Industry Research : Legazpi City Vows to Produce Manpower Needs for BPO Industry
This city will live to its name as a "feeder" of highly qualified manpower to the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry at the height of shortage in talent confronting the industry.
Mayor Geraldine Rosal of this city said that the local government is coming up with measures to improve its current pool of talents in the wake of recent assessment of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) that the supply of manpower cannot meet the growing industry.
This shortage, according to BPAP, continues to increase at the rate of 20 percent even as the country has 500,000 college graduates annually.
Rosal revealed that the city government is coordinating with the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education in doing an inventory of these graduates as well as previous graduates for possible enlistment with the city’s current pool of BPO talents who are already gainfully employed locally.
The chief executive noted that the city’s two universities, Bicol University (BU) and Aquinas University of Legazpi (AUL), plus the over a dozen of colleges produced this year a total of about 10,000 graduates, and majority of them--like those in information technology (IT), nursing, finance, accounting and other courses related to business outsourcing--could serve the purpose.
There are now several BPO firms operating here with a combined call center seats of about 15,000.
The city is also anticipating the opening this year of Sutherland Global Services, an international provider of business process and technology management services that will offer 4,500 seats in its three-storey building now undergoing construction along the Legazpi City Boulevard.
"We are especially concerned with graduates in the fields that will address the demands for talents in Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing, Human Resources Outsourcing and Animation and Game Development Outsourcing which are fast growing and emerging as promising fields," she said.
According to the Department of Science and Technology, Healthcare IT-BPO careers have expanded into various disciplines that open windows of career opportunities for nursing graduates and allied medical professionals.
Through the IT-BPO sector, these professionals can opt to take alternative careers such as medical transcriptors, medical secretaries, medical coders and billers, medical assistants, medical representatives, medical butlers and clinical research associates.
For BPAP, the health information management continues to be the fastest growing sector at the BPO industry, growing 200 percent in 2012, and although BPO health sector requires US-registered nurses, anybody employed under the industry will be earning more than what an overseas Filipino worker is getting abroad.
The BPAP said USA covers 80 percent of the country’s BPO clients and the country hopes to capture more clients from Europe and Australia. Finance and accounting, digital management and game development are other growing BPO industry sectors and according to BPAP.
The big gap in manpower supply is on the finance and accounting sector that is expanding mostly in captive banks and require highly-skilled and certified public accountants.
As to English language proficiency, which the BPAP is citing as another problem, Rosal said, "We are arranging interventions, perhaps remedial courses, with schools and local industry players in addressing this. "The BPAP has said that based on testing of 15,500 students from 45 schools, majority falls below industry’s minimum competency requirement of 60 percent.
"We do not want our reputation as feeder city for providing highly qualified manpower to other outsourcing centers across the country to go to naught, that is why we want to maintain for the city a large pool of highly qualified manpower to the BPO industry," the lady mayor said.
Legazpi is now listed as among the New Wave Cities--joining last year top-listed Davao City and other early entrants such as Bacolod, Baguio, Malolos, Iloilo, Cavite, Lipa, and Cagayan de Oro cities. The city, the government’s regional center for Bicol, also scored high in the cost of doing business and availability of needed physical IT infrastructures to support the outsourcing industry, according to the BPAP.
Being a New Wave City provides a great avenue for local empowerment as its increases its talent pool and stems salary and rental inflation. It also eases the pressures to raise salaries and rental rates in these major hubs, and spread the benefits of employment, higher incomes and increased business activity across the country.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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