Exclusive OT: Iasi business services employ more than 8,000 people - ABSL
Romania's business services industry has more than 80,000 employees and contractors, while Iasi is estimated to employ more than 8,000 people, Florin Grama, the president of the Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) in Romania, stated during the first conference dedicated to the services branch in Iasi, "Iasi Business Mixer: The Northern Star of Business Services," quoted by the
"From my point of view, Iasi has a really huge potential and it is a key market for the industry," said Grama. "Iasi is definitely an important location, which we estimate to employ more than 8,000 people. The city finds itself at the beginning, but we are looking to double and triple the business here," he added.
Present at the event also, Mihai Chirica, the interim mayor of Iasi, took the floor to say that the city is increasingly attracting new investments and "the more the door is widely open, the more the business services will grow" in the future.
"Iasi is a pole of growth within the IT sector," said Chirica. "The city is open for investments and it needs to be challenged. Moreover, we need to support its challenges. We have considered that we must establish on each branch of activity working groups to facilitate the communication between companies and authorities."
In terms of Iasi's advantages, Viorel Opait, the Business Development director at JLL Romania, stated that the city is definitely the "Northern star" of Romania as it offers a good mix of infrastructure and location, with proper airport connection, while Marcin Tomasz Nowak, Delivery Centre director, IGO Eastern Europe, Capgemini, one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, mentioned the language skills and the cultural proximity, along with the competitive labour cost.
Furthermore, the business services sector in Iasi is expected to grow this year, especially in terms of BPO, as around 1,000 new positions will be available in this segment, according to Roxana Ionescu-Birsan, external relations responsible at Edurom, a Romanian-based company that provides human resources services, especially training, recruitment and consultancy. "Around 800-1,000 new positions will be open in BPO industry in Iasi this year," she said.
"However, although BPO is increasing, there are still some difficulties we have to face. The first and most important bottleneck we have noticed is the low level of training of the candidates as compared to companies' needs."
Grama has also mentioned that local education system is another important aspect for ABSL, the association intending to replicate in Iasi the master programme that ABSL is running with the University of Economic Studies (ASE) in Bucharest, a project accredited by the Ministry of Education.
ABSL, the leading organization representing the business services industry, organized the first conference dedicated to the services branch in Iasi as the city has started to become in the recent years more and more attractive to the companies looking to expand their operations in Romania.
The event brought together representatives of leading business service centres in Romania and abroad, governmental and local authorities, as well as organizations supporting the growth of this industry. The event was moderated by Colin Lovering, commercial director at Corporate Office Solutions and chairman of British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.