Thanks to their resilience and innovation, business services have become the backbone of the modern Czech economy
20 new centres, 15,000 new employees, 2,000 new robotized jobs, the boom in data analytics and IT services, and countless innovations to strengthen resilience. This is the balance of the past 12 months in the Czech business services sector. Despite two pandemic years and one war year, the industry continues to grow at a double-digit rate and will reach 160,000 employees at the end of this year. In addition to them, software robots provide work for another 15,000 workers. This follows from the latest survey of the Czech market of business, IT and customer services, which was carried out by the ABSL association.
Despite the lack of qualified human resources, which has prevailed in the Czech Republic for a long time, the industry is growing.
“It is mainly due to the openness of the centres to offer the flexibility of time and place. Thus, even experts who live on the other side of the country can work for employers from Prague, Brno or other big cities. Jobs in our industry are increasingly popular also among parents on parental leave who cannot afford to sit at a computer during normal working hours. The growing number of employees is therefore represented by women, not only in regular positions but also in management,”
says Jonathan Appleton, director of the ABSL association, which brings together companies operating in this sector in the Czech Republic.
The share of women is already 58%, which is 10 percentage points more than in 2018. A full 40% of women then work in managerial roles. Foreign workers account for 43% of the growth in the number of employees in the sector. They come to the centres mainly from the EU countries, but this year, 3,000 experts from countries outside the EU also came. The vast majority were citizens of Ukraine, where the business services industry is strongly established and companies tried to move their key teams to safe zones, including the Czech Republic.
Czechia, the land of robots
In addition to the growth of the number of employees, the number of robotized positions in the industry also increased – by 2,000. Software robots provide work already as 15,000 workers in business services centres, most often focused on finance, marketing, logistics or HR. Almost 5,000 experts are dedicated to the robotization of processes.
“Czech experts design and implement robotic software both in the business services centres and in their parent companies, global companies from various industries, from IT and telecommunications, through industrial production, healthcare and retail to banking, tourism and energy. If we look at all these robotization projects implemented from Czech centres, the number of jobs filled by technology will of course be many times greater,”
comments Jonathan Appleton.
In addition to robotic process automation (RPA) itself, optical character recognition (OCR, 62%) is also increasingly being used in the sector. Almost a third of the centres got chatbots into full operation, a quarter uses artificial intelligence, a fifth uses machine learning, the same share also technologies for automatic processing of natural language and 17% video or image recognition. The pandemic became a strong catalyst for the adoption of these technologies, accelerating their implementation in 63% of centres.
Innovation for resilience and growth
The massive use of technologies and the innovations associated with them ensure a high level of resilience in the whole sector. Thanks to them, people can carry out their work from anywhere, and the sector operates despite crises and extraordinary events, which was shown not only by the past two pandemic years but also by this year, which was affected by a war conflict or an energy crisis. The sector has become the backbone of the modern Czech economy, which can already be seen in the last data on the Czech GDP showing that the sector was behind the quarter-on-quarter growth.
“Innovative projects arising in our centres are very diverse and make the functioning of many global companies more efficient. For example, our experts develop energy-saving technologies for data storage or develop software that can detect most cyber threats by themselves using machine learning and artificial intelligence. They can deploy chatbots or engage in the creation of predictive or prescriptive models that predict what will happen through a combination of historical data and forward-looking algorithms,”
calculates Jonathan Appleton. Interesting projects are also being created in the area of new hybrid ways of working and cooperation, sustainability or education and talent development.
Resilience and innovation are also the main driving force of growth. Fully 66% of the centres anticipate expansion of their reach and an increase in the number of employees in 2023. Overall, the industry should grow by another 11%. ”
We expect growth mainly in the IT, research and development and data analytics areas. However, not only IT and data analytics experts but also many language-equipped professionals in accounting, finance, HR processes, education or logistics will be needed. An important prerequisite for applicants is the willingness and ability to learn new things, to be open to changes and to speak at least English. Whoever offers another foreign language can in many cases earn up to 15% more than his colleagues without language equipment,”
concludes Jonathan Appleton.
The annual ABSL conference brings news, trends, case studies and inspiration
The trends indicated by the latest ABSL industry survey, as well as several inspiring case studies and news, will be heard at ABSL’s annual conference, which is taking place this week at Prague`s Marriott Hotel, with the participation of more than 500 leading representatives of the business, IT and customer services industry. The conference is held under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the EU and the partners include Deloitte, Acamar, Aicpa&Cima, Colliers, Neoops, Serrala, Techstra, The Hackett Institute and many others. More information at https://www.absl.cz/conference/.