• Lisbon, Oporto and Braga are the Portuguese cities with the largest number of shared service centers
• Portugal stands out from Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland, which traditionally are attractive countries for this sector
• Portugal attracts global companies due to its quality on human resources, geographic location, accessibility, country stability and attractive real estate
• Market trends consider the centers multi-functionality, new regions to explore, new offices design and building types
• These regions have played a key role in their own individual advertising. An example of this is the implementation of programs such as Invest Lisboa, Invest Porto, Invest Braga, Choose Coimbra and Famalicão Made In.
Savills Aguirre Newman presented today, at the Lisbon Intercontinental Hotel, the first study on Shared Service Centers in Portugal - Shared Services | A Real Estate Approach, revealing the main trends, dynamics and real estate performance for the sector.
Due to the growing concern of companies in optimizing their internal resources, the service business concept has advanced. As such, the traditional way has changed, resulting in the adoption of a new concept: Shared Services, which presupposes structured and centralized service points, usually offering functionalities in Human Resources, Accounting, Technologies, among other sectors. More recently, there has been an evolution towards the adoption of the excellence center expression.
According to the Savills Aguirre Newman study, it is possible to observe that the main advantages of Shared Service Centers are: cost reduction, productivity increase, quality service improvement and company growth.
In addition to these advantages, a number of factors such as the lack of geographical barriers, the improvement of the employees’ language skills, the costs optimization and personalization, facilitate and allow the installation of shared service centers in several countries.
Shared Service Centers (SCC) in Portugal
Teresa Cachada, Analyst of the Consulting Department of Savills Aguirre Newman says: “In what concerns the situation, global companies increasingly identify Portugal as a country with attractive and distinct characteristics to position themselves and establish their shared service centers. The quality of our Human Resources is a highlighted factor and highly valued by companies. The strategic location of Portugal, as well as accessibility, social stability and the strong investment made in infrastructure are also relevant criteria and make our country an increasingly clear and prominent choice for companies in this sector”.
There are several factors that weigh on the choice of Portugal, when implementing a Shared Services Center:
• Human Resources Quality: more than 73,000 graduates per year. About 40.1% of students have knowledge of two or more foreign languages
• Geo location: GMT + 00 time zone, proximity to other European cities and African continent
• Accessibilities: Rail and road network easily reaching several parts of the country
• Country stability: Portugal is the 3rd most peaceful country in the world, reflecting a great social stability
• Attractive Real Estate Sector
Lisbon is the Portuguese city with the largest number of shared service centers, identifying more than 20 centers in the city, followed by Oporto with more than 10 and Braga with more than 5. Portugal stands out from Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland, which are traditionally attractive countries for this sector.
The study also highlights the key role that each region has played in advertising themselves, by means of approaches that provide project counseling/support, business support and incentives, community funding, hiring support, IMI decrease, among others, using projects such as Invest Lisboa, Invest Porto, Invest Braga, Choose Coimbra and Famalicão Made In.
The event also highlighted the interest shown by other cities, such as Fundão, Setúbal and Figueira da Foz, because they have universities that allow to attract talent on one hand and relatively lower costs compared to large urban centers, on the other.
If on one hand it is very important to promote Portugal as an attractive country for the establishment of shared service centers, the existence of central and visible buildings, with good proximity to services and access to public transport are the main requirements sought by companies.
The growing demand for space and restricting supply, according to the study, has also led to building rehabilitation, resulting in the valuation of certain city areas.
In what concerns the offices interiors, the study also clarifies that open spaces, meeting rooms, pantries, technical areas, parking spaces, communal areas, facility managements, phone booths, think tanks, canteens and expansion capacity are named as the main requirements that value a building, as well as the comfort and well-being of employees.
This is a relatively recent market and trends for the next season include the centers multi-functionality, building types, new areas to explore and the design of new offices.
The study reports that shared service centers usually start with only one area. However, the success of it may lead to an expansion and to the integration of other areas.
The Portugal's Central region and Alentejo are seen as new areas to explore, for presenting youth unemployment rates (under 25 years) of 12.4% and 13.9%, respectively.
In what concerns office design, features that allow greater employees’ mobility, as well as the increase of spaces that bring added value to the work and allow greater flexibility and dynamics, are sought. To reinvent spaces is a priority, so as to make the workplace special, contributing to the better performance of employees.