BPO share in online job postings falls, AI influence seen

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2018 01:46 PM

MANILA - Job openings for fresh graduates in the business process outsourcing sector have shrunk, with the rise of automation seen as among contributing factors, data from recruitment portal Jobstreet.com released on Wednesday showed.

The share of call center and IT in total jobs available for new graduates declined to 44 percent last year, from 66 percent in 2016, according to the report.

Automation makes work "faster and cheaper," said Jobstreet.com Philippines country manager Philip Gioca.

"There are certain companies we are servicing that, because of the introduction of AI, they have to lay off like 5,000 employees,” Gioca told reporters.

"When you look at the entire portfolio of BPOs, that is affected but small pa siya (it's still small) as compared with India or to the other countries,” he explained. 

Workers must upgrade their skills to ride the automation wave, Gioca said.

An estimated 43,000 low-skilled workers could lose their jobs from 2016 to 2022 due to AI, IT and Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines president Rey Untal earlier said.

However, the new technologies will also open opportunities for 697,000 middle to high-skilled BPO workers, he said.

Fewer job opportunities in the BPO sector means there are more opportunities from other industries, Gioca said.

The share of retail and merchandising in job postings increased to 5.6 percent from 2 percent during the same comparable period, while manufacturing jumped to 4 percent from 1.5 percent.

The survey also revealed that when it comes to hiring, employers looked to “twenty-first century skills” to fill up jobs in the digital space.

Attitude, communication skills and analytical skills have overtaken on-the-job training and part-time experience when hiring fresh graduates, the survey said. 

"This shows that more and more employers are opening their door to fresh graduates, presenting a significant shift in what employers need in these increasingly digital world," Gioca said. 

Other sectors that are listed as most welcoming to fresh graduates include property and real estate, banking and finance, construction, computer and IT-software, food and beverage, general and wholesale trading, and education.