Revenues and employment levels in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector of the Philippines are said to have increased 10 times in the past decade.
According to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the BPO sector of the country will continue to grow even after it attained a one million-strong workforce, from the 930,000 posted during the first three months of 2014. IBPAP President Jose Mari Mercado said if September figures were published, the employment target would have reached 1.04 million.
As the country gains more of the global BPO market, international competitors such as India are starting to see the effects of losing business to the Philippines. However, challenges are still anticipated to strain the growth of destinations as the global outsourcing industry is seen evolving from voice services into a multi-channel delivery model. This means companies will have a hard time finding the right candidate for complex processes, and a substantial contract to support long-term growth prospects.
Government-driven programs have also fuelled the BPO sector. For instance, the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016) cited BPO as one of the 10 segments that should be prioritized. Also, the Training for Work Scholarship Program has enabled the IT sector to come up with training programs for BPO candidates. There are also the tax benefits for foreign investors and lenient employment policies for foreign nationals.
The outsourcing industry of the Philippines is a major growth industry with an average yearly growth of 20 percent. Back in 2012, it only accounted for two percent of the country’s employment rate. However, it has helped drive other segments such as retail, telecom, and real estate. Export revenues have also increased from $1.3bn in 2004 to $13.3bn last year. For 2014, it is anticipated to reach $18 billion and $25 billion in 2016.
Over the years, the Philippines has been identified as India’s number one competitor as the global outsourcing destination. In fact, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) reported that 50 percent of India’s BPO business has moved to the Philippines, costing them $25 billion.
What makes the Philippines the preferred hub is its 30 percent of employable graduates, whereas India only has 10 percent. The neutral accent that Filipino graduates have is another advantage. In fact, large providers like Accenture and Convergys have call center operations in the country.