The Global Business Service (GBS) sector is experiencing rapid growth in Latvia, with Riga being an emerging GBS location in Europe. Riga offers competitive conditions and a favorable business environment for new investors, attracting around 50 business service centers in Latvia, employing 18.3k people in Riga, with an average of 300 full-time employees per company. The main areas of specialization in the GBS sector are IT, finance, customer service, logistics, personnel management, and procurement.
The GBS sector is popular among university graduates due to its well-paid jobs with salaries above the country's average and promising career development prospects. Latvia is an appealing business location for GBS companies because of its highly skilled labor pool, language skills, and Western work ethic. The country's advantageous location grants access to both EU and CIS markets, while its highly developed communications and logistics infrastructure further enhance its attractiveness.
To represent GBS interests in Latvia, industry members established the Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) in 2019.
- Riga might be the hidden gem or Paris of the North, but it is also a recipient of the Most Dynamically Developing City in the CEE region award in 2021. GBS companies in Latvia value quality of life, city accessibility and business environment as 100% satisfactory.
- GBS companies stationed in Riga work globally – providing high-value services for companies from around the world, even those located in North America, Africa and Asia.
- With currently 15k FTEs, Latvia still has a relatively low market saturation of 1.6%, giving newcomers access. So you still have the opportunity, but be quick - Latvia is a small but very desired country for doing business and making investments.
- Our closest neighbours are especially attracted to us, as 50% of companies present in Latvia are from Nordics.
- Some say that AI and robots are not some distant future, as they are present in many ways today. We will not argue with that, as 80% of companies in the GBS sector are testing and implementing robotics solutions in their organizations.
- Expansion is fundamental in the global ever-changing business environment. Companies operating in Latvia know that and tend to expand their scope of the functions – 61% of companies expanded their services portfolio in 2020. The growth in terms of employment is 10% YoY.
Employment and education
- Most of the GBS sector workers are trilingual (at least), speaking Latvian, English, and Russian. Some are almost polyglots adding German and French to the mix. As we are close to Scandinavia, there are 1000 Scandinavian language speakers in GBS.
- GBS sector seems very alluring to the young graduates as it is prestigious, lucrative, and dynamic (89% of employees are in age under 34). The IT sector employs 29% of the GBS workforce in Latvia.
- GBS sector is one of the best examples of advocacy for gender equality and inclusion every step of the way. The GBS sector companies employ 53% of women, and it warms our heart that this number keeps on growing.
- Accenture is a leading provider of technology and consulting services, using top talent recruited from our region. Currently, the company is employing ~1500 FTEs and having extensive IT training for new IT professionals.
- Cognizant Latvia is one of the latest editions of the Cognizant delivery network in Europe, focusing on delivering the full range of IT services from nearshore locations in Europe. Cognizant Latvia provides application development and application maintenance services to support our clients on their increasingly digital path. The company has more than 250 FTEs in Latvia.
- Circle K Business Centre provides services to support 3000 stores, 20 000 European employees, and offices in 9 European countries. The company’s 630 employees provide services in different areas, such as Finance, Supply, Distribution, HR, IT, Customer service, Procurement, Sales & Marketing. More than 200 employees are speaking Scandinavian languages.
- Cabot Business Service Center is responsible for providing financial, IT, purchasing, and customer service support for Cabot Corporation, a leading global speciality chemicals and performance materials company. The company keeps expanding and currently employs more than 250 FTEs.
- SEB Global Services in Riga supports the SEB group’s operations by offering a wide range of services, including payment operations and cash management support, as well as services related to trading products and IT. The centre also serves international banks and global financial institutions with services in transactions settlement and asset servicing of Nordic securities trades. SEB Latvia currently employs around 700 FTEs.
ABSL report: GBS in Latvia 2023