Business Process Outsourcing continues to be one of the foremost industries in terms of dollar remittance to the country, following only Overseas Filipino Workers.

This declaration was made by Haidee Enriquez, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsourcing Philippines and a Board Trustee of Beepo, during the 2nd Sulong Palawan Business Forum. The forum was orchestrated by the Palawan Business Club and took place at the VJR Hall of the provincial capitol on Wednesday, August 23rd.

Enriquez also unveiled during the initial business forum held in November of last year that the BPO, now more commonly recognized as the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry, had already introduced its roadmap for the forthcoming years with the goal of becoming the leading industry in the country.

“As an industry, we ended 2022 with a total headcount direct employment of 1.76 million all throughout the Philippines. What was even more impactful, and I shared this during the last Sulong Palawan business forum was that in this already well noted and well established IT-BPM sector, for every one job generated directly by the industry, two to three more jobs are created elsewhere – janitorial staff, housekeeping… So you can compute how impactful the industry is,” Enriquez said.

“The 2nd one is that in so far as revenue is concerned, the industry and the US$32.7 billion in dollar revenue generated for the country stabilizes, solidifying the 2nd biggest dollar revenue generator for the country next only to remittances from OFWs,” she added.

The figures are marginally higher when compared to the 1.4 million employment count and P29.5 billion in revenues recorded for the year 2021, figures that Enriquez also highlighted during the first business forum.

Furthermore, she mentioned that the IT-BPM industry has consistently held top positions in various categories, as noted by the Everest Consulting Group at the Contact Island Conference held three weeks prior.

According to Everest’s findings, the Philippines secured the first rank in contact service center providers and healthcare business services. Additionally, the country achieved the second rank in IT services and global in-house contact centers.

“So that means, that’s no longer the option for our nurses and doctors to move outside the Philippines because they can be USRN certified while in the country,” Enriquez said.

She also mentioned that apart from the IT-BPM sector, the country is also experiencing rapid growth in the economy worker or freelancer industry. However, Enriquez acknowledged that due to the lack of a direct monitoring mechanism for freelance workers, it’s not possible to provide an exact count.

“Based on DICT estimates, there are currently 5 million of them,” she said.

The figure also show a big jump from the 1.1 million estimate back in 2021.

Moreover, she pointed out that evidence of the growing IT-BPM sector is the recent emergence of new contact service providers in Palawan, such as Hello Connect and Cognizant.

Cognizant will also set to establish a presence in Puerto Princesa City.

“In Palawan, we have witnessed the entry of another contact center provider – Hello Connect, alongside Sitel. Then, just two months ago, a contact center provider from India, Cognizant, entered the scene. They are actually one of the largest in India and they are in the process of setting up operations in Puerto Princesa,” Enriquez explained.

However, she said that the industry is still grappling with the same drawback that has been impeding its growth.

“In so far as low lights are concerned, there is only one thing – talent, talent and talent, or lack of it,” she lamented, adding that her company alone needs around 400 people from virtual assistants to medical doctors but they cannot fill up the gap because of the problem in talent.

“Year-on-year, it is estimated that there are around 120,000 jobs left unfilled and are going elsewhere even though Philippines is their first option because we do not have the talent,” she said.

“So that’s good news and bad news, and a lot more challenges ahead of us,” she added.

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