Experts Forecast Clear Skies Ahead for Philippine BPO Industry

Author Name: Kathleen Yu

Regarded as one of the fastest growing industries in the world, the Philippine BPO market is expected to continue on a positive trend this year. Experts at the Business Processing Association of the Philippines project an annual increase of at least 4-10% in global market shares, coupled with an expected revenue of at least $10-12 billion. An annual hiring rate of 150,000 is also anticipated, thereby establishing the Philippines as one of the top choices for BPO destinations in Asia.

Considered an emerging leader in the global BPO industry, the Philippines has grown 46% annually since the year 2006. Estimates from the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) and the BPO Services Association (BSA/U) put the number of people employed by the BPO sector at 435,000 during the end of 2008.  However, Managing Director and BPO Consultant Gregory Kittelson of Kittelson & Carpo Consulting believes the numbers could be even higher. “There are small foreign investors arriving daily to the Philippines and setting up branch offices and subsidiaries for their BPOs.  I feel that some of these small companies and their employees may not be accounted for just yet.  Hence, the number of employees in the BPO industry could even be larger than most statistics claim.”  According to statistics from the Department of Labor and Employment, the number is still expected to increase in the coming years. As the industry continues to expand, experts are now observing a shift from cost-effectiveness to skills quality and competence.

As overseas companies expand their operations toward the Asian frontier, the future of the Philippine BPO industry has never looked brighter. The Philippines is now the third largest BPO destination in the world, commanding 15% of the global market. Highly recognized in the outsourcing industry, the country was recently awarded Best Offshoring Destination for the year 2009. The award was given by the United Kingdom’s National Outsourcing Association, to recognize the productivity of the economic environment here in the Philippines.

As the year progresses, more and more investors are now looking to localize their operations here in the Philippines. Clients from the United States, Australia, India, China and the UK, are now hiring more and more Filipinos to oversee their business operations. Known for their cost effectiveness and efficiency, Filipinos are fluent in English-the lingua franca of the call center industry. This has opened doors for recently graduated Filipinos in the country, creating opportunities for them to thrive in the BPO industry. To date, call centers comprise about 80% of the outsourcing industry in the Philippines, contributing 12% of the country’s GNP.

The BPO Industry has created other financial opportunities as well. Foreign companies are now hiring medical transcriptionists to process voice-recorded reports into text format. These specialists process up to 1,000 lines of transcripts per day, with a 98% accuracy rate. Companies are also tapping into the Philippine workforce for their Corporate Back office Operations. These services include accounting, bookkeeping, account maintenance and other finance-related operations.

Recently ranked #1 in the availability of knowledge-based workers worldwide, the Philippines is now playing host to a thriving IT industry. Outsourcing services such as software and web development are now finding themselves in the hands of capable Filipino professionals. Filipino animators are also doing well in the global marketplace, as evidenced by the success of recent animated movies like Cars.

The majority of BPO facilities in the country are located in First Tier cities like Manila, Makati, Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas and Cebu. Second and Third Tier facilities have recently sprung up in regional areas as well. As the industry continues to expand, more and more facilities are being established around the country. Experts forecast clear skies ahead for the local BPO industry, as it continues a steady expansion in the year 2010.

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