We need to stop the brain drain

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APT: We need to stop the brain drain
Published in July 2016 by the magazine Outsourcing Today, a publication of The Diplomat

Romania should develop more in order to stop the brain drain: we should have a safer health system, a more flexible educational system and a better infrastructure, says Sorina Donisa, CEO, APT Group.

The company started back in 1996 as a consulting company mostly for the financial and banking sector and since 2003 it developed the outsourcing business line. “Currently we employ over 2,000 people from which more than 650 are involved in delivering BPO services to our clients, “Donisa tells Outsourcing Today.

“Romania should have a safe health system that offers stability and security to the young generation and a more flexible educational system in which companies don’t need years to adapt the curriculum according to the market needs and in a way that children enjoy what they learn”, says Sorina Donisa. We need also better infrastructure, including infrastructure that encourages internal tourism. “In this way the young generation could think twice before leaving the country”, says she.

APT serves mostly the EMEA region, but it also has worldwide operations, covered by approximately 60 people. “The most frequent languages that we cover besides English are: French, Italian, Spanish, and we face an increased demand for German, Russian and Turkish,” she says.

“If we were to compare the skills required by the jobs in the past and now, we see a big change in the sense of complexity of the skills and level of experience. If in the past the most important skill was the foreign language; now we face needs that combine three requirements: the foreign language with the technical skills (Excel, SQL, Photoshop, HTML, web design, project management) and/or level of experience”, she adds.

Romania, far and away from scarcity

Donisa says Romania is far away from reaching its potential, especially in third tier cities. “We should create our own model and invest in creating a big and strong Service Providers’ community. We have a huge advantage, IT infrastructure that is excellent and accessible everywhere, especially in comparison with western Europe. We also have a fantastic potential for software development which can help the BPO industry to come up with innovative solutions that bring added value to the customers, not only with cost advantage”, she says. “This way we can keep our ‘brains’ at home and compel Europe to look to Romania as the most dynamic business environment and trend setter for the new generation”.

However, the large cities still face a paradox: even if the labor demand exceeds the offer, the situation could be improved if the education system could better develop the right skills required by the market. “Even if the demand is high in Bucharest and second tier cities, we still see a lot of young people that don’t find jobs or work as sales reps in malls although they have university diplomas. This happens because they don’t have all the skills requested by the market”.

A solution for expanding the existing businesses in the big cities would be to attract personnel from other areas of the country, a phenomenon which already happens. Or, for the business community to take over the responsibility of investing and training the younger generation that has potential but for the moment doesn’t have all the skills necessary for doing the job, she explains. “This means taking the responsibility to invest in a young graduate of university or even college and train him for a couple of months and expect him to really do the job only after this period. Indeed, this means that the companies take over a part of the educational system responsibilities and bear the cost of developing the needed skills. We see this behavior more in the industrial business where, because of lack of qualified workers, the companies qualify people inside their factory”.

While the attrition rate grew over the past three years mainly due to better career opportunities and bigger salaries, it will get only larger, since all companies expand. “The competition on the market is higher and higher due to the business sector increase in Romania and we see on the market an expansion of the benefit packages and a flexibility in meeting the young generation’s needs for a work and life balance”.

But whoever offers better conditions will attract better resources. “The flexible working hours, an attractive working environment, team events, personalized development plans, CSR projects are only few of the actions that will help a company create a spirit of belonging among people but all these should be sustained by a comfortable salary package”, she concludes.

More information on the APT Outsourcing services at https://www.apt.ro/hr-outsourcing-ro/