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Hello, it’s more fun in PHL contact centers

(Manila, Philippines, October 30, 2012) — Already the biggest sector of the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry, the voice sector is showing no signs of slowing down.

There are 493,00 Filipinos employed in the contact center industry. This figure is expected to increase to 567,000 next year. As the number one destination in the world for voice services, the Philippines takes pride of the competitive advantage of its Filipino talent pool. A study early this year by GlobalEnglish Corporation revealed that the Philippines is the world’s best country in business English proficiency, ahead of the United States.

However, contrary to common perception, the voice sector is not all about excellent communication skills. “It is not an easy job—not by any stretch. It requires one to learn to be quick, extremely professional, disciplined, analytical and patient,” said Olive Ybañez, senior manager for Career and Leadership Development Training at Aegis. “This job does not discriminate based on age, background or looks. Selection and retention are always based on skill. Skill is developed by the willingness to learn and the passion to do a great job every time.”

To ensure the competence of existing and potential voice sector employees, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) has partnered with government institutions to standardize training programs. BPAP and the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) have also forged partnerships with academic institutions to give students the chance to have their internship at partner BPO companies.

“The voice industry is one of the most dynamic and progressive sectors today. Its growth in the last six years is at least five times higher than the average employment growth in the country. This means that employment opportunities in the voice industry is more lucrative compared with other industries,” said Benedict Hernandez, BPAP president and CEO.

CCAP executive director Jojo Uligan also explained that compensation in the voice industry is more attractive than in other industries. “An entry-level position that typically requires a fresh college graduate or undergraduate can have a basic monthly salary of about ?12,000 to ?13,000. This is 38 percent higher than the basic minimum of ?9,000,” he said.

Aside from the competitive salary, the contact center industry is popular among job seekers and those who plan to shift careers because of the benefits and compensation package it offers employees. This includes night-time differentials; paid vacation and sick leaves; health care benefits; on-site sleeping quarters; continuing benefits; in-house training and other career advancement opportunities trainings; company-sponsored activities, among many others.

“I have friends in the contact center industry who were able to fully support the education of their siblings through college. One grew up in a depressed area but was able to give his mother a chance to live in a decent apartment and give her the best treatment in one of the best hospitals until she passed away,” shares Ybañez. “There are those who were able to give up going abroad because they already found a rewarding job here.”

Through the years, the voice industry has also shown that there are attainable career opportunities for upward mobility—a clear career path from entry level to senior management in a shorter period than what most people are used to. Case in point is Carlo José, who joined the industry as an agent and quickly saw the growth opportunity. José was recently appointed president and head of the Global Service Center of HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Phils) Inc. Another success story is Fred Chua, who started as team supervisor in 2002 and is now chief executive of Magellan Solutions.

In his keynote address during this year’s International Outsourcing Summit, President Benigno S. Aquino III said, “Our people are our greatest asset. Their combination of skill, work ethic, eagerness to learn, creativity, and loyalty is a major part of what makes this nation competitive. Give them the right environment, they flourish, and reap praises from all their employers.

About BPAP
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.