Like many countries in Eastern Europe, Serbia is an emerging force in the global BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry.
The country’s good infrastructure, governmental support, and skilled workforce are some of its greatest assets, making it a promising outsourcing destination. But there are a few possible obstacles that you’ll need to be aware of if you plan on outsourcing to Serbia.
In this article, we’ll share the benefits of choosing a Serbian provider for your outsourcing needs.
We’ll also explore the services you can outsource and discuss important factors to consider before outsourcing to Serbian companies. Finally, we’ll reveal the top five BPO companies in Serbia.
Table of Contents
- 5 key benefits of outsourcing to Serbia
- What services can you outsource to Serbia?
- 2 considerations before outsourcing to Serbia
- 5 leading serbian outsourcing providers
Let’s get started.
5 key benefits of outsourcing to Serbia
Serbian people are known for having a good work ethic. However, that isn’t the only reason to consider Serbia as your outsourcing destination.
Here are a few other key advantages:
Serbia is a developing country with a generally low cost of living, especially compared to the US, Canada, and Western European countries. So you could pay less for certain services, save money and gain a competitive advantage.
For example, the cost of hiring, onboarding, and training a software developer in the United Kingdom is relatively high. According to Salary Explorer, the average salary for British developers is USD 7482.96/month.
You could hire a Serbian software developer for much less – around USD 1313 /month.
2. Government support
The Serbian government has been working to facilitate the growth of the IT industry by investing in physical ICT (Information and Communications Technology).
It has also implemented measures to make it easier for foreign investors and companies interested in outsourcing to Serbia. These include:
- Preferential tax provisions: Low Corporate Income Tax (CIT) and no CIT for the first 10 years for startups under certain conditions.
- Ministerial council for IT, innovation and entrepreneurship: To address issues, support the industry, and promote faster development.
- Increased investment: In computer science programs at schools and universities, committing EUR 1.5 million to related initiatives and EUR 70 million in IT infrastructure to meet the demand for skilled programmers and IT professionals.
- Minimizing redtape for foreign investors: Related to the legal framework surrounding early-stage investments, electronic payments, and venture capital.
3. Workforce skilled in computer sciences
In Serbia, education in programming and technology starts early and continues through all levels of education.
Belgrade and Novi Sad are home to some of the most renowned universities in the Balkan region. The University of Belgrade and the University of Novi Sad are also significant hubs of technology and innovation.
Due to the prestigious universities in these regions, thousands of software developers and IT professionals graduate each year.
With its steady stream of IT graduates, foreign companies like Microsoft have chosen to set up operations in Serbia.
4. English proficiency
Fortunately, according to the 2021 English Proficiency Index, Serbians have an excellent grasp of the English language – the country ranked 14th out of 112 countries.
This is significant because the success of your outsourcing endeavors depends heavily on collaboration between you and your outsourced team.
In Serbia, training in English begins in grade one and continues throughout all educational levels. So ultimately, communication between your local and Serbian teams should be a breeze.
5. Favorable time zone for European companies
Serbia’s time zone puts it in a good position to collaborate in real-time with teams or clients in Western Europe.
For example, Serbia is just one hour ahead of the UK’s time zone, so your UK-based and Serbian teams can have overlapping working hours. This way, they can communicate frequently and resolve issues much faster than if one team were many hours behind or ahead.
If you’re based in the United States, the time zone may present more of an issue, as Serbia is six hours ahead of Washington and eight hours ahead of Chicago (Central Standard Time Zone.)
Next, let’s discuss what services you can outsource to a Serbian service provider.
What services can you outsource to Serbia?
These are the most common services outsourced to Serbia.
1. Software development
Serbia is ranked fifth in worldwide developer rankings and is home to more than 2500 software development companies. So it’s not surprising that this country in Southeast Europe is a hub for outsourced software development.
Additionally, custom software development and web development services are substantially more affordable in Serbia than in North America and European countries.
In Serbia, it’s common for software developers to remain within the same team for years. Moreover, employee turnover rates for IT companies are low. If your development team is from Serbia, a bonus is that you’re likely to be working with the same team for years.
Having the same team members throughout the development process is something every client wants when they seek software development outsourcing. This helps avoid the loss of knowledge and disruption to the flow of the project.
Advice for software development outsourcing to Serbia:
- Set deadlines: To avoid any confusion, set all the dates, timelines, and milestones before the commencement of the project.
- Communicate clearly and regularly: Communicate these details clearly with your outsourcing service provider and the team of developers. Stay in constant communication with your outsourced team.
- Hire a Serbia-based technical expert: This expert can help supervise the developers, assess their capabilities early on in the project, and provide valuable insight to your team on the ground.
2. IT and tech support
Serbia has a flourishing IT sector, ranking seventh in Central and Eastern Europe for its talent availability, IT sector policies, legislative framework, connectivity, and infrastructure.
Why is that important?
Today, IT and technical support employees have become a critical part of most businesses.
They help keep critical IT systems running, ensuring business continuity and enabling teams to advance towards corporate goals.
In 2021, Serbia had around 40,000 university students studying IT. So there’s an abundance of qualified programmers and IT professionals entering the Serbian workforce each year.
Outsourcing technical support solutions are usually more affordable than keeping an in-house support team. Your tech support provider usually has numerous companies that they service, so they are able to charge you more affordable rates than a provider dedicated to your company alone.
By outsourcing services to a Serbian IT team, you can focus on core competencies and business growth without neglecting your company’s IT and technical support needs.
