The BPO Industry – The Future of the Filipino Professional

by Ken Tan – December, 2012

Globalization comes in many forms but none have made as much impact as Business Process Outsourcing has in the past decade. Companies from Europe, North America and Australia have been investing heavily in overseas operations and mostly for white collar job designations. The attraction is easy enough to identify, lower operational cost at peak operating efficiency, reliable IT infrastructure, low-cost high-end real estate addresses, and so on. This simply means more jobs are now available in the BPO Industry for the Filipino professional.

A brief history

Business Process Outsource (BPO) is when a company contracts an outside provider for services or business processes. This is usually done to reduce operating costs, improve accuracy and turnaround time of business processes, and/or to farm-out clerical operations to enable the company to focus on their core competencies.

BPO started in the Philippines in 1999 with Cyber City opening the first Voice-Services facility in the former USAF base in Clark, Pampanga. Today the BPO industry boasts of 772,000 employees all around the country covering services for multiple sectors.

The Philippines is becoming an ideal location for BPO services due to several factors:

Increasing gov’t support on IT investments
o Reliable and reasonably priced telecommunications infrastructure
o Low cost high quality locations
o Growing buyer trends on outsourcing
Large pool of talents with English communication skills and knowledge in ICT
o Philippines is the 3rd largest English speaking nation in the world
o Filipinos have a 94% literacy rate
o 75% of the population speak English fluently

Types of Sectors Served

Voice and Non-Voice Services
o Sales and Customer Relations Management
o KPO (Marketing Research, Legal Case Research and Preparation, Medical Research,       Insurance, Mortgage)
o Back-Office (Finance and Accounting, HR, Payroll, Procurement)
o Software Development (Product Development, Embedded SW, Project Management, Quality Assurance) and IT Services (Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery, Web Hosting, Network Management)
o Health Information Management (Claims Processing, Coding and Billing, EMR/EHR)
o Transcription (Medical, Legal, Publishing, Data Transformation, Film Subtitling)
o Creative Content (Games Development and Animation)
o Engineering and Architecture Design

o Banking Financial Services, Insurance (BFSI), Manufacturing, Healthcare, IT, Legal, Energy, Publishing, Retail, Travel, Automotive, Telecommunications, Media, Logistics, Procurement, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, etc.

The diversity of the sectors above outlines the different disciplines and studies that are needed by the industry to fill in the ranks of future BPO professionals.

Career Path / Jobs Categories

With the considerable disparity of wages between developed and developing nations large multi-national companies have seen the benefit of farming-out work to third parties operating in less developed regions in the world. This has led to a considerable increase in employment in the BPO industry for countries such as India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, to name a few.

70% of the workforce in the BPO is young and dynamic who bring in energy and fresh new ideas to the workplace. The rapid growth of this industry results in the constant need for leaders in all career levels. BPO companies understand the importance of developing and creating leaders from within the organization.

Basic Hierarchy
• Facing Roles/Associates/Agents
• Coaches/Trainers
• Team Leaders/Managers
• Senior Managerial Roles
• Senior Leadership Roles

Basic Career Advancement and Promotion Criteria
• Performance
• Adherence to process
• Attitude at work
• Ability to work in teams
• Willingness to learn
• People management skills

Developing the Filipino
The Philippine Government supports in developing future professionals in the BPO industry through educational programs in collegiate and non-collegiate levels. These assessment and educational programs were conceptualized to give Filipino professionals ample opportunities to attain global proficiency in this industry.

TESDA, BPAP and University Programs
• GCAT – Global Competitive Assessment Tool
o BPAP’s Online test based on Industry –standard that assesses basic skills and abilities identified as relevant in sustaining an individual in a career with IT-BPO industry
• AdEPT – Advanced English Proficiency Training program
o Is a two-week course offered to university students and individuals in the industry.
• I-TWSP – Industry Training for Work Scholarship Program (TESDA)
o Courses that are tailor-made for specific sectors in the BPO industries
• Emerging Services Program – (BPAP)
o BPAP’s training programs for specialized services such as finance and accounting, insurance, health care, IT, engineering services, creative services, etc.

• Associate Program – (BPAP)
o 6-12 month program for high school graduates for immediate absorption to the BPO workforce.
• STM – Service Technology Management
o Program offered by most universities as a post-graduate certificate or master’s degree.
• Executive Development Program
o Leadership and Management education for executives holding key positions in IT-BPO companies.

The Future of BPO

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) sees the growth of the industry with a 20 percent increase in revenues and employment generation or US$16B next year. This translates to 926,000 available jobs by 2013. This is on track with the country’s 2016 target of US$25B generated revenues or 1.3 million full-time jobs for this industry.

The Philippines has been at the sights of BPO investors for quite some time and with the continuing efforts of the government, universities, BPAP and ever growing demand for BPO services worldwide the future of BPO in the country is secure.


