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Voice BPO’s continuing success brings career opportunities to Filipino professionals

(Manila, Philippines) – The contact center industry has overtaken India, posting a 21% growth last year with US$7.4 billion in revenues. According to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), the voice services sector employed over 416,000 as of 2011, making up 67% of the entire information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector.

The prospect for the contact center industry remains bright as demand for employable talent continues to rise. For industry pioneers like Carlo José, this means more opportunities for young professionals like him to land rewarding jobs in a dynamic industry that allows for rapid professional advancement.

In 2000, José joined eTelecare as an agent and quickly saw the growth opportunity in the industry. Last March, José was appointed president and head of the Global Service Center of HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Phils) Inc.

“When I joined the industry over 10 years ago, it was still very small. As one of the first wave of agents, I witnessed first-hand how the industry grew. Soon after I joined, I realized its great potential to provide career growth opportunities not only to me, but to other Filipino professionals as well. This realization inspired me to do better and push for bigger goals to help the industry,” José said.

“In 2011, the voice services sector experienced remarkable growth and accounted for 67% of total industry revenues. Much of this growth is driven by global in-house services centers such as HSBC in the banking sector and Dell for technical support,” Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) President and CEO Benedict Hernandez said. “Every major global bank, many insurance firms, engineering companies and other companies are finding the Philippines the optimal location for complex, non-voice services.

“We also see third-party providers like Stream Global, Genpact, Headstrong, Integreon, and Fluor, increasingly providing services, especially in the software, technology, legal, and engineering sectors,” he said.

“The growth of the industry depends heavily on how much talent we can produce to meet the demand,” said BPAP Senior Executive Director Gigi Virata. “For it to achieve its full growth potential, the industry needs more young people, including fresh college graduates, to take up the offer of rewarding entry-level opportunities. As for current BPO employees, we need them to stay and continue to grow with the industry,” according to Virata.

To help increase the supply of employable talent, BPAP has launched a career portal called WorkAbroadLiveHere.com. The portal allows professionals looking for jobs in the IT-BPO industry to search for openings and upload their resumes for IT-BPO companies to access them.

“The career portal aims to bring the potential BPO workers and prospective employers from different levels and fields of expertise into one place, providing thousands of young Filipinos with countless opportunities for rapid professional growth,” Hernandez said.

Aside from launching the career portal, BPAP is also creating partnerships with government and academic institutions to address the talent gap. “We’re working with the government and the academe to incorporate IT-BPO services courses into the curricula of local schools and colleges. This way, the knowledge gaps are addressed and the graduates are better prepared to enter the industry after graduation,” said Penny Bongato, BPAP executive director for Talent Development.

Professionals like Carlo José welcome the further expansion of available opportunities in the BPO industry, as the country moves to more diverse verticals. “We now have a bigger mix of services offered in various fields such as finance, healthcare, animation, and IT. As a result, fresh graduates and young professionals are given the chance to work in the BPO industry and actually apply what they have studied.” In contrast, young talents who opt to go abroad often end up in jobs that are unrelated to their profession or field of study.

“This is an industry that promises to curb the country’s unemployment rate by providing rewarding careers to qualified professionals. We support all the industry’s efforts through collaboration with private and public institutions in developing and sustaining talent supply to achieve the industry’s future goals,” José said.

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