Since the early 90’s, the Philippines have steadily risen among the world’s inclusive location as an outsourcing destination. The meteoric rise of the country is credited to the economic viability of hiring, linguistic capabilities, English proficiency and technical skills possessed by the professional population comprising of the country’s still growing BPO workforce.
The BPO industry in the country has survived and buffered its way out of numerous global contractions that have been tumultuous to global growth as a whole. This includes the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the domestic threat of terrorism in the early 2000s and the collapse of the US real estate. With a robust industry, the BPO sector accounts for $25 Billion in revenue – which is 10 percent of the country’s economic output.
With the changing business climate buoyed by disruptive technologies such as automation and global market forces, the Philippines is well equipped to once again buoy its way out of challenging waters through a skilled population composed of tech savvy Millennials, emerging infrastructure and the expansion of more BPO concentrated hubs across the Philippine provinces.
As we are half way through 2017, three factors are seen to shape the country’s BPO / Outsourcing industry not just for the remainder of the year but also towards the 2020 decade.
- Administrative Focus on BPO – The administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte aims to develop more provinces to be “BPO Ready” in order to decentralize the “Manila-centric” image of the country’s economic growth. The aim is to generate jobs and opportunities within the other major provinces of the Philippines. This focus by the administration, has shaped the policy towards the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) jurisdiction of identifying fiscal incentives for directly investing in regional areas under the PEZA radar for IT & BPO. The deregulation of PEZA in Manila opens opportunity for other provinces to welcome offshore investors.
- Infrastructure – Economic analysts describe the country’s infrastructure investment boom as the “golden age of infrastructure” where the current administration is experiencing tremendous economic benefits from infrastructure. The two previous administrations of the Macapagal-Arroyo and Aquino have also substantially contributed to the hot expansion of the country’s infrastructure. Direct investments and stimuli received from domestic loans help establish numerous public, private and business infrastructure that houses businesses – both current and future investments. Infrastructure contributes to the country’s world rankings when it comes to Shared Service Centers. Through linking up major roads and creating more accessible routes in making travel to provinces more convenient, the administration is making use of the infrastructure boom to create economic zones in the provinces to attract foreign investors.
- Globally “Local” Culture – The Philippines has been traditionally defined as a melting pot of cultures that combines the heavy influence of the western lifestyle while maintaining the deeply rooted oriental culture or virtue within the present population. The result is a potent ground for a metropolis capital where English is spoken; business is conducted, while maintaining the warm and inviting hospitality of the Filipino culture.
The country’s strong affinity for western culture is among the ingredient in which foreign investors have invested heavily in facilities and command centres since the late 70s. Much like the rest of the world, the country has embraced globalization and it opens up more economic possibilities of international trade among its neighbors and the migration of more cultures from where business leaders also originate, emerge and shape their identity as they open up networked enterprises that create more employment.
With the world increasingly going global and localization is inflated into micro business cultures, the Philippines is a hotbed for investors coming from Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
The Philippine outsourcing / BPO industry remain vibrant and sustainable as ever. Despite the challenges looming in the form of the modern business paradigm shift stemming from industrial automation, the county and its BPO associations are readily welcoming the change as a sign of opportunity for innovating the country’s BPO readiness in terms of serviced skills.