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Published On: May 8th, 2024|Tags: , , |10.9 min read|

Destination Overview: Romania

Romania, nestled in central-eastern Europe, has swiftly emerged as a leading Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub, particularly in services such as customer support, call centre operations, Trust and Safety, IT and finance. Many compelling advantages drive this, including competitive labour costs, a skilled and multilingual workforce, a favourable business landscape, and significant cultural alignment with Western Europe. As such, the country presents a viable option for companies planning to expand their operations and leverage efficient nearshoring and offshoring services, focusing on quality and cost optimisation.

Romania consistently ranks within the top European destinations for a wide range of global outsourcing activities. This is reflected in the numbers, as the national BPO market constantly grows, attracting regional and international players seeking to capitalise on Romania’s competitive advantages. For instance:

According to Kearney’s 2023 Global Services Location Index, Romania has garnered recognition as the 10th most attractive offshore location for services in Europe.
Referring to Statista, the revenue in Romania’s Business Process Outsourcing market will reach 343.10 million EUR in 2024.
Statista also predicts that the BPO sector in Romania will expand, with an annual growth rate of 5.93%, leading to a market volume of 457.60 million EUR by 2029.

Key areas of expertise within Romania’s BPO industry encompass various services customised to meet businesses’ diverse needs. These include handling customer inquiries, technical support, telemarketing services, user-generated content moderation, back-office operations, payroll management, IT support services, and software development. Several industries benefit from Romania’s expertise, especially in sectors such as travel and hospitality (e.g., booking platforms, airlines), e-commerce (online retail services), social media (e.g. social networking, discussion forums), healthcare (e.g., medical billing, telemedicine), financial organisations (e.g., banking, Fintech, insurance), gaming (e.g., development studios, gaming support services), and technological companies (e.g., software development firms, IT support services).

A view of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.

Outsourcing in Romania: Competitive Advantage

Many factors underpin Romania’s emergence as a competitive destination for outsourcing, each contributing to its allure as a hub for remote work and Business Process Outsourcing. From its highly skilled employees and advantageous location to its cost-effectiveness, growing economy, robust infrastructure, cultural alignment, and natural beauty, below are presented the most pivotal elements that make Romania an ideal sourcing environment:

1. Talent Pool

Romania stands out for its knowledgeable, well-educated, and multilingual workforce, excelling primarily in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The country’s mastery of English is especially notable, reflected in its 15th ranking in the 2023 EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), demonstrating its commitment to linguistic excellence. Additionally, Romania’s focus on education and development is noteworthy, aligning with the evolving demands of the contemporary world. This emphasis is evident in diverse universities, colleges, and educational institutions, ensuring a steady supply of skilled professionals. Among its over 19.6 million inhabitants, about 64.3% fall into the working-age category, as reported by sources such as Worldometers.

Romania holds a 54th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023 ranking, which assesses the ability of countries to compete for skilled individuals by evaluating various factors related to talent attraction, development, and retention.

2. Strategic Geographic Location

Romania’s proximity to European markets enables efficient communication and collaboration with clients and customers in neighbouring countries, fostering closer business relationships. Firstly, Romania’s time zone alignment with Western Europe allows for seamless provision of services like customer support during regular business hours, enhancing accessibility and responsiveness. Moreover, the country’s central location within the old continent facilitates easy travel to and from major European cities. A relatively close distance from the United States provides opportunities for convenient cooperation with American partners.

Images of the selected cities to demonstrate the time zone differences, compared to Bucharest.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Romania’s BPO sector offers significant cost competitiveness, with labour expenses significantly lower than those in diverse Western European countries and the United States. For instance, according to the Average Salary Survey, Romania’s average annual gross salary in 2024 will be approximately 29.5K EUR. In contrast, it will be 70.2K EUR in Germany, 63.5 K EUR in France, and 56.6K EUR in Italy. In addition, Romania’s living expenses are relatively minor, further enhancing the location’s appeal as an efficient outsourcing destination. Despite these savings, the providers operating from Romania uphold high standards and professionalism, ensuring cost optimisation through rigorous quality assurance measures.

