BPOs target staffing level exceeding 2M by 2025

BPOs target staffing level exceeding 2M by 2025

THE IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said that it hopes to exceed the two-million mark in industry headcount by 2025, citing the competitiveness of the Philippine workforce.

In a briefing on Monday, IBPAP President Jack Madrid, whose industry is also known as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, said the association’s members posted substantial growth in jobs created last year.

“The IT-BPM (information technology and business process management) industry continues to grow. We ended last year with 1.7 million direct jobs for Filipinos, up 8%, and we generated well over $35 billion in revenue for the economy,” Mr. Madrid said.

Last year, Mr. Madrid said that the industry is targeting 7-8% growth in headcount and $39 billion in revenue for 2024.

“But I’m really excited about 2025 because this is when we will cross the 2 million job level. And, you know that’s quite significant. It took… almost 20 years to hit 1 million jobs and we’re attempting to do the second million in less than six years. So it’s really quite a feat,” he said.

However, he said that the industry currently faces a challenge in meeting demand for Filipino IT-BPM workers, pointing to the need for talent upskilling.

“We are an indispensable pillar of the economy, with 1.7 million employees and growing … the only thing that’s holding us back is really the availability of talent,” Mr. Madrid said.

“So we should take seriously the importance of upskilling and reskilling our existing workforce, and also the upcoming generation of job seekers,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said that the global IT-BPM industry will continue to grow and will attract more entrants into a field dominated by India and the Philippines.

“We have more competition and so if we want to increase direct investment, I think our industry is one such pathway. We are rich in human capital, we are big in services exports. So, let us continue to work on strengthening the skills of the Filipino workforce,” he added.

He said that another pathway to competitiveness and attracting more IT-BPM investment is to allow more work flexibility.

“In the past two years, there has been a gradual uptick in going back to on-site. If I were to venture a guess as to the aggregate number, we’re probably at about 60% on-site,” he said.

He added that some jobs can be done remotely while others require collaboration with some global customers, who prefer their transactions to be done in the workplace due to privacy concerns.

“I think the important thing is not the number, what’s important is the flexibility that we give our employees and the flexibility that we also give to our investors because all other IT-BPM destinations are offering work from home flexibility, including India,” he said.

“And so for us to remain competitive, we need to provide flexibility to both investors and employees,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile