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putting people first: 3 talent trends for business services companies in Poland.

What does the future hold for the business services sector in Poland?

what does the future hold for the business services sector in Poland

As the talent landscape continues to evolve, new changes and shifting demands have put greater pressure on employers in Poland. The business services sector is no exception. 

According to the 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends research, which surveyed more than 1,000 C-suite and human capital leaders across all industries in 21 markets globally, 84% of employers in Poland report the skills gap will create greater challenges for their business in the near future, compared to 72% who say the same globally. Most (88%) say increasing automation is affecting workforce planning and shifting the talent they need in their organizations, and 65% feel digital transformation is moving too fast and they cannot keep up with the shifts — 9 points higher than the global average of 56%. 

Beyond technological challenges, employers in Poland cite major challenges they expect to face this year. The top three include: the inability to attract qualified candidates (37%), increased burnout rates among their talent (29%) and difficulty maintaining recruitment efforts during a hiring increase (29%).

Between the growing influence of AI, increasing skills gaps and competition for qualified talent, and workers demanding more control of when and where they work, employers in the sector face more complexity than ever. But how employers respond to these changing priorities, and how they support their people, will be the deciding factor in how successfully they can grow their businesses.

focus on talent in a dynamic landscape

While the past few years have seen plenty of economic volatility, the business services sector in Poland has remained largely stable. In fact, the industry is growing faster than the overall market. According to ABSL research, the number of jobs at centers grew by 3.8% in the last year, contributing to the 47% increase since 2019. There’s also been a marginal increase in the share of total employment in the sector, growing from 6.7% in 2023 to 7.0% in 2024. 

This shows that, despite the threat of companies moving their centers to other markets, global businesses still see the value in leveraging the Polish workforce. However, there are some emerging challenges facing the industry. For one, there’s been higher demand for specialized skills, and decreasing demand for entry-level support roles. Meanwhile, mid-office roles now make up more than half the sector (53%), meaning that — for the first time in ABSL history — back-office roles make up less than half of all roles. At the same time, the use of automation is increasing rapidly, with a quarter of centers saying automation is above 30%, and 20% say they’re already using AI in their IT, finance and HR functions.

All of this means that centers have to adapt their people strategies to attract, retain and empower their people at a time when the outlook for the industry is mixed. Although 2023 was a strong year for the sector, with export performance up by more than 20%, growth is expected to normalize this year. Overall, 66% of centers say they plan to increase hiring in 2024, compared to 74% in 2023. More companies also report plans to decrease employment — jumping from 3% in 2023 to nearly 8% this year.

3 ways to put people first

Given this uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for centers to focus on retaining their people, giving them the tools to continually learn and grow in their jobs, and providing the flexibility that talent increasingly demands. So, what’s the best path forward for business services centers in Poland? The 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends research reveals key strategies they can leverage to incorporate AI, elevate the skills of their people and build effective hybrid work cultures.

trend #1: AI redefines the way work gets done

While AI has long promised to transform the world of work, that vision is now becoming a reality as more companies integrate AI to increase productivity, among other benefits. According to the Talent Trends research, C-suite and talent leaders in Poland cite three major gains as top benefits from AI implementation: the ability to automate workflows(24%), the ability to identify employees for promotions (24%), and greater efficiencies and consistency in their processes (22%).

Despite the many advantages, leaders have some concerns about the growing use of AI. The 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends research finds the greatest areas of concern among leaders in Poland include: the forced redeployment of talented workers (31%), over-reliance on automation (24%) and the risk of amplifying bias or being used irresponsibly, unfairly or unethically (24%). However, these concerns don’t seem to impact employers’ willingness to adopt AI. Nearly all respondents in Poland (98%) also say the adoption of technology has enhanced the way they attract, engage and retain talent. Moreover, ABSL data shows that 86% of centers view AI as more of an opportunity than a threat.

Indeed, AI has proven to be a useful tool to overcome what has typically been a challenge for centers in Poland: a declining talent pool. As centers find themselves competing for talent and threats from other markets, AI has been used to help replace certain roles. This has led Poland to have a higher maturity with AI than other markets, in terms of automation adoption. The value of leveraging AI in place of certain roles is clear — the number of centers reporting that the availability of a talent pools is no barrier at all has jumped to nearly 18% in 2024, up from around 8% in 2023, according to ABSL.

As centers seek to adopt or expand their use of AI, it will be important to have a clear strategy in place to achieve the greatest success while reducing risk. To ensure an effective and compliant approach, consider these tips:

  1. Create alignment across the company for how and when AI can be used — and when it shouldn’t. Defining AI guidelines and ethical standards will help to establish common practices across the organization.

  2. Ensure the team is prepared for new ways of working. Focus on transparency and introduce AI and automation gradually so the team can adjust and be best prepared to adopt new tools and new ways of working. 

  3. Identify early adopters in your team who are excited at the prospect of embracing AI in their work. Sharing their stories and successes will help to create excitement and demonstrate the value of AI, thereby helping the rest of the team to drive change together.

trend #2: inherent core skills and motivations emerge as must-have criteria

As external forces continue to influence the future of the business services sector in Poland, they have also affected the type of talent that centers employ. For example, there’s been a clear increase in centers seeking experienced professionals over entry-level talent. According to ABSL, the amount of entry-level employees in the sector in Poland has decreased from 31% in 2020 to just over 25% in 2024, and the number of individuals in specialized roles has grown to more than 56%, compared to 51% in 2020.