4. Infrastructure capability

Romania’s commitment to infrastructure investment is an asset for modern organisations, enabling them to operate seamlessly, grow constantly, and innovate rapidly. The country offers an advanced technology framework, including high-speed internet connectivity, advancing areas like telecommunications, fostering efficient communication, data transfer, and logistics. Romania also develops innovative business parks and office spaces with state-of-the-art facilities. It continually advances communication networks and local public transportation, ensuring easy access for international clients and employees’ commuting needs.

5. Economic Conditions

Romania’s robust economy offers beneficial business conditions, with below-average labour expenses and a solid education system ensuring a steady flow of skilled and multilingual resources, which is particularly helpful for BPO entities. Government incentives, including tax exemptions and grants, further attract foreign investment and foster job creation, enhancing the country’s appeal as a prime outsourcing destination. This is especially true for organisations seeking work-from-home (WFH) opportunities in Europe. For instance, Romania was ranked as the third-best country globally for remote working in 2021, according to CircleLoop’s Digital Nomad Index.

According to the European Commission’s report on Romania in 2023, the country’s economy has improved after experiencing a slowdown. The document presents critical indicators showing a positive trend. Real GDP is forecasted to increase by 3.0% in 2024 and 3.5% in 2025, driven by robust consumption and investment, both public and private. This growth trajectory reflects improving economic conditions and suggests a promising outlook for Romania’s future prosperity.

6. Legal Considerations

As a member of the European Union, Romania’s legal framework ensures compliance with EU commercial law and robust data protection regulations such as GDPR, instilling confidence in businesses operating within its borders. Moreover, Romania’s recent inclusion in the Schengen Zone enhances mobility for employees and investors, facilitating seamless travel and collaboration within the EU. It is also worth emphasising that the Romanian government has undertaken significant legal and institutional changes over the past decades to improve corporate governance, shifting it from a centralised to a market-based model. These changes focus on legal compliance, finance, and sustainability. Annual legislation updates aim to create coherence for public and private firms, covering ownership, management, and transparency.

7. Cultural Affinity

Romania shares cultural similarities with Western European countries, particularly regarding certain social norms, values, and behaviours. Its inhabitants are renowned for their warm hospitality, welcoming nature, friendliness, and openness towards visitors. These factors can contribute to smoother interactions and understanding, especially in customer support scenarios where building connections and trust are essential.

8. Quality of Life

Romania offers a high quality of life for residents and expatriates alike, with affordable housing, healthcare, and education systems. The country treasures a rich cultural heritage, vibrant arts scene, and diverse culinary offerings, providing a fulfilling lifestyle for individuals and families. Romania’s natural beauty, including its picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, skiing, wildlife spotting, and water sports, contributes to a healthy work-life balance and overall well-being. Moreover, the country enables history enthusiasts to delve into its rich past through visits to ancient castles, medieval cities, and archaeological sites, offering a captivating journey through time and traditions.

Romania: Key Outsourcing Hubs

Romania is home to numerous cities with thriving business centres. Some top outsourcing destinations include Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, and Sibu. They are strategically positioned, boast robust connectivity, offer a substantial pool of educated professionals, provide excellent infrastructure, and are known for their rich history, diverse culture, and unique tourist attractions.

