The Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BOA) believes that as many as 20,000 new jobs might needed within the Bulgarian outsourcing sector by 2020. The outsourcing industry in Bulgaria has evolved of late, moving from what were merely call centre-related activities to more complex processes including analytics, building, maintaining and securing growth of core business operations. According to the BOA, the outsourcing industry is expected to generate a turnover of 2.5 billion euros, or 4.3 per cent of the GDP, by 2020.
“The Bulgarian outsourcing industry went through fundamental changes over the past decade, moving from pure customer support services (call centres) in the period 2010-2011 where the processes and technologies were relatively unified and standardised to provide high-level added value,” said Svetoslav Ivanov, executive director of the BOA. “Driven by customer needs the outsourcing sector in Bulgaria today provides far more complex processes which include analytics, building, maintaining and securing growth of core business operations such as marketing, sales, accounting, human resources management and much else. More and more outsourcing segments are transforming from BPO/ITO to KPO service platforms.”
“This sector needs experts in HR management, finance and accounting, and IT specialists,” said Plamen Tsekov, a board member of the BOA.
“Around 80 to 90 per cent of the outsourcing business in Bulgaria is concentrated in Sofia,” added Vladimir Danailov, CEO of the Sofia Municipal Privatisation and Investment Agency (SMPIA). “The added value of the outsourcing sector in the capital reached a record high 2.2 billion Bulgarian levs (1.12 billion euros) in 2016, according to the official statistics.”
Outsourcing activities currently employ 68,500 people in Sofia, over 10 per cent of the city’s total employed workforce. Sofia has a far higher percentage of university graduates than the rest of the country, with more than half of all those in the 25-64 age group possessing degrees.
However, a shortage of workers still represents a major challenge for Bulgaria, and the country is currently experience a serious demographic decline. Sofia is one of the few regions in Bulgaria registering population growth, but only due to the migration of people from other regions to the capital.
To ensure a better supply of qualified workers, SMPIA, together with the Ministry of Education and Science and businesses, has recently launched a new digital platform which facilitates dialogue between schools, universities and representatives of businesses in Sofia.