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HIPA Launches SSC Survey

The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), along with its professional partners EY and GWS Hub (the recruiter and owner of the SSC Heroes brand), are to prepare a detailed market analysis of the Hungarian shared services sector.

 Róbert Ésik, president of HIPA.

Called “Hungarian Shared Services and Outsourcing Insights”, the organizers say the study will be a unique 360-degree view of the sector because it will include not only answers from company executives, but will also feature opinions from employees working in shared service centers (SSCs).

“In line with our strategy to increase high value-added activities in Hungary, we highly concentrate on developing the shared services industry and on encouraging all stakeholders to participate in this journey together with us,” said Róbert Ésik, the president of HIPA. “Our purpose is to create an environment in which it is worth to operate, to invest and to work as well. We truly believe that the more we know about the industry, and the more we learn from each other, the better we can develop the business environment in order to unleash the full potential of the services industry in Hungary.”

The goal of the survey is to have the largest possible coverage of the Hungarian shared services industry, to try and ensure the collated information is as accurate as possible. Thus, any company operating in the sector (including outsourcing companies) can fill out the survey. Moreover, HIPA says it is keen to receive opinions regarding life in an SSC, by asking employees about their experiences separately.

Open and Honest

To this end, it will ask a few information specifics to each employee for validation purposes, but promises it will not give out or use any personally identifiable information and will only process information in bulk. “So, feel free to be open and honest not just about the negatives, but about the positives, too,” HIPA said in a statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Given all of the above, the organizers have created two sub-surveys: one general, the other more specialized. The “SSC Company Survey” asks about overall company specifics that typically only the leadership of each center will know about. It has a limited number of focused questions for the senior executives of SSC companies in Hungary. The “SSC Employee Survey”, on the other hand, is available for everyone currently working in captive or outsourced shared services. This survey covers a wider variety of questions from every aspect of a shared service organization.

The overall survey will be connected to a Shared Services Gala planned for this fall, where awards will be decided based on the results of the “Shared Services and Outsourcing Insights”.

Key Role in Hungary

The SSC sector plays a primary role in promoting foreign investments in Hungary, and therefore imparts a highly significant contribution to the success of the Hungarian economy, HIPA says in its statement.

Based on the sectoral breakdown of the number of newly-created jobs (which the government agency puts at 8,000 in the last three years), the SSC sector ranks second in the country. “Also, it is important to mention that the SSC sector counts as an area of high added value, where employees are offered promising career opportunities and excellent prospects for professional development.”

According to HIPA’s figures, more than 100 companies operate around 110 regional service centers in Hungary, many of which are planning further expansion in the country. “The SSC sector has become a success story in the Hungarian economy; the centers are locating ever more complex and high-added value services based on the high qualified workforce offered by Budapest and cities in the countryside,” HIPA says.

Spreading the Benefits

SSC development has typically centered on Budapest, with its many universities (Wikipedia puts the number at 22) offering a good supply of well-educated workforce. Increasingly, cities in the countryside are also playing a prominent role, and they have been continuously developing in the competition for investments over the last years.

“More and more companies are entering the countryside and target cities as Pécs, Debrecen, Szeged, or even Székesfehérvár, where universities have a lot of educated, graduate, multi-lingual young people. Also, the cities are very open to the companies and they help them in everything,” HIPA said.

“Hungary is aiming to build up the most competitive business environment of the CEE region. In order to reach that, we initiated lot of changes in terms of HIPA support in favor of investment promotion, taxation but also subsidy matters” HIPA said in its statement to the BBJ. “We are focusing on those industries which bring high added value type of activities into the country, just as the business service industry does, because it is one of the most dynamically developing industries in Hungary, which employs roughly 42,000 educated people with language knowledge, mostly belonging to Generation Y. The situation of this industry is somehow the basis for our future.”

The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency is the professional government organization tasked with promoting investment in Hungary. The agency is actively involved in the preparation of government support of investments, and says all previous records for Hungary were broken in 2016: Positive decisions were made on 71 investment projects with the support of HIPA. As a result, the agency says foreign direct investment worth more than EUR 3.243 billion came into Hungary and 17,647 new jobs will be created. A favorable trend within this is that the proportion of reinvestments has continued to increase, suggesting that companies already here in Hungary are comfortable with the environment and the benefits it has to offer. The shared service sector continues to be a strong player within the overall investment picture with 12 projects and nearly 2,500 new, high-added value jobs created last year. For more on the SSC survey, see: sscinsights.hipa.hu