BUCHAREST Bucharest is the capital of Romania and serves as a central BPO hub for outsourcing customer support services. These include technical support, helpdesk services, and various other customer-centric functions. The city’s advantages are skilled professionals, a strong business and educational environment, well-developed infrastructure, robust communication networks, and cultural diversity. Bucharest is particularly prominent in the finance, technology, and telecommunications sectors.
CLUJ-NAPOCACluj-Napoca, located in northwestern Romania, is known for advanced BPO services, such as customer support and IT outsourcing. Often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe, it is a great destination, especially to outsource tech-related operations. Cluj-Napoca excels in industries like software development, gaming, and digital marketing, leveraging its highly skilled workforce and innovative ecosystem.
TIMISOARA Situated in western Romania, Timișoara has become a notable BPO player specialising primarily in customer support and IT-related outsourcing. It has gained recognition for its proficiency in providing multilingual services to companies operating in international markets. Timișoara’s key strengths lie in the automotive, manufacturing, and logistics industries, benefitting from its strategic location and transportation infrastructure.
SIBU In western Romania, Sibiu is an emerging BPO destination offering a comprehensive range of services, including customer assistance, back-office operations, e-commerce support, and content moderation. Its key strengths are cost-efficiency and a growing talent pool. Sibiu has seen significant growth in industries like tourism, healthcare, and retail, attracting businesses seeking high-quality BPO services at competitive rates.

A Short History of the Romanian Outsourcing Journey

Romania’s outsourcing journey began in the early 2000s, focusing initially on IT services due to its skilled workforce and low labour costs. Joining the EU in 2007 amplified this growth, providing access to more resources and markets. Cities like Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, and Sibiu emerged as key hubs, offering diverse outsourcing solutions. With ongoing investments in infrastructure and education, Romania’s BPO industry continues to expand and thrive, ensuring its status as a top destination in Europe.

Outsourcing from Romania: High Tech Case Study

An international provider of internet services catering to the hospitality sector decided to consolidate its CX initiative. Ultimately, Conectys was the exclusive partner to oversee customer and technical support multilingually in Europe, the Americas, and APAC, managing three times the usual volume. The services provided from Europe were centralised in Romania, a pivotal outsourcing centre for Conectys. The client benefited from Conectys’ highly skilled agents and a co-developed knowledge base to ensure end-user communication remained a 5-star service. Customer Satisfaction metrics were another vital addition to the service. The project also encompassed forecasting capacity, automating SLA notifications, a training program, and an employee engagement scheme.

Romania in Brief

Romania, situated in Southeast Europe, has a rich historical tapestry dating back to ancient times, influenced by many cultures, including the Roman, Ottoman, and Byzantine civilisations. It is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, encompassing the majestic Carpathian Mountains, the idyllic Black Sea coastline, and picturesque medieval towns like Brasov and Sighisoara. Romania’s economy is diverse, with key sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, IT, and tourism. The country is gaining recognition for its growing tech industry, focus on education and supportive government initiatives. Romania is a member of diverse international organisations and alliances, including the European Union (EU), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Central European Initiative (CEI) and Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Pictures of Romania, presenting its diverse possibilities.

FAQ Section

1. What makes Romania an attractive outsourcing destination?  

Romania has broad experience in BPO services, providing high quality, multilingualism and cost-efficiency. Its strategic location, modern infrastructure, and friendly business environment enhance its appeal for diverse sourcing initiatives. 

2. Which industries benefit the most from outsourcing to Romania?  

Various industries benefit from outsourcing to Romania, such as travel and hospitality, e-commerce, social media, healthcare, finance, gaming, and technology. Romania provides expertise in many services tailored to these sectors’ diverse needs, making it a preferred destination for outsourcing activities. 

3. What advantages does Romania’s talent pool offer for outsourcing?  

Romania boasts a highly skilled and multilingual workforce proficient in English, French, German, and Spanish. With a strong emphasis on higher education, particularly in technology and IT, Romania provides a talent pool aligned with the evolving demands of the global market. 

4. How does Romania’s strategic geographic location benefit outsourcing initiatives?  

Romania’s proximity to European markets facilitates efficient communication and collaboration. Its time zone alignment with Western Europe and a central location within the continent enable the seamless provision of services during regular business hours and easy travel to major European cities. 

5. How does Romania ensure regulatory compliance and facilitate business operations?  

Romania’s commitment to upholding EU commercial law and stringent data protection regulations, including GDPR, offers businesses a secure environment. Moreover, its integration into the Schengen zone streamlines mobility for employees and investors.

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