Industry Research : BPO Firms Eye Provincial Talent
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is looking to establish more information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in provinces to increase revenues and hire more Filipinos.
"We want to bring more of the work in Metro Manila to the countryside. We want to diversify. Right now, around 200,000 workers are in the provinces. We want to increase that to 520,000 by 2016," BPAP Senior Executive Director Gillian Joyce G. Virata told reporters on Friday.
She said that the pool of talent in the provinces is just as competitive as that in Metro Manila and can provide a boost to the country’s economy if tapped.
BPAP President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Mari P. Mercado shared the same sentiment and said: "There is an advantage in operating in the provinces. Cost of living and minimum wages are lower there compared to Metro Manila."
The group specifically wants to increase the number of BPO companies in the cities of Naga, Laoag, Butuan, Tacloban, Puerto Prinsesa, Iloilo, Tarlac, Baguio, Antipolo, and Cagayan de Oro.
"The cities we selected are more or less ready, [but] we still have to meet with the local government units, academe, and businessmen to see if there is still anything that should be improved," Mr. Mercado said.
The industry hopes to generate 1.3 million jobs and $25-billion revenues by 2016. The industry, estimated at $13.3 billion as of 2012, currently employs 777,000 people.
Mr. Mercado added that the move to expand to the provinces came after a request from the government in order to address the country’s growing unemployment rate.
"The request came from Secretary [Mario G.] Montejo of the DoST (Department of Science and Technology). It’s a tall order. But we want to aspire for it," he said.
The latest Labor Force Survey released by the National Statistics Office earlier this month showed that the unemployment rate was at 7.3%, up from 7% in the same month last year. This was equivalent to 3 million jobless Filipinos from 2.8 million a year earlier.
The economy expanded by a higher-than-expected 7.5% in the second quarter, putting growth -- at 7.6% for the first half -- on track to exceeding this year’s 6-7% goal. It was also the fourth consecutive quarter of above-7% growth.
Meanwhile, the 5th International Outsourcing Summit will be held next month, Oct. 6-8, at the Makati Shangri-La in Makati City.
With the theme "Unlocking Possibilities, Creating New Vistas", this year’s summit will gather industry leaders to address current trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the industry. International and local speakers are expected to share their insights.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 5, 2013