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How Filipino Millennials Are Changing the BPO Industry for the Better

by: Mary Christine Galang

Thursday, July 13, 2017 |

The rapid advancements in technology have undisputedly affected consumer behavior in the past decade. In the past few years, millennials (also known as Generation Y/Gen Y or those born between 1977 and 2000) have been a key demographic that shaped how businesses operate. Despite the negative connotations attached to the term, an irony that cannot be understated is that companies have mounted major campaigns just to woo the “precocious” millennials. And it is with valid reason. According to the October 2015 Labor Force Survey, a significant portion – 47.1% to be exact – of the labor force in the Philippines in 2015 was composed of millennials aged 15 to 34. The Philippines Statistics Authority reported that the median age in the Philippines is 23 years, which is considered to be among the youngest in the world. Former Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal once remarked that, “The best-selling point of the Philippines right now is its young workforce.” He also said that our younger demographic is “our strongest feature in marketing and promoting the Philippines as an investment destination.” This is why it’s no wonder that millennials are considered as the country’s new ‘economic drivers’.

Millennials in the BPO industry

A forecast made by Colliers International Philippines shows that the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will continue to be a driving force in the office market, expanding from the nation’s capital of Metro Manila to alternative strategic locations like Pampanga, Iloilo, Davao, Cebu, and Bacolod that present a viable potential for growth. Millennials often jumpstart their careers in BPO companies for multiple reasons, such as attractive compensation packages, exposure and access to technical and skills training, and more diverse opportunities compared to traditional office setups.

As time goes on, the BPO industry expands (and as technology continues to innovate commerce); more and more subsectors open up opportunities to a multitude of skill sets not available before. A fresh college graduate’s skill set, while specialized, is often not limited to one field of work. As previously mentioned, BPOs have provided our younger labor force with access to technical and skills training. In addition, millennials are more tech-savvy and easily adaptable to the ever-changing trends in an increasingly social media-driven market.

Shaping the BPO industry and the market – for the better

One key trait of the working millennial is his or her value of satisfaction, fulfillment, and personal growth. This translates on how millennials choose products and services that puts a premium on a forward-thinking, wholly immersive experience, engagement, and authenticity that aren’t captured in traditional advertising methods anymore. And this doesn’t bode well for companies who refuse to rethink their marketing strategy. A report by Advertising Age stated that millennials are bound to become “the largest consumer generation in history,” spending $200 billion each year starting in 2017, and $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

What does it mean for businesses today? A study conducted by Forbes and online news platform Elite Daily on 1,300 millennials found that:

  • Gen Y market isn’t as influenced by advertising like before
  • Millennials rely mostly on blogs and reviews before making a purchase
  • Authenticity ranks superior over content
  • Millennials are brand loyal
  • They want to become more involved in creating and developing products
  • More money in the future (e.g. inheritance) will not affect their spending habits
  • Millennials value brand engagement on social networks
  • They expect companies to pay it forward

Millennials are the future

The BPO industry is not an exemption when it comes to acknowledging the impact millennials have in terms of economic growth. Essential characteristics that shape the way they value and trust products and services is key to understanding on how to gain their market. BPOs are now more geared towards providing a healthy work-life balance to their employees, which millennials state as “the most important drivers of employer choice, excluding salary” in a Deloitte Millennial survey. Filipinos are known as one of, if not, the most socially active people online. Combine that with their generally progressive values, the rise of the middle class, and a boom in retail industry – companies will strive harder and better to translate these to financial growth, which has an altogether positive effect in the economy, not just on a national scale, but global as well.

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