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MicroSourcing Wins Voice Project's Change Challenge Awards

by: Marie Pearl Martinez

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | Company News | Comments (0)

"MicroSourcing has an excellent process for survey roll-out, results communication and action planning."

This is just one of the positive comments from the judges of the 2018 Change Challenge Awards, where MicroSourcing Philippines was recognized as the winner in the Enterprise Category. MicroSourcing was chosen from a pool of more than 700 teams and organizations that have done repeat surveys with Voice Project.

The Change Challenge Awards recognizes teams and organizations that have achieved the greatest measurable change in work practices and outcomes. Unlike "best employer" awards that only provides a one-off snapshot of static performance and recognizes the same financially healthy organizations, the Change Challenge Awards focuses on the extent of positive change that has been achieved over time.

The Macquarie University, Griffith University, and the Australian Research Council support research for the Change Challenge Awards. This year's esteemed judges include:

Dr. Peter Langford, Director, Voice Project
Susan Henry, Head of People & Culture, Starlight Children's Foundation
Andrew O'Keefe, Director, Hardwired Humans
Mark Wiggins, Professor of Organisational Psychology, Macquarie University

"In a growing economy like the Philippines, the search for talent can get quite competitive. This makes it even more important to be an employer of choice. By realizing our employees are our core asset and taking action to increase employee engagement, we have been able to achieve employee retention rates that are significantly better than our industry. It also makes MicroSourcing a more fun environment at the same time," said MicroSourcing's CEO, Sjoerd Krosse.

Voice Project is the leading provider of employee engagement, 360-degree leadership, and customer service surveys. It began as a research program at Macquarie University that explores the impact of employee and client "voice" on engagement, leadership, and service quality. They have been MicroSourcing's partner in our Annual Employee Engagement Survey since 2013.


Black Panther Movie Block Screening

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Monday, April 16, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Annually, MicroSourcing encourages its employees to participate in a Valentine's Day activity that is worthwhile and inspiring. This year, MicroMissions organized a fundraising activity in the form of a block movie screening, which was held at Robinsons Galleria MovieWorld Cinema 10. One of the most talked about movies and one of the least known Marvel Superhero, Black Panther, did not disappoint moviegoers.

Having been able to watch the movie, MS employees get to help an orphanage whose name is apt for the Valentine's season. Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children's Home, located in Pasig, houses abandoned, neglected, foundling, and surrendered children since 2007. From the proceeds of the block screening, MicroMissions was able to donate a sanitation facility and a drinking fountain to promote hygiene and give access to potable water to these children. These facilities will be installed with the help of Manila Water Foundation's Lingap Project.

From 234 generous employees, together with their family and friends, a total of PHP 117,000 was raised from this activity.



by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Thursday, April 12, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

In January, baking enthusiasts - both beginners and experts - gathered to create delicious pastries to be sold at the MS Banchetto.

21 MicroMissions volunteers went to The Cookery Place in BGC to become chefs du jour to bake the following:

  • Lemon bars
  • Apple bars
  • Tartlets
  • Checkerboard cookies
  • Sugar cookies

Although the group's main purpose was to raise funds, bonding with fellow volunteers, having fun, and learning something new were also on the agenda. Volunteers from six MS Manila sites were chosen to participate with the commitment to sell the baked goodies in their respective sites.

The money that was raised was used to buy food for the children of Sitio Dumpsite in Barangay San Luis, Antipolo City. This activity is in accordance with our purpose to help fight malnutrition and to stand for the campaign #HANGRYaboutHUNGER by Nestle's United Healthier for Kids.

On January 31, MicroMissions sold baked goods at the MS Banchetto. A total of Php 18,725 was raised and donated to our partner foundation, Reach Out Feed Philippines who bought the ingredients for the lunch meal of kids in Sitio Dumpsite. The amount was good for a week of eating three meals a day for 100 kids.

