Prolonging action on BPO work setup may hurt competitiveness: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2022 06:27 PM

MANILA - The failure to arrive at a consensus regarding the hybrid work setup for the business process outsourcing sector could hurt the country's competitiveness, a stakeholder said Friday.

BPOs are lobbying for a hybrid onsite and remote work set up while the government is insisting that workers should return to site in order to continue enjoying tax perks. 

Several firms were granted letters of authorization by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to allow remote work for at least 30 percent of their workers until September. 

But there should be a more concrete regulation on the hybrid work set up, said IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president Jack Madrid. 

"Our role is to increase the number of jobs for Filipinos. I think there is a significant number of demand. There is a war for talent. We are at a very important part of the industry globally. We have an opportunity to seize more market share but we are losing out the longer we take in addressing this hybrid work setup challenge," he said in a briefing.

Madrid said they need to ensure that talents stay in the sector. 

"The opportunity to generate 50, 60 thousand jobs is at stake, per annum, based on 2021 numbers," he added.

Madrid argued that hybrid arrangements with fiscal incentives would be vital for them to keep pace with the growing number of competitors in the BPO space. 

Concentrix APAC regional general counsel Atty. Michael Montero, meanwhile, said "flexibility" is key for business expansion, job generation, and the sector's increased contribution to economic growth.

"Down the line what we see is if we have that flexibility, we know we will have that ability to be able to take in a lot more business here, and invariably increase revenue, and of course on the side, also increase employment which also has its net effect on the ability of the employees who have to also pay their own taxes and also ultimately contribute to government’s requirement of also increasing revenue," he said. 

 WFH PREFERENCE

Filipino talents also prefer work from home jobs compared to other nationalities, Modern Work and Security Business Lead for Microsoft Philippines Vette Watson said.

Watson said 67 percent of workers are more likely to prioritize health and well-being than before the pandemic. 

“What people want from work and what people are willing to give, has changed. The dynamic is shifting, and perks like free food, a corner office, are no longer what people value most," Watson said.

The government has mandated the IT-BPM sector, which covers BPOs, to return to work starting April or lose tax perks. Workers were allowed to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

-- With a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

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