Manila, Cebu among top global outsourcing destinations

From a report by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2014 10:05 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2014 12:18 AM

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MANILA, Philippines – In the 2014 ranking of investment advisory firm Tholons, Manila edged out Mumbai, India to place as second top outsourcing destination in the whole world.

Cebu City, meanwhile, placed 8th while other cities like Davao, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Bacolod, Iloilo and Baguio are also among the top 100.

Because of this, the manpower demand for business process outsourcing (BPO) companies has never been bigger.

Their target for 2016 is 1.3 million Filipinos.

But as BPO companies try to reach this target, several problems need to be solved first.

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IT-BPAP) said for every 100 people applying for entry level positions in call centers, only 9 applicants will get hired.

Another 20 to 40 will need additional call center training, while the rest get rejected for lacking the required skills.

"In general, what we call good competency skills are good communication and computer skills, and critical thinking,” said Gillian Joyce Virata, senior executive director at IT-BPAP.

In training centers, potential call center agents get much-needed training in English communication and basic computer skills.

One of the students, 57-year-old Cleo Gonzales, said she tried applying in a call center once, but failed because her English skills were lacking.

“Magaling ako sa written communication but then ‘yung fluency ko sa salita ng English is not enough so madaming dapat mabago,” she said.

BPO companies also continue their training partnerships with TESDA and CHED to help fill up the big demand for the industry.

“The potential for the Philippines in this industry is really great, we need to nurture and take care of it primarily by education and training,” said Virata.

The IT-BPAP hopes that programs like this will help propel the BPO industry to the top in the years to come.