BPOs In PH: Rising Above The Challenge

We’ve been seeing growth in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry even with the pandemic, and it’s evident in the additional 1.32 million headcounts in the Philippine Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector. 

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines also reported that the BPO industry improved its gross revenues by 1.8% for the last 12 months.

BPO Sector Occupies Vacated Office Spaces In PH

The negative effects of the pandemic have caused major tenants such as English as a Secondary Language (ESL) providers and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) to vacate their commercial spaces and ultimately downsize their operations. 

Real estate services company Colliers Philippines recommended that landlords should offer their empty spaces to outsourcing firms with quick plug-and-play office space requirements and watch out for BPO firms that carry on with hiring and occupying spaces, such as those providing logistics, healthcare, and e-commerce services.

True enough, the BPO sector has made the country’s struggling office segment resilient with its significant support. AREIT Inc., the Philippines’ first real estate investment trust, noted that 99 percent of its buildings are occupied and contracted long-term by BPO tenants. 

With the recovery of the global economy, AREIT’s  President and Chief Executive Officer Carol Mills is positive that there will be a continuous need for outsourcing, and this will help manage the operating costs of the office leasing industry.

BPO Firms are Still at 50% Capacity

With the health protocols and restrictions in place all over the Philippines, the BPO industry still manages to operate at 50% maximum capacity limit. 

Most of the outsourcing firms’ expansion is now focused on remote work. Nevertheless, even at this capacity, the office space demand within the BPO sector increases. 

Although Colliers Philippines believed that it may not be able to offset the considerable losses from the withdrawal of POGOs, Morgan McGilvray, the senior director of occupier services Santos Knight Frank, speculated that the BPO office demand might suddenly increase once offices are permitted to return to 100% capacity.

More Vaccine Doses for BPO Employees

Safety protocols are implemented in BPOs to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19. Magellan Solutions, a call center company in the Philippines, goes extra by sanitizing all rooms with UVC, wiping down workstation cubicles, installing air filtration systems, and requiring rapid COVID testing for returning employees and new hires. The company sets this example to show that even a small BPO company can get through these difficult times. 

With vaccines now available, many BPO companies are also considering to purchase vaccine doses for their own employees to further protect them. Fortunately, investment promotion agency Philippine Economic Zone Authority offered to assist company locators with tax- and duty-free importation of COVID-19 vaccine doses. This will significantly help with the COVID-19 concerns of the BPO industry. 

Among the BPO companies that have started a vaccination program for their Filipino employees is the Australian-owned offshore staffing firm Staff Domain. They purchased more than 500 vaccine doses, which will arrive in Q3. These doses will be administered to their employees and their families free of charge as part of their plan to protect their health and maintain safety. 

Meanwhile, Emapta, another Australian outsourcing firm, has pre-ordered 7,000 doses of Moderna vaccine for its 3,500 employees in the country.

More Opportunities for the Outsourcing Industry 

The outsourcing industry continues to become competitive and viable. With the ability of the BPO industry to persist through the pandemic, international clients who plan to outsource from the country can be more optimistic about the services provided by the Philippine BPO companies. 

Many job opportunities are now available even in other rising cities outside Metro Manila. Philip Gioca, the country manager of JobStreet Philippines, noted that job offerings in Central and Western Visayas grew by 9% and 44% in job openings, respectively.

Moreover, according to the Tholons Services Globalization Index 2020 results, Cebu ranks 15th among the most competitive outsourcing destination in the world. Cebu is one of only two Philippine cities, together with Metro Manila, that made it to the list of Top 100. 

Learn more about why Cebu is a preferred hub for business continuity here.

References:

“2020 Latest Report: BPO Industry in the Philippines Statistics.” Magellan Solutions, www.magellan-solutions.com/blog/whats-the-number-analysis-of-the-latest-statistics-of-the-bpo-industry.

“AREIT’s Office Segment Remain Resilient Due to BPOs.” Outsource Accelerator, 28 Apr. 2021, news.outsourceaccelerator.com/areits-office-segment-remain-resilient-due-to-bpos/?__s=8hstssfntyz6rpjs9oob.

“Cebu Flash | Prospects for Cebu Office Leasing Market’s Growth Beyond 2020.” Colliers, 11 Dec. 2020, www.colliers.com/en-ph/research/cebu-flash-prospects-for-cebu-office-leasing-markets-growth-beyond-2020.

“Office Sector Still Impacted by POGO Exodus.” Outsource Accelerator, 22 Apr. 2021, news.outsourceaccelerator.com/office-sector-still-impacted-by-pogo-exodus.

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