80% of IT and business service centres want to move more into automation.

Published On: 7. 3. 2024

80% of IT and business service centres want to move more into automation. Even so, most employers in the sector are planning to recruit new people

2024 will be the year of advanced automation and robotics. Robots already hold the equivalent of nearly 20,000 FTEs in the IT and business services industry, but in the coming year, 80% of companies in that industry plan to extend automation projects to other processes and services. The main reasons are to drive down global costs by leveraging the digital experience and technology talents in the Czech market – which enables faster implementation of AI and digital projects for their international companies. However, even a greater focus on automation does not mean that the industry does not need people. On the contrary. It plans to recruit 15,000 specialists in 2024. That’s according to ABSL’s latest survey, which was presented yesterday at a meeting of industry leaders and can be found here.

“According to our survey, 59% of Czech business and IT service centres plan to expand and grow in the coming period. We therefore expect 15,000 new jobs to be created in the sector this year alone, across the whole of the Czech Republic, especially in dynamic locations such as Brno, Liberec, Hradec Králové and České Budějovice,”

explains Jonathan Appleton, Director of ABSL, adding:

“These will be innovative, digital and global, high value-added positions that make a significant contribution to the country’s vision as a digital and innovative leader in global business.”

Investors are attracted by experience with technology

The fact that the most common positions will be related to digitalisation and technology adoption is evidenced by the ranking of the fastest growing areas of business and IT services, which is led by cyber and information security services, IT support and data analytics. This will certainly be influenced by the fact that 86% of centres plan to accelerate their digital transformation, in which they are already leading the way globally.

“The fact that centres in the Czech Republic are developing and deploying advanced technologies, which are then used by all the world’s major global companies, helps the Czech Republic to maintain its strong and stable position among the countries that are in the crosshairs of international companies as a suitable destination for establishing and operating an innovation or service centre, despite the higher costs here,”

comments Jonathan Appleton, adding that there are already around 380 IT and business service centres operating in the Czech Republic.

AI and the digital future of the industry

Artificial intelligence is also a big topic in the sector. Over the past two years, it has proven its ability to improve productivity and efficiency and act as a catalyst for growth. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that centres using it are growing at twice the industry average. A full 39% of centres then believe that innovation in AI will fundamentally change the way work is done. The challenge for the future, however, will be learning how to treat AI properly. To understand that it is not standard software, but a tool in its own right that can and does make mistakes, “not listen”, or develop assignments in a different than desired direction. However, in collaboration with human experts, it can move the entire industry into a new, fully digital era.

Where to get 15,000 experts?

In both cases, the list of the most important priorities and risks perceived by the individual centres for 2024 starts with human resources. The industry will grow by 15,000 employees with the necessary digital skills this year, and there are not enough of them in the country. This makes recruitment and nurturing employees the number one priority for industry employers.

“The data from our report shows that local employers are able to attract, engage and retain skilled people despite the labour market situation. 40% of the workforce is made up of expatriates from virtually all over the world, giving the industry an attractive and inspiring international vibe; wages for some leadership and technology roles are in many cases in the six figures and grew by an average of 6.5% last year; and the average retention of employees in the industry is steadily increasing year-on-year,”

calculates Jonathan Appleton, who believes that companies will continue to find the skilled employees they need this year. However, a simplification of recruitment from abroad and a more flexible economic migration strategy would be welcomed by most employers in the industry, particularly for countries such as India, South America, especially Brazil and Colombia, the Philippines, Balkan countries such as Serbia and Albania, and Turkey.