Advice for IT and tech support outsourcing to Serbia
Before deciding on a Serbian IT company, do your research. Thousands of companies in Serbia offer these services, but some are better than others.
Additionally, make sure the outsourcing company you choose has relevant experience and a satisfactory portfolio of work.
3. Other services
Although Serbia is mainly known as a software development and IT services outsourcing destination, it does offer other BPO capabilities.
Like other developing countries, the affordability of administrative services in Serbia prompts many businesses to outsource this function here.
But, there are also a few specialized services that are also commonly outsourced to Serbia.
a) Call center services
Setting up a call center and hiring and training employees locally can be very expensive and time-consuming.
Serbian call center agents are fluent in English, and their salary requirements are much lower than agents in developed countries. In Serbia, the average call center agent salary is USD 446,58/month compared to USD 5292,72/month in the UK and USD 5410/month in the United States.
Moreover, rent, telephone services, and other utilities are significantly less in Serbia. For example, it costs 69% less to connect to the internet in Serbia than in the United States.
So outsourcing your call center to Serbia can help you provide your clients with great customer service and increase your turnover at a reasonable price.
Serbia has a strong tertiary education system. So, you can easily outsource research functions to qualified Serbian professionals.
According to Salary Explorer, the average salary for a Serbian research assistant is USD 795,79/month, whereas the average salary for this position in the UK is USD 5439,97.
By outsourcing labor and resource-intensive research responsibilities, you can focus on your business’s core functions, growth, and expansion.
c) SEO, marketing, and content management
Serbia has an abundance of marketing professionals to help with your marketing requirements, and they can do so at a much lower cost than marketing professionals in developed countries.
A bonus is that most Serbians working in the marketing and content creation industry are English language and literature majors.
Additionally, students from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade, recently won first place in the prestigious CBS Global Case Competition 2022.
This highlights the strong emphasis Serbia’s universities place on organizational problem-solving. So by outsourcing to Serbia, you can hire graduates with critical thinking skills to help not just with marketing but also in various facets of your business.
Next, let’s look at a few possible hurdles you may encounter.
2 considerations before outsourcing to Serbia
Here are two critical factors to consider when choosing Serbia as an outsourcing destination.
1. Stringent and complex labor laws
Serbian labor laws are relatively complex. In many instances, contractual laws can also be quite strict, particularly regarding the dismissal of an employee.
If your company is operating within Serbia, you’ll have to ensure you understand these laws or have a Serbian partner that can guide you through them. This way, you can avoid any hassles related to unfair dismissal charges.
Also, keep in mind that trade unions in Serbia actively check their members’ contracts and employment conditions. So if you’re hiring full-time Serbian employees, you must understand your obligations as an employer, or you could land in hot water.
It’s a good idea to engage a Serbian agency to help you with your outsourcing needs to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.
2. Lower paid professionals may lack experience
Another challenge you may encounter in finding affordable Serbian developers and other IT professionals is that they may lack experience.
The Serbian market for software development and IT outsourcing is still relatively new. Many software developers may not have experience working on larger projects, especially those with lower salary requirements.
For the more experienced Serbian developers, you may have to pay slightly higher salaries. However, it’s still likely to be much less than you would pay in a developed country.
It’s best to study the developer’s profile beforehand to determine if they can deliver what you require. Also, if possible, pay a little more to hire a developer with more expertise.
Now let’s look at some of the best outsourcing companies in Serbia.
5 leading serbian outsourcing providers
Here are the most popular choices when outsourcing services to Serbia:
1. Rare Crew
Rare Crew is a custom application development provider based in Belgrade, Serbia, and servicing clients around the globe.
They offer a free 3-hour consultation to understand your needs and goals. This way, you can decide if Rare Crew is the right fit for your business’ needs before committing to a contract.
- Custom software and mobile app development.
- Business Intelligence and analytics.
- Software testing.
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) services.
2. Q Agency
Q Agency is a large Serbian outsourcing provider in Belgrade, Serbia. The company’s main focus is web design. However, they also provide numerous other IT-related services.
- Strategy development and discovery.
- UX and UI design.
- Web and mobile app development.
- Virtual and augmented reality app development.
3. Braineering IT Solutions
Braineering IT Solutions is a small Serbian company offering IT services and consulting. Their engineers are particularly focused on cybersecurity.
- Custom and turnkey IT solutions.
- Developing converged, turnkey, and value-added IT solutions.
- IT training.
- Cloud IT services.
Trizma is a contact center provider that’s been operating for more than 20 years. This Serbian agency has a large team of experienced agents to help you improve your sales or customer service.
- Contact center services, including overflow handling.
- Customer data verification.
- Sales and order management.
- Debt collection.
Accace is a leading outsourcing and advisory service in Serbia. Although the company started as an accounting practice in 2006, it has expanded its offering to include a full range of BPO services.
- Accounting and reporting.
- Payroll and HR administration.
- Tax and legal advisory services.
- Market entry support.
Good infrastructure, impressive governmental support, and a steady supply of software development and IT professionals make Serbia an attractive outsourcing destination.
However, you’ll need to be aware of complex and stringent labor laws, which could pose challenges for a foreign company. Moreover, although the country’s main outsourced sector is IT and software development, you may find that lower-paid professionals lack experience.
If you want to understand the Serbian outsourcing market, the information in this post is a good start. But before you choose to outsource to Serbia, you’ll need to do thorough research to determine whether it’s the best fit for your business.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.