted by Kraków. What Makes the Capital of Małopolska so Attractive?

Karina Chowaniak

As much as 12 percent of respondents are considering expanding their business into Kraków. No other city in Poland can rival Kraków when it comes to the numbers of qualified workers, and its office market is the second-biggest in the country. Kraków earned 7.1 points out of 10 for investment attractiveness in the " Investment Potential" survey conducted by Antal and CBRE. What are the factors that have contributed to its success?

Kraków is a booming academic, cultural and business hub. The city authorities have been for years doing their best to not only improve Kraków's living standards but, more importantly, its business environment as well. The fruits of their efforts are clear to see in the results of Antal's survey, which analysed the main aspects that impact the investment decisions of companies. Respondents were asked to rate the business environment in the city.  

Kraków occupies the top spots in European and Polish investment attractiveness rankings. The city's rapidly growing economy coupled with a large number of companies lead to spiking employee demand in a market that's already tilted in favour of candidates. In addition to local graduates, Kraków is growing in popularity with candidates from other regions of the country. The city's cultural life is as important as it has ever been, but it is the rapidly growing labour market that is convincing people to come to Kraków – says Sebastian Wysocki, manager of Antal's Kraków office. 

If you want the best professionals, look no further than Kraków

Kraków is considered to be a prime destination for international business, mainly due to its high supply of qualified professionals. The "Kraków's Investment Potential" survey results show that the city's educational potential, understood as the supply of future employees, is its biggest advantage. Respondents gave Kraków's higher education institutions an average score of 8.8 out of ten. There are 160 thousand students in the Małopolska province. Each year, about 50 thousand students graduate from Kraków's universities, 13 thousand of whom in technology-related fields (compared with only 7 thousand graduates in Warsaw), giving the city an enormous advantage in times of perpetual worker shortage. Finance, linguistics and computer science are the three most popular fields. It should also be noted that 28 percent of professionals and managers are willing to relocate to Kraków.  

Polish outsourcing hub 

Kraków remains the undisputed leader in business and IT services. The city's business potential, understood as the saturation of the local market with competing companies, received a score of 7.3 out of 10. The rapid growth of the IT/SSC/BPO sectors that we have been witnessing in recent years shows no signs of stopping, as proven by the countless openings of new centres. With its 157 shared services centres, Kraków places second to Warsaw, albeit by only a slight margin. Almost two times as many centres have been opened in Kraków last year. It is also worth noting that Kraków has the highest salaries in the sector. Despite the seeming market saturation and growth, new projects are still flowing in. 

Shared services are one of the pillars of the region's economy. They contribute to the growth of other industries (such as office and residential real estate, services) and the city itself, with many districts being built up as a result. It also makes Kraków more attractive in the eyes of young people from both Poland and beyond by giving them good professional development prospects accompanied by good earnings even before they graduate.  Those are the main reasons why Kraków continues attracting new citizens, allowing it to build a young, open, multinational society – says Tomasz Latocha, Vice-President of the Małopolska Regional Development Agency. 

Over 1 million square metres of modern office space 

For the last few years, Kraków has had the fastest-growing office market out of all Polish regional capitals. It is also the second-biggest office market in the country. Respondents rate the accessibility of Kraków's offices with a 7.2 out of 10. The high quality of Kraków's offices (7.8 points) and convenient public transportation connections have also received praise (7.6 points). Furthermore, the city's diverse range of office space will satisfy the needs of all kinds of companies and investors. CBRE's Joanna Mroczek claims that this is a result of there being no clearly demarcated office districts in the city. 

We have witnessed a rapid growth of business parks in Kraków in the last few years. Among the biggest office complexes are: O3 Business Campus, Rondo Business Park, Bonarka 4 Business, Quattro Business Park and Enterprise Park. Also, we see more and more modern, technologically advanced and Wellness-centred office buildings, such as Podium Park, being built in Kraków. Furthermore, there is some office space available in the city centre. Old buildings have been revitalised and now house office modules leased to smaller tenants. Rents are estimated to be at 13.50-14.00 EUR per square metre per month and have not changed for years – says Joanna Mroczek, Head of Research & Marketing, CBRE.

Living conditions in the city

Culture remains Kraków's strongest suit and respondents consider it to be the city's biggest advantage (8.9 points). Shopping opportunities, educational institutions and safety are all highly rated. Kraków's overall quality of life score, however, received only 7.7 points., That is because the quality of the natural environment, a factor that is gaining in importance, is being neglected by the authorities. Air pollution, smog and sub-par environmental policies are issues that Polish cities are struggling to deal with.


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