With the continous development of communication technologies, it is no longer a problem to build information bridges between countries around the world. This removes barriers and gives the chance to international companies to be innovative and flexible. In recent years, Bulgaria has become an excellent opportunity for many companies whose activities are related to outsourcing and call center support. But what exactly is this relatively new business for Bulgaria and why is it so popular among our young compatriots, mostly students or graduated philologists?
The business model of outsourcing has begun to develop in Bulgaria in 2006. The shortest explanation is: transferring the internal functions of an company to an external executant. In Bulgaria, the contract for such activity is applied by Art. 9 of the CPA,while the client and the supplier sign also an agreement defining the respective transferred services.
In their quest to be more competitive, many companies maintain online or call-to-call centers for customer service. These are offices whose primary role is to serve as a customer information center for a company.
Countries like Romania and Bulgaria attract these companies with young and educated people who speak foreign languages, but have a limited prosperous career development perspective. Other factors for selecting Eastern European countries to practice outsourcing are the relatively new and fast internet connections as well as the relatively low rental rates and maintenance of office space to accommodate call centers. Today there are more than twenty co-centers in Bulgaria. Some of the most famous companies are HP, Sofica Group, SiTEL, Regio Com. Outsourcing businesses are in the areas of technology services, online shopping platforms, and more.
Bulgaria’s role in the outsourcing business can best be illustrated by short references from existing statistics:
«Bulgaria is at ninth place according to Global Services Location Index for 2014 of the analyst company A.T. Kearney and is the only European country in the Top 10. “
“In 2015, Bulgaria ranks 3rd as the most attractive outsourcing location in the Business Process Outsourcing Index (BPO) and the Shared Service Location Index of Cushman & Wakefield’s global consulting company. »
“24,000 professionals are hired in the outsourcing industry, by 2018 this number is expected to increase to 60,000.”
«Bulgaria is the first in Europe by certified IT specialists per capita. »
The initial cash remuneration of the outsourcing staff varies between 800 and 1300 BGN depending on the skills and abilities of the employee. These amounts are on average 15 to 20% higher than the remuneration of similar companies in the world. In addition, many companies also offer good health insurance plans as well as bonuses such as food vouchers, transportation from and to the workplace and much more. Although these figures and bonuses are better than almost all other starting conditions for work in Bulgaria, there are some issues that stop job seekers from looking for call center opportunities. Many of these companies do not offer the prospect of growth in the hierarchy and most of them have mandatory night shifts.
Because of these and a number of other requirements and drawbacks, the average length of service for a call center employee is two years. But this figure also depends on the fact that a large percentage of workers are student and their motivations to work in such companies are flexible working hours, additional income and the ability to practice language skills. There are, of course, many outsourcing companies that can boast with long-time employees. Most of them occupy positions as supervisors or team leaders and their salaries reach and even exceed BGN 2,000, depending on the employer.
It seems that outsourcing will continue to develop in Bulgaria and will offer even more attractive jobs. Objectively, for the time being, this is the best choice for our young compatriots who have chosen to stay in Bulgaria and search for a decent remuneration and health insurance in line with their skills and abilities. The Outsourcing Association’s forecast in Bulgaria predicts up to 20% annual growth in the market in the next three to five years. According to latest data, 6% of the country’s GDP is generated by the outsourcing industry. Only time will show whether the future of our country will be similar to the one of Thailand or the Philippines where outsourcing makes most of the national economy.