In anticipation of a wave of demand from businesses nearshoring some of their processes, Poland’s Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL), has produced a report to compare the attractiveness of Poland’s cities from the perspectives of shared services centres.
The Covid 19 pandemic is said to have accelerated the process by which businesses — western European and US businesses in particular — are “reshoring”, “nearshoring” or even “onshoring” activities that had formerly been moved to lower cost locations further afield as part of globalisation.
But the trend was in train before the pandemic and as businesses move these functions closer to home, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are among those thought likely to benefit most because the difference in labour costs still represents a saving, and skills, particularly language skills, are high.
The ABSL’s report, Investment Potential of Polish Cities – Location Benchmark of the Business Services Sector, includes an objective ranking based on hard data and a subjective ranking based on managers’ assessments.
The subjective ranking was based on responses from managers of modern business service centres in Poland. Respondents were asked to compare cities in terms of: their accessibility by road, rail, and air; the size of the talent pool; labor costs; availability of modern office space, it’s quality and rent price; overall quality of life; quality of local universities; quality of cooperation between business centres and local universities; and cooperation with local investor support or development agencies.
Seven cities were evaluated: Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Katowice, GZM (Upper Silesia) and Tricity.
Tricity wins subjective ranking
TriCity – the conurbation which comprises Gdansk, Gdinia and Sopot – came top of the subjective ranking, followed by Poznań and Wrocław.
The objective ranking, based on statistical analysis of the same categories as the subjective survey, considered additional cities: Lublin, Rzeszów, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin, Białystok, Kielce, Radom, and Tarnów.
Warsaw was in front by the objective measures, followed by Krakow and Katowice in equal second place, while GZM was third.
ABSL said a thorough analysis of both rankings provides valuable knowledge for local authorities by indicating discrepancies between perception and actuality and may be a guideline for information and promotion activities.
The association also pointed out that the discrepancies may also indicate more deeply rooted problems that require action. “The comparative analysis of the rankings creates space for the implementation of changes increasing the investment potential of the location and increasing its competitive attractiveness,” said ABSL vice president Wojciech Popławski.
EC looks into ‘quality of life’ throughout Europe
The subjective part of the survey does have echoes of the European Commission’s recent Perception Survey on the Quality of Live in European Cities which was published in October 2020. But while “quality of life” has been a greater preoccupation in the light of the Covid 19 pandemic, the research for the EC survey was conducted in 2019.
It considered Europe in its entirety and considered a range of criteria and is complex and nuanced, but in the overall satisfaction score a number of non-capital cities scored more highly than their respective capitals, including Glasgow in Scotland, Rennes in France, Malaga in Spain and Gdansk in Poland.