Life-long education is the answer to the lack of a skilled labour force

War for talent ongoing in Slovakia.

A hybrid model of work has becomethe new norm.A hybrid model of work has becomethe new norm. (Source: Unsplash)

The evolution of business service centres (BSCs) into centres with higher addedvalue services completely changes the skills and qualities companies are looking for on the Slovak market.

In some areas, Slovakia is still able to deliver on their requirements; the local workforce is willing to learn on the job and take on new roles to fulfil the centres’ needs. In other areas, the shortage of the workforce is a problem that the leaders of the sector deal with on a daily basis. Each of them have their own mix of solutions, mostly composed of cooperation with universities, life-long learning programmes, and hiring people from abroad. These efforts are conducted by the companies individually, but also as coordinated programmes within their industrial association, the Business Service Center Forum (BSCF).

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Its vice-chair, Martin Bednár, noted that the shortage of talent is not to be resolved in a year or two. As the industry is maturing, though, it is a little easier to find experienced talent in Slovakia.

“Talent that was not available 10 years ago is available now," said Bednár.

Pandemic has not hindered growth

The industry is now the third biggest in Slovakia’s economy when it comes to the number of people it employs. The pandemic has not stopped the growth of the sector, either. Headcount growth accelerated from 3.5 percent in 2020 to 5.5 percent in 2021, based on the data of BSCF running under the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Slovakia.

Some centres reported an even bigger increase. The Dell Bratislava Global Business Centre, for example, more than doubled the average growth when it hired over 1,100 people, both internally and externally, in 2021. These were not only fresh graduates of universities, but also senior level employees as the centre is taking up more senior and even global roles, Peter Macejka, Global CSB GTM Director Slovakia Co-Site Leader at Dell Technologies, noted.

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“We are actually seen as a strategic location," said Macejka. The company replaced transitional processes with automation processes, and the centre’s employees were at the forefront of this transformation. The sector’s outlook remains positive, too. More than half of BSCF members expect a possible increase due to the further growth of the centres, while 41 percent expect no major changes. The average attrition rate in the sector remains relatively stable, at around 10-11 percent, based on the BSCF’s regular survey conducted in 2021.

Critical shortage of skilled workers

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