Contact center industry poised for sustained growth
800,000 jobs and US$14.7 billion in revenues expected by 2016
(Manila, Philippines, October 15, 2012)—In just over a decade, the contact center industry has become a major contributor to the Philippine economy, overtaking India to become the number one global provider of voice services.
The voice sector posted a 21-percent growth in 2011. It presently employs 493,000 direct employees providing $9 billion in services to global clients. It is still the largest sector within the Philippine information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry. It makes up 64 percent of the industry’s total number of direct employees and over 67% of total revenues.
The contact center industry is not slowing down either. Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president Benedict Hernandez said that job opportunities in the voice industry are expected to double in the coming years, creating 800,000 jobs and bringing US$14.7 billion in revenues by 2016.
As with any booming industry, industry players expect to meet challenges ahead. “For the next 10 years, the problems that the call center industry should expect are the dwindling talent supply, low retention rate, and maintaining an investor-friendly business environment,” said Hernandez.
“Potential talent is there, but we need to make them either ready with the right skills set or willing to join the industry. K-12 education can be a tool to prepare the country’s talent to drive future industry growth,” said Sen. Edgardo Angara in his keynote address during the recent International Contact Center Conference and Expo. To help build potential talent capabilities, Senator Angara said the government intends to donate P1-billion to the industry by investing on education and talent development.
“Contact center agents account for the single biggest source of business competitiveness and success for call centers and similar BPOs. A call center’s ability to sustain the growth and development of its workforce is, thus, equivalent to sustaining business competitiveness and success. Our business is our people. Without them we have no business,” said CCAP executive director Jojo Uligan.
Looking farther ahead, “In 2021, the call center industry will evolve, resulting in new work opportunities and new skills. The good news is that the Philippines has these numbers (of talent),” said Swati Chawla, lead for Talent Consulting Business-Southeast Asia of Towers Watson.
Ateneo Center of Research and Development executive director Maria Regina Hechanova added that effective leadership by people managers could solve the problem in talent retention. “Aside from the incentive programs offered by companies, leadership seminars can also be helpful in instilling effective leadership among leaders,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Winston “Stan” Padojinog, senior economist and Dean of the School of Management of the University of Asia and the Pacific, emphasized that creating and maintaining an environment conducive for business is also crucial in attracting more investors and global clients. Aside from combating threats to peace and security, such as terrorism, it is also important to set up technology innovations, systems and infrastructure especially in emerging hubs. The government intends to push for public-private partnerships to drive this goal.
Despite these challenges, the Philippine voice sector is positive that it will consistently perform and meet its goals in the coming years. But while competitors are gearing up to get a larger share of the market, local industry players are realizing the need to take a more proactive approach to stay ahead.
“We shouldn’t just follow. Instead, we should take the lead, create and blaze the trails, and proactively make the future of the industry happen. We should not just defend our market position, but take the lead in setting benchmarks and best practices. We should not just keep the pace, but shape and pursue success with rigor, commitment, and excitement in building the world’s largest contact center practice,” said Hernandez.
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is the umbrella association for the IT-BPO and GIC (Global In-House Center) industry in the Philippines. BPAP serves as the one-stop information and advocacy gateway for the industry. With approximately 300 industry and support-industry members, including five associations—Animation Council of the Philippines, Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Software Industry Association—BPAP plays a pivotal role in sustaining rapid growth of the IT-BPO and GIC industry by working to ensure an enduring supply of high quality labor, supporting service innovation, and providing country visibility.
BPAP assists investors in setting up operations easily and quickly in the Philippines. Relevant research, introductions to key government and industry officials, and a series of briefings at each step of the investment process ensure a seamless development process. On-going support is provided through a wide variety of initiatives, including programs for HR development, business development, and on-going knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.