BPO industry to add 100,000 jobs this year - DTI

from a report by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2014 02:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2014 02:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The business process outsourcing industry is expected to add 100,000 new jobs this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said BPO employment is expected to reach 1 million by end of 2014. As of December 2013, there are 900,000 employed in the BPO sector.

Domingo said he is not worried about US President Barrack Obama's State of the Union address, where he urged US companies to bring back jobs from abroad.

He noted that outsourcing is still a cheaper and more attractive alternative for most US companies.

In his address, Obama once again urged US Congress to pass amendments to the Tax Code which provides incentives to companies that outsource jobs overseas.

"Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let's flip that equation. Let's work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs right here at home," Obama said.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines president Jose Mari Mercado said he isn't too concerned about Obama's statement as well.

In fact, he said there are 140,000 job vacancies in the BPO sector this year.

Mercado said outsourcing is always a business decision and the focus now should be how to supply the skills required by the industry.

The BPO industry in the Philippines is still growing, Mercado said, because more and more companies from countries like Australia, New Zealand and European countries are starting to outsource services.

The challenge for the Philippines now is to maintain its competitiveness in the BPO industry, by providing the right training for Filipino workers.

Mercado said the Philippines should focus on improving the training of its workforce.

BPAP has been coordinating with CHED and succeeded in introducing Service Management Programs in the curriculum of 5 colleges in order to prepare students for the BPO industry requirements. There are currently 1,400 students enrolled in the program. The goal is to increase the number of students to 10,000 this year.

Manila and Cebu are among the top 10 outsourcing destinations in the world, according to services globalization and investment advisory firm Tholons. Metro Manila ranked second only to Bangalore, which remained the top outsourcing city.