At the same time, the overall age of center workers continues to skew older. The amount of employees 35 or older has increased steadily year over year, from 29% in 2019 to 43% in 2024. Meanwhile, almost half of 18-28 year olds working in centers have only been there two years or less. 

Still, when hiring for early-career talent, it’s clear that centers have people’s inherent skills and future potential in mind. The 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends research finds that top criteria for leaders in Poland include critical thinking and emotional intelligence (84%), as well as potential to grow into a position (78%). Employers evaluate senior-level hires similarly. Top criteria include critical thinking and emotional intelligence (88%), as well as potential to learn or grow into the position (84%).

Interestingly, Poland is one of few markets (out of 21) that assigns high value to previous experience in unrelated fields. Whereas the global average for this criteria is just 57% for early careers and 62% for senior-level roles, in Poland, 82% of employers place emphasis here for early careers and 86% for senior-level roles. 

This suggests they understand the value of securing talent from other sectors with transferable skills to overcome skills shortages — a strategy that is important to skills-based organization models. This also indicates a potential for increased competition for talent across all sectors. As competition increases and talent pools continue to shrink, the sector should aim to shift to a skills-based approach in response — hiring based on inherent core skills and potential to learn and develop.

Given expected normalized growth for the business services sector in 2024, along with the need for new skills competencies, businesses would also benefit from reskilling and upskilling current talent to compensate for skills gaps. The good news is that, according to the Talent Trends research, 84% of leaders in Poland recognize the value of reskilling as a way to retain talent, while 73% see reskilling as necessary to overcome talent shortages. At the same time, however, 73% say they want to make more of an effort to reskill talent but don’t know how, surpassing the global average of 61% by 12 points.

While transitioning to a skills-based organization will have its challenges, here are three strategies to help facilitate the shift:

  1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Instead, identify the skill sets that are most critical to the center. This is a lower-risk approach that can enhance change management and increase the likelihood of success.

  2. Assess how AI-powered technology can help map out the skills that are most needed and where to find them. Doing so will allow you to better discover and identify talent with those skills faster than manual processes.

  3. Ensure hiring managers are trained not to underestimate the value of a person’s inherent core skills. Using data and internal success stories can help validate the approach, emphasizing how potential and aspirations to learn can be better indicators of success than what experience is on a candidate’s resume.

trend #3: the hybrid work revolution keeps delivering an edge

With remote and hybrid work becoming widely accepted following the pandemic, such arrangements have become crucial in attracting and retaining talent. Randstad’s 2024 Workmonitor research discovered that 70% of more than 27,000 workers around the world want the ability to work remotely at least a few days per week. The research also finds that more than one-third (37%) wouldn’t accept a job that doesn’t offer that flexibility. Randstad Enterprise’s latest Global In-demand Skills research validates these findings; the number of people who desire remote and hybrid opportunities outnumber job postings by 2 to 1.

Despite the clear preference among talent, employers still have some work to do to optimize their remote work strategies. In the 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends research, while 30% of leaders globally agree completely that their organization has found the right balance, 33% are not confident in their policies. For Poland, the disparity is more striking; only 12% of leaders strongly believe they have the right balance and more than three-quarters (78%) are less confident.


While those numbers represent leaders from across all industries, the business services sector seems to be ahead of the curve, according to ABSL findings. Hybrid work continues to be the most common work arrangement compared to full-time in-office and fully remote situations. The number of people in the sector who work hybrid has increased to almost 61% in 2024, up from just over 57% last year. 

Also, nearly 59% of centers are looking to hire people who reside in close proximity to their locations so they can be present in the office, compared to those looking anywhere in Poland (39%) or anywhere in the world (11%). 

While some studies show the benefits of being present in an office at least a few days a week, in terms of better collaboration and combating the negative health risks of remote work. By continuing to offer hybrid opportunities, centers can ensure they attract and engage talent by meeting their talent experience expectations, while fostering the collaboration and creativity of meeting face-to-face part of the week.

To build and maintain a successful remote work strategies, consider these tips:

  1. Determine and clearly communicate which roles are eligible for flexible arrangements, while striving to be as inclusive as possible. Find ways to ensure that employees whose jobs require in-person attendance most of the time can perform some aspects of their work off-site.

  2. Make sure the team’s time spent together in the office is meaningful and productive. Don’t ask people to commute in if being there won’t add value. This can be done by scheduling face-to-face meetings on days when people are in the office together and creating opportunities for impromptu connections that drive creativity and collaboration.

  3. Continually evolve the program to ensure it still meets people’s needs. Conduct regular employee surveys about the hybrid policies to keep the program aligned with expectations, and be ready to adjust policies as needed.

make people your greatest asset

While the business services sector in Poland continues to face ongoing change and increased competition for skilled talent, a common theme emerges: The centers that remain focused on their people will be best positioned for long-term wins. 

As AI introduces new possibilities around how work is done, preparing the team with the knowledge to utilize these tools can unlock opportunities for both employees themselves and the organization as a whole. Meanwhile, focusing on the inherent core skills of candidates and current employees alike — and recognizing their potential to learn new skills — is key to maintaining a high-performing and adaptable workforce that can help your business thrive in any environment. And as hybrid work continues to be a key benefit for employees, effective yet adaptable policies will remain essential to attracting and retaining talent, driving engagement and motivating your people daily.

The business services centers that leverage these strategies to enhance the talent experience will have a key benefit: The ability to empower their people in a constantly changing landscape.

Get additional insights on the 2024 Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends findings.

*This content originally appears in the Association of Business Services Leaders (ABSL) Business Services Sector in Poland 2024 report, and is published here with permission from ABSL.