On February 10, MS employee volunteers grouped to prepare, cook, and pack meals for the children and attendees of the feeding program. A sumptuous meal inclusive of chicken teriyaki, buttered vegetables, rice, and fresh fruit salad was given to hapless kids in order to nourish their bodies. More than 100 kids were given meals and the fresh fruit salad was a hit!

After lunch, Ray Alferez from EV 1880 entertained the kids with a magic show they will not forget. It was a good feeling sharing that amazing moment with the kids and the kids at heart.

Another mission accomplished! On to the next one.

CCAP: Contact Centers Remain as Main Drivers of PH Economy

by: Sidney Liquigan

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 | Comments (0)

According to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), the contact center sector in the Philippines is still expected to remain as one of the main contributors to the country's economy, despite predicted challenges brought upon by tax reforms and developments in technology, particularly the rise of automation.

Currently, the Philippines' BPO industry has about Php 1.15 billion total revenue. Once it reaches a 16% annual growth pace, the industry's revenue can grow to Php 2 trillion by 2022, making it the main pillar of the Philippine economy, surpassing OFW remittances.

Another proof of the strong performance of the BPO industry, specifically contact centers, the government-sponsored job site PhilJobNet recently released data that shows 17% of the 6,120 active job vacancies posted on the site in the third week of January were call center job openings.

According to CCAP, here are the main reasons why this sector will remain resilient regardless of global and local changes in technology and regulations.

Customer Experience Over Customer Service

In a white paper by consulting and research firm Everest Group, it said that contact centers in the Philippines are ready for the global industry shift from customer service to customer experience. With the Filipinos' innate quality of being hospitable and helpful, they can benefit the most from this shift by providing a pleasant customer experience and adding a human touch to complement the customer service that will be handled by automation.

New High-skill Jobs

At the onset of AI and automation, new high-skill jobs with higher pay rates for BPO workers will be opened. These new employment opportunities are expected to focus on and support a higher level of customer experience.

"We are excited about the new opportunities that are arising within the local contact center sector as we collectively address ongoing shifts focusing on technology and nature of service," said CCAP Chairman Benedict Hernandez.

Benefits to Other Industries

With contact centers conveniently located in business districts surrounded by many retail businesses, contact center agents make up the majority of the consumers of these retailers. Additionally, the continuous growth of contact centers in the Philippines greatly contributes to the growth of the property industry.

"In 2017, we have seen the highest growth so far in terms of supply," said Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Philippines Regional Director Sheila Lobien. A total of 1.2 million square meters of new call center office space was recorded in 2017. International companies turn to the Philippines for a cost-efficient location for outsourcing services because of low office rental rates (among the lowest in Asia) and low labor costs.

Strength of Remittances and BPO Boost Consumer Optimism

by: Sidney Liquigan

Thursday, April 5, 2018 | Comments (0)

Despite the weak peso, which is currently at an 11-year low against the dollar, consumer spending remains positive. In fact, in the Q4 2017 survey by FT Confidential Research (FTCR), 1,000 urban Filipinos confirmed their attachment to malls. 11% of the respondents said that they go to the malls every day and almost 25% of the respondents said that they will visit malls more often in the next 12% months. Further, 68% of the respondents said that the number of times they go to the malls will remain the same. In terms of spending, more than 25% expressed that they would spend more in the malls, while almost 50% said that their spending would remain the same.

Based on the positive survey results, FTCR expects shopping malls to remain profitable despite high inflation. This optimism among FTCR and consumers is mainly driven by the increased take-home pay as well as the growth of the BPO sector and remittances, the two pillars of the Philippine economy.

While inflation causes the prices of imported products to increase, it also increases the purchasing power of remittances. In 2017, OFWs transferred $1.3 billion, a 5.3% increase from 2016. Meanwhile, in the BPO sector, earnings increased 9.6% YoY in 2017. It was slower compared to 12.8% in 2016, but still on track with industry forecasts.

Thanks to the TRAIN Law, the take-home pay of middle-income workers has increased. And in December, the law will also raise the threshold on non-taxable 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses, allowing consumers to have more money to spend.

