Outsourcing continues to gain momentum in a constricting business environment, forcing companies to cut costs. ICT research estimates that the 2011 global outsourcing market (both onshore and offshore) will increase by 9.2% amounting to $464 billion with the offshore segment accounting for $144.8 billion. Outsourcing to Poland is also on the rise.

The competition among countries for a bigger share of this enormous pie is heating up. India remains at the top of the list with a 42.5% market share. It is followed by China with a 31.5% and Philippines with a 7.4%. India and Philippines in particular, have ramped up their infrastructure and legislation to put their countries in a better competitive position.

Consultants and business analysts rank the attractiveness of a country as an outsourcing destination in different ways. Some only consider a mix of costs, resources, skills, and business and economic environment. Others drill down to include factors like travel time, transportation facilities, political and social affinity including quality of life.

Depending upon the criteria applied, Poland emerges as one of the most promising countries ranking either in the top 10 or top 20. For the future of Poland’s outsourcing industry, this is best appreciated in the light of Global Services/Tholons poll which shows that between “location” and the “service provider,” 66% of the companies that participated in the survey considered the former as more important in arriving at an outsourcing decision.

A country competing with other countries as an outsourcing destination finds itself in the same position as any ordinary company or business. To increase market share, it must have a distinct competitive advantage. One such advantage that Poland possesses is the multilingual and multicultural work force.

Since English is still the lingua franca of business and technology, India and Philippines command large market shares because of an English speaking supply of workers but this will change. The future of the outsourcing landscape will evolve and English to English outsourcing services will diminish in relation with the business becoming more globalized. As non-English speaking markets expand, the need for multilingual, English to non-English outsourced services will increase.

Technology developments enabling customers to communicate directly with companies through tablets, smart phones and other online devices without the need for voice communication will be the other major factor that will change the face of outsourcing. In this new environment, Poland possesses special capabilities to meet the outsourcing needs of the future.

English and German have replaced Russian as the de facto second language in Poland. This is supported by aggressive foreign language educational programs in Poland’s more than 500 educational institutions, one of the largest in Europe. To bolster its advantage in languages, relatively high wages in Poland has attracted immigrants from developing countries such as Vietnam, Greece and Armenia adding to the population of Germans, Czechs, Russians and people from other European countries. There are already companies in Poland that provide voice services in 6 European languages for English speaking clients.

The ability to bridge the gap between the English and the non-English speakers becomes an even more valuable asset in attracting the outsourcing business of higher value technical jobs where a precise understanding of a client’s requirements and a supplier’s capabilities are essential. This gives outsourcing industry in Poland the opportunity to expand its advantages beyond the call center and the CRM tasks into legal, medical, publishing, artistic and software industries.

By exploiting its multilingual competitive advantage, Poland can put itself in the unique position of becoming the destination of choice for the outsourcing industry of a more globalized future.