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

Verticals
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.

 

Sources:
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. TheManilaTimes.net – 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 – http://www.boi.gov.ph
7. http://www.Nasscom.org – Building a Career in the BPO Industry

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