Lithuania’s GBS & ICT Report 2021 reveals steady growth and future-focused mindset

Jun 21, 2021
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The seventh annual edition of Lithuania’s GBS & ICT Report provides a detailed overview of growth, activities and talent across the industry in 2020 – together with a confident assessment by companies of prospects for the year ahead.

The GBS & ICT Report 2021 was launched a special online event featuring keynote speaker Linda Aiello of Salesforce. As in previous years, the report is based on a survey of companies in the industry, carried out by Invest Lithuania at the beginning of 2021. A total of 68% of all Lithuania-based centres completed the questionnaire, representing 74% of the industry’s total labour force.

Welcoming the findings of Lithuania’s GBS & ICT Report 2021, Aušrinė Armonaitė, the Minister of Economy and Innovations said: “Despite a difficult year worldwide, Lithuania’s GBS & ICT has demonstrated its remarkable resilience – harnessing its skills in technology to adapt flexibly to the changing circumstances and even achieve growth, both in terms of the number of new investors and the number of people employed in the sector. Lithuania’s expertise in areas such as IT and financial services, including AML, coupled with rapid developments in emerging areas such as automation and AI, provide a strong base for further growth in the coming years.”

The main findings of the report were presented live to the international business community. Reflecting the changing nature of the modern workplace, the launch event titled “Workplace. Re-loaded” focused on the latest trends in workplace transformation. Adding to the discussion on how the world will be working in the future, Linda Aiello, VP for Employee Success at Salesforce, talked about the latest developments in this field and the experience Salesforce had at preparing for their return to the office.

“The way we live and work has changed dramatically – and we won’t be going back to the ways things were,” said Ms. Aiello. “By harnessing technology and the new tools that are becoming available, we have an opportunity to create a workspace and an employee experience that makes us even more connected, healthy, innovative and productive. That’s what I’m seeing in Lithuania’s Business services & ICT industry right now as well. With strong teams, a human-centric approach and high level of digitization, it’s flexing forward to a new, better way of working.”

Steady growth and resilience

The GBS centres polled identified Lithuania’s Top 5 advantages: the availability of well-educated talent; the availability of multilingual talent; well-developed IT and telecommunications infrastructure; competitive labour costs; and lastly, Lithuania’s stable political and economic environment – a key factor in the light of the difficulties experienced by many countries due to COVID-19.

Despite the global challenge of the pandemic, Lithuania’s GBS & ICT industry enjoyed steady, sustainable growth in 2020 – both in terms of the number of companies joining the sector, and the specialists employed. By the end of 2020, 85 foreign companies were operating business services centres across Lithuania, including 11 Fortune 500 investors such as McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, IBM and Oracle.

The year also saw some significant new entrants to Lithuania’s GBS sector, including Dexcom, EPAM, Itransition, MUFG Investor Services FinTech Limited and Rocket Software. Equally important, however, were the expansion plans announced by existing members of the GBS community such as Intrum, Nasdaq and Norian. In line with global trends, these include the addition of new, advanced functions such as R&D, AI, robotic process automation (RPA) and supply chain management (SCM).

In 2020, Lithuania’s GBS & ICT sector employed 20,170 specialists, a rise of 4.5% compared with the previous year – an impressive achievement, given the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economic situation. Based on survey data and taking potential newcomers into account, Lithuania’s GBS & ICT workforce is expected to reach almost 23,000 employees by the end of 2021.

Unsaturated and diverse community

In total, 40% of companies operating GBS & ICT centres in Lithuania are headquartered in the United States, and account for more than a third of total employment in the sector. The Nordics countries remain one of the most important regions for FDI attraction – comprising a third of all GBS & ICT centres in Lithuania, and employing more than 50% of the industry’s workforce. Tech is the leading specialisation, 41% of all business services centres in Lithuania belong to the Information Technology & Services category. Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, remains the country’s most popular destination for GBS, with all of 2020’s new centres landing in the city.

Despite strong growth, Lithuania remains one of the least saturated GBS & ICT locations in Europe. Just 30.5 per 1,000 residents in Vilnius are employed in business services centres, compared with 77.5 in Dublin and 99.7 in Krakow. This low saturation results in ease of recruitment of highly skilled talent, as well as lower growth in salaries and a lower attrition rate – making Lithuania an increasingly attractive destination for companies seeking to grow their operations.

IT remains the leading function in Lithuania’s GBS centres and will continue to grow, with 37% of centres planning to introduce or expand their IT function. In particular, Cloud Operations saw a rise of 17pp compared with the previous year, while Data Science / Big Data Analytics was up 6pp. Finance and Accounting is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, with 28% of respondents planning to start delivering financial services. Business Controlling saw the biggest rise in F&A, up 17pp on the previous year, while Travel & Expenses saw a rise of 12pp. Meanwhile, the rise of automation and digitalisation in Lithuania’s business services centres has further increased the importance of key competences such as engineering – and continuing threats to data will only increase the importance of cybersecurity.

Lithuania’s GBS & ICT sector also continues to lead the way on diversity and inclusion. With a labour force that is 51% female, Lithuania remains number 1 in the EU for the highest share of women in the workforce – an impressive figure, but one that is exceeded in the country’s GBS & ICT sector, where 52% of the workforce is female. Women can be found at all levels of organisations in the sector, representing 48% of senior management, and 42% of all GBS centre leaders.

Lithuania’s GBS & ICT Report 2021 is free to download. To obtain your copy click here.

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