BPOs: A Driver for Economic Growth in Central Visayas

Proven to be the fastest growing industry in the Philippines, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies have achieved the role in providing quality jobs to Filipinos in the recent years.

In a news brief from Philippines Outsourcing Weekly Briefing, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7 has identified the BPO sector as one of the drivers for economic growth in the Central Visayas region. The Philippines has been in the top ranks (Tholons top 100) in providing valuable BPO services for companies around the globe.

According to NEDA 7, Central Visayas has by far "the fastest growing regional economy in the past six years, and to expand by 7.5 to 8% under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration." Not only will the economy grow, the region's unemployment rate also dropped to 4.6%, "the lowest rate among the regions in the country," according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 7. This is due to the aggressive hiring for different positions in BPO companies.

Job seekers in general are happy to be working in these companies, as they are one of the country's top paying industries. If you are a business and would want to outsource to the Philippines, then the Central Visayas region could be a good destination for you. Provincial cities in the Philippines will always have lower costs of living than metropolitan areas -- locals can attest to that. Because of the less expensive costs in these areas, BPOs get to spend less with operating and overhead costs as well. So, if they're working on a tight budget, they can definitely expand their business to the provinces.

Availability of talent is also an advantage. Candidates have the potential to get hired, as they come from top universities in the neighboring provinces. These cities are accurately described as small to mid-sized, so there's fewer people -- making it easier to commute during rush hour. It is less congested than bigger cities, which also leads to low competition for manpower.

However, we may face some future threats. NEDA 7 director Efren Carreon said that the BPO sector is one of the vulnerable sectors in the region today. US BPO firms have reportedly decided to defer their investments in the country. It is anticipated that contracts between providers and clients will be more short term, and contact centers will likely become self-service tools. According to an article in CIO.com, call centers will be replaced by the rise of tech-enabled contact centers.

Knowing that the Philippines has so much potential in the outsourcing sector, we must be able to come up with ways in managing future risks. We need to have backups and strategies, so that we won't have to rely on specific areas only. In addition, it's important to be prepared, that way we can grab new opportunities. We need to be flexible and keep up with the latest trends to survive in this sector and still remain at the top.

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