Over the last 15 years, increasingly more multinational corporations have chosen Catalonia as a base for new facilities with two types of centralized services:
- Parts of their value chain (such as finance, IT, asset management) to be offered from one central point to all their European / EMEA / worldwide branches.
- Customer care services for their European or worldwide customers.
There are many reasons behind this preference for Catalonia, evident in recent years and that we foresee to continue over the coming decades, such as the following:
International and innovative business environment
Catalonia and its capital Barcelona are highly internationalized areas. Despite having 16% of the Spanish population and 20% of its GDP, it is home to 35% of all Spanish regular exporting companies and 45% of Spanish foreign multinationals.
Infrastructures for communication and transport
Some of Europe’s most advanced IT facilities are located in Catalonia. The ALBA Synchrotron and the Mare NostrumSupercomputer are just two examples of state of the art technology centres that, in order to be operative, require excellent IT infrastructures. These infrastructures are available for all companies located in Catalonia and they offer world-class levels of quality.
In transportation, Barcelona is home to Europe’s the 7th busiest airport with connections to all large and mid-sized airports of Europe several times per week (in many cases, per day). This is a key element to explain why so many multinationals established their Customer Care or Shared Services Centres in Catalonia (CC/SSCs): the convenience to travel to Barcelona from their HQ wherever in Europe it might be.
Tax regime and support programs
For a country and a region with a severe unemployment problem, the Spanish and the Catalan Governments have developed several programmes aimed to increase the creation of new jobs.This benefits talent-intensive activities such as the CC/SSCs, as they can opt for a number of tax rebates and direct grants that vary depending on the amount of the employees linked to the project and on the activity performed.
Catalonia stands out in many aspects. However, the key and differential asset distinguishing Catalonia over many other European regions in terms of CC/SSCs is the high level of internationalization of our talent. Thanks to Barcelona’s cosmopolitan character, its highly recognized business schools (the only territory in Europe with two schools in the European Top 10 ranking), its cultural offer, its tolerance and its mild weather, Catalonia attracts a great deal foreign talent who want to make their home here.
This melting pot allows multinationals to create centralized services in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area that provide services to all their regional or continental branches and/or customers (in some cases, even globally). Italian, Romanian, French and German are the largest European nationalities in Catalonia with more than 10,000 individuals living here (between 20 to 64 years of age) whereas the rest of European and world nationalities have also a remarkable presence among us, allowing companies to offer their centralized services for the whole of Europe.
There are other few locations in Europe that offer such a unique and diverse pool of heterogeneous and multilingual candidates for companies. And Catalonia does so at highly competitive labour costs. Given that the international talent who came here did so, in most cases, out of a strong attraction to Barcelona and seeking the “Barcelona experience” by living in our capital, they often are willing to forego the higher incomes that they would obtain in their countries of origin in exchange for a higher quality of life here.
Therefore, we can ultimately see that the fact that Catalonia and Barcelona are so attractive to multinationals when it comes to providing centralized services for their branches and/or customers cannot be explained by one sole reason, but by a combination of many that, all in all, turn the region into a logical choice for many companies.