Slower growth seen for RP outsourcing industry this year

By Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2009 07:21 PM | Updated as of Jul 16 2009 08:04 PM

MANILA - The local outsourcing industry is expecting lower growth this year as foreign companies streamline all costs amid the global economic crisis.

According to Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) President Benedict Hernandez, the industry is likely to grow by 15% this year, down from CCAP's previous target range of 20 to 30%.

"The industry is actually trending at a 15% growth right now. We're not downgrading, we're tracking the real growth," he said at the CCAP Annual Call Center Conference and Expo on Wednesday.

Despite this, Hernandez stressed that the outsourcing sector remains resilient amid the crisis, providing 275,000 jobs this year from only about 230,000 in 2008. He said revenues may hit $5 billion this year as outsourcing firms move operations from Metro Manila to less saturated areas.

For his part, Sec. Ray Anthony Chua of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology said the government has helped strengthen the industry through its laws and scholarship programs.

"The key enabler is talent, that's our number one consideration," he said.

Analysts overseas, meanwhile, said the Philippines must continue tapping other markets despite being one of the world's top outsourcing destinations.

"It's really about strengthening that cultural affinity to people and making sure that other markets are aware of the Philippines as a destination. Focus on quality, not on competing with costs," said Martin Dove, managing director of CIS Global.

"The natural empathy that Filipinos have continues to be a factor that draws in investors for outsourcing. Once markets overseas recognize that, it shouldn't be a problem drawing them in," he added.