At the second Senate hearing on AI's threat on BPO, Senator and Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV urged the government to protect over 1.4 million BPO jobs in the Philippines from impending threats brought upon by AI, the shifting economic policies of other countries, and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

"We must prepare for these threats and not be caught flat-footed," said Sen. Aquino. "Our fellow Filipinos cannot afford to lose their livelihood, especially in these times," he added.

During the first hearing, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) mentioned that by 2022, there will be a decline in demand for low-skilled jobs in the IT-BPO industry of about 43,000 jobs. However, there is also a potential that AI will open up 388,000 mid-skilled jobs and 309,000 high-skilled jobs, which Sen. Aquino hopes the Filipino BPO workers can be ready for.

"The clear solution is to retrain our workers and upgrade their skills to be viable for higher job levels. Our training centers and academic institutions must start offering courses for these higher-skilled BPO jobs," Sen. Aquino said. He also added that these courses could also be offered through scholarships and TESDA vouchers.

Sen. Aquino also emphasized the urgency of the matter, suggesting that government agencies should take action immediately before the threats start to leave the low-skilled BPO workers jobless.

"I want to see urgency in our agencies to move this forward quickly and with purpose. This is the first time in years that the BPO industry will be at risk. We need to protect our countrymen's jobs," he said.

Aside from discussing the threat of AI to the BPO sector in the Philippines, the Senate hearings headed by Sen. Aquino and the Committee on Science and Technology also aim to determine how the TRAIN Law affects the sector and how the effects can be corrected in the next tax reform package.

Sen. Aquino also announced a third hearing that will occur this month.

The Philippines Named as the 'Best Country to Invest In'

by: Sidney Liquigan

Thursday, March 22, 2018 | Comments (0)

In its 2018 Best Countries report, U.S. News & World Report, in partnership with Y&R's BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, named the Philippines as the number one in the list of the Best Countries to Invest In out of 80 countries. Also included in the top 10 are Indonesia, Poland, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Spain, Thailand, India, and Oman.

According to U.S. News, the countries were ranked based on the report by World Bank Group, which identified the distinct factors – natural resources, markets, efficiency, and strategic assets – that motivate an individual or corporation to invest in a country. In addition, U.S. News also focused on the following attributes to qualify the countries as worthy of investment: entrepreneurship, economic stability, favorable tax environment, innovation, skilled labor, technological expertise, dynamism, and corruption. The ranking was determined from the survey responses of more than 6,000 respondents who are global decision-makers.

"In contrast to declining inflows of foreign direct investment, or FDI, to Southeast Asia as a whole, the Philippines continued to perform well, according to United Nations data. In years to come, the country is expected to receive more FDI from within the region from powerhouses like China that are looking to utilize available labor in developing nations," the publisher said in an online report.

As of November 2017, the Philippines' FDI inflow was at $8.725 billion, surpassing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' forecast of $8 billion for the entire 2017.

In a comment to Interaksyon, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III attributed the Philippines' position in the top spot to the country's young and hardworking workforce and an excellent inclusive growth momentum, in addition to the expanding middle class, a politically stable environment, a stable monetary policy, an achievable infrastructure program, and a strong drive against corruption.

Dominguez also pointed that despite slower GDP growth in 2017 at 6.7% (compared to 6.9% in 2016), the Philippine economy remains one of the fastest-growing in Asia.

In U.S. News' overall Best Countries list, the Philippines is at the 49th spot, while Switzerland ranked as the best country, followed by Canada, Germany, the UK, and Japan.

DOF Sees Faster Economic Growth in 2018

by: Sidney Liquigan

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | Outsourcing News | Comments (0)

In February 22, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a speech before the United States-Philippines Society (USPS) members that the department expects the Philippines' GDP to grow faster in 2018 and 2019, mainly driven by the current government's tax reform programs, as well as the efficiency in public spending and major infrastructure projects, as reported by Manila Bulletin.