1. The Philippine Star – IT BPO Growth to be Sustained, to Deliver US$16B next year – by Lawrence Agcaoili – 10/10/2012
2. Philippine Daily Inquirer – College Students Find Work in Call Centers – by Noli Ermitanio – 06/30/2012
3. BPM Watch – Philippines Replacing India as the Favorite BPO destination: Economist Survey – 06/01/2012
4. Sherpas in Blue Shirts – Everest Group – Philippines: From Voice Services to a Broad-based Global Sourcing Destination? – by Aditya Verma (Senior Analyst) and Ritika Dingra (Knowledge Associate)
5. – BPO Industry Expects More Dramatic Growth Ahead – Madeleine Miraflor (Reporter) and Sheila Manalac (Correspondent) – 08/05/12
6. IT & BPO Services – by the Board of Investments –
7. – Building a Career in the BPO Industry Continue reading


A Getaway with General Luna’s Audry Dionisio

A Getaway with General Luna’s Audry Dionisio
On tour with General Luna

Audry Garcia Dionisio

In the airport tube with the band headed for the first leg of the Laoag tour

In the airport tube with the band (Audry on the left).

General Luna

General Luna

Audry Dionisio is no stranger to Pinoy Rock aficionados, the gorgeous guitarist of the hottest all female all Filipino band called General Luna has not only rocked the hearts-off her multitude of fans but she’s also made EDSA a less gloomier place through various larger than life posters via the band’s various endorsement, most recently for a popular derma aesthetic clinic’s ad on our city buses.


Beautifying EDSA (shot in Mandaluyong City, EDSA)

General Luna is constantly on tour performing in various cities all over the country. We take her away from her raucous world for a moment and get her to slow down and talk about, well, other things.

Sidetrip: So what is your vacation style, beach, mountains or cultural immersion?

Audry: I like to immerse myself in getting to know the places I visit, get to experience it the way the locals do. Like this one time in my trip to Dubai I headed straight to their market place. I went to the unpopular one where the main market gets all their stuff and I just sampled all the fresh produce that they had there, it was different because it wasn’t all touristy but everything was just out there, dates, olives and stuff, things you normally see in bottles in our groceries were just laid out. I think you begin to understand a place when you get to taste what the locals are eating.

Dubai Fruits

Dubai Fruits

spice market dubai

spice market dubai


Hookah Shop in Dubai

Dubai Veggies

Dubai Veggies

Sidetrip: Of all the places you’ve been to, touring with General Luna and your personal travels do you have a favorite place that you keep coming back to?

Audry: I have my favorites and I have my memorable vacations, I have to say my favorite would be Boracay, it’s really my second home and I’m always there, Boracay is big part of my life. I go to Boracay for different reasons and with different people but of course I go there because my favorite restaurant is there, Dos Mestizos, my uncle’s bar.

In an Ilocos zoo

In an Ilocos zoo

Zoomin' on a zip line in Mount Mayon (Legaspi, Bicol)

Zoomin’ on a zip line in Mount Mayon (Legaspi, Bicol)

Sidetrip: And the memorable one?

Audry: It was after our gig (General Luna) with Bamboo in Isabela

and I had to go to Baguio after the gig because of

my friend’s wedding and apparently there were no buses

that go directly to Baguio from Isabela. I had to take a bus

to Nueva Ecija, I had a small budget back then so I took

those tiny buses that carry chickens and stuff in

the passenger’s compartment. Then on to Dagupan

and from there I took a van to Baguio. It was

quite a long trip and I travelled alone and

with just a backpack, I left my guitar with the band.

Gen Lu

Audry’s arduous trip. From Isabela to Nueva Ecija then to Baguio

It felt great because I’ve never done that kind of stuff before

and I felt independent, that’s what travelling does to you,

you really get to know yourself and start to see what you’re capable of doing.

Sidetrip: Ideally, if money was no object, where would you want to go?

Audry: I’d definitely want to see the world. You know like Anthony Bourdaine. He gets to meet all these people and see the world through their eyes and the best part is he gets to sample all those local cuisines, he gets to experience the region through their mutual love of food. That’s the luxury I have touring with General Luna not only do I meet all the people who love our music but I get to sample the food in every area we go to and it’s nice and authentic that way.

Sidetrip: Things you can’t travel without?

Audry: Definitely my Ipod… and shades, I need my shades. We do a lot of waiting in airports or even on long road trips and my Ipod really keep me sane during those long periods of boredom. The shades are of course for the sun, but more importantly they work on days that you don’t look too good and you can just cover up with them.

Five songs in Audry’s playlist:

pina colada

If You Like Pina Coladas- Jimmy Buffet


Pressure Point- The Zutons

thievery corporation

Le Monde- Thievery Corporation


Art School Girl- Stone Temple Pilot

ThirdEyeBlind album

Motorcycle Drive By- Third Eye Blind

Zoo in Vigan (with the band)

END- kt 2013

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