Gábor Kovács, Director, Area Operations, EMEA Global Region, discusses SYKES in Hungary.
When did SYKES first open a centre in Hungary?
SYKES came to Budapest 20 years ago in 1999 as one of the first BPO companies in Hungary. Back then, our business was equally split between servicing local and global clients but, since 2007, we are mostly focused on providing service excellence for our global clients.
Underlining that success, SYKES in Hungary now has more than 400 employees, a brand-new office in the centre of Budapest, and we are beginning to build our Work At Home proposition.
What kind of clients do you work with?
We first started in the technology/consumer electronics sector and this remains an important part of our business, representing some 70-80% of our services. Additionally, we have expertise in banking, FMCG, industrial maintenance and internet portals support.
Without mentioning any names, we are very proud to still be a contracted partner of our very first ever SYKES Budapest client.
What languages and countries do you work in?
We help people in more than 25 languages and specialise in providing full Eastern European language support from Russia to Slovenia and Bulgaria to the Baltics. In addition, we cover English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Greek, Turkish and can provide limited support for Scandinavian languages.
How has outsourcing changed recently in Hungary?
Over the past 20 years, Hungary has become a mature location for large enterprises, especially for shared services business. Currently, there are more than 50,000 FTEs working across 110 companies in the outsourcing sector, mostly in Budapest. That underlines how much the sector has grown in recent years.
More recently, the focus has shifted from transactional to value-added services which is once more driving growth in sector, and offering many more career opportunities to the young people who work for us.
What are the main drivers or challenges in outsourcing in Hungary?
Budapest has a unique capability to serve the Easter European region while, with our very diverse language skills, also able to offer those skills to serve the Western European market.
The growth of the sector is driving competition for labour, and that will remain a challenge as we seek to recruit only the very best. According to recent research, 5% of the working population of Budapest is employed by outsourcing companies.
However, I believe that SYKES has a great position in the market to recruit and retain great staff. We have a caring culture and ethical values that our competitors envy!
How do you see the future of outsourcing in Hungary and the wider region?
Being in the field of IT-enabled services, we see the future in line with the latest tech trends – from robotics to automatic language translation. At SYKES we aim to be ahead of the curve by investing in companies that complement our engagement services portfolio and will enable us to continue to deliver a truly digital customer experience.
Our business is all about people and technology and, thanks to everyone at SYKES in Hungary, we have the best of both.