"We are confident the revenue reforms, sustained fiscal discipline, better spending efficiency and massive investments in infrastructure will enable us to escalate growth to between seven and eight percent in the near term," Dominguez said. In 2017, the Philippines' GDP growth was at 6.7%.

Dominguez also added that the projected growth pace will contribute to bringing down the country's poverty incidence from 21.6% in 2015 to 14% by 2022.

Confirming that the current rapid economic growth is not an unusual occurrence, Dominguez noted that the Philippines' GDP growth in 2017 capped 76 consecutive quarters (19 years) of uninterrupted growth. He also added that the country's economy has maintained a growth rate of 6% or above for 11 quarters now.

In the speech, Dominguez also talked about the inflation caused by the recently implemented TRAIN Law. In January, inflation was at its highest (at 4%) in three years. However, he assured that this will be temporary.

"We estimate that it will remain within the two to four percent threshold set by our monetary authorities. The recent uptick in inflation is due largely to the spike in international crude oil prices as well as the efficiency of BIR tax collections," Dominguez said.

As for the country's external sector, Dominguez said that it continues to be our economy's source of strength, driven by a strong BPO sector.

"Our healthy external payments position, marked by adequate foreign exchange reserves, declining external debt ratio and backed by sustained flows of remittances and revenues from the Business Process Outsourcing sector give investors comfort about the Philippines' resilience to future external shocks," Dominguez noted.

Further, tourism also plays a big role in the faster economic growth. For 2018, Dominguez said that DOF expects tourist arrivals to exceed 2017's 6.6 million by a significant number. He also added that a large portion of the tourists is expected to come from China.

BPO positions top in-demand jobs for 2018

by: Sidney Liquigan

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Outsourcing News | Comments (0)

In February, Jobstreet.com released an outlook report, forecasting the BPO sector to generate the most jobs in 2018, as reported by ABS-CBN News. In its outlook report, Jobstreet.com also reported that the BPO sector posted the most job openings in 2017, mostly in the specialized fields of finance, accounting, and IT, as well as in call centers.

"This industry has been hiring candidates for many different specializations. They are not just hiring for customer service," said Cielo Javier, country marketing manager of Jobstreet.com.

Despite concerns regarding the rise of AI, there is still a strong demand for BPO workers. This shows that BPO jobs are evolving and there will always be opportunities for human talents. According to Jobstreet.com's report, we can expect the most job openings for customer service representatives, telesales and telemarketing agents, technical and help desk support, and hardware and software development positions.

Jobstreet.com's report also stated that the increasing demand for BPO workers will contribute to the growing demand for teachers, as BPO-related teaching jobs will be opened.

Next to BPO, the retail sector will have the second most job openings, specifically in the fields of sales, marketing, purchasing, warehouse management, and human resources. The third most in-demand jobs will be in the manufacturing sector, specifically sales, finance, accounting, purchasing, warehouse management, mechanical engineering, and customer service positions.

Healthcare processes, such as medical billing and coding, are included in the common business functions that you can outsource to BPO companies all over the globe. With healthcare sector having many of the biggest businesses in the world, it is not surprising that healthcare businesses outsource their processes to improve their operations, boost financial performance, and serve their clients and patients more efficiently.

According to a global forecast, the healthcare BPO market is projected to accumulate USD449,623.8 million at a CAGR growth of 12.3% from 2017 to 2023. In 2016, the pharmaceutical service segment accounted for the largest share in the global healthcare BPO market at 72.2%.

The leader in the global healthcare outsourcing market is the Asia-Pacific region, due to lower labor costs, approximately only 33% of the costs of those in more developed regions. In addition to lower labor costs, the main drivers of the Asia-Pacific market are improvements in other areas, including the business environment, economic and political risks, and IP protection, to name a few. In this region, the Philippines is expected to be the fastest growing market.

The second leading healthcare outsourcing market is the Americas led by Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the US, while the third largest market is Europe led by Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania. The Middle East & Africa region is also keeping up, with a projected moderate growth.

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