MANILA— The country's information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector has the potential to grow its revenue to $29 billion and add some 160,000 more jobs by 2022 as it remained resilient despite the COVID-19 pandemic, an industry leader said Friday.
The sector continues to become a fast-growing dollar export contributor to the economy, even in 2020, when most of the firms suffered from losses due to the pandemic, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines chair Benedict Hernandez said in a virtual briefing organized by the Management Association of the Philippines.
"Amidst other crises that the world has seen, we have constantly been seeing growth after growth at different levels, but growth nonetheless. [The year] 2020 was a big surprise to us as the rest of the economy has to deal with a lot of contraction of the economy," Hernandez said.
"If we do it right we can contribute that... We have the opportunity to have a much better 2021 and 2022 creating jobs and bringing dollar exports into the economy," he added.
Its revenue was at $26.7 billion in 2020, Hernandez said, adding that its current direct employment count is at 1.32 million.
While other companies imposed cost-cutting measures, the sector managed to add 23,000 new hires last year. It has also swiftly implemented a work-from-home arrangement to ensure continued service, he said.
IT and business process outsourcing jobs can be "rapidly inclusive" given the adoption of hybrid work models, he said.
Hernandez said out of the total employees in the industry, 27 percent or about 350,000 are based in provincial cities. This is something that most companies will work on harnessing moving forward, he said.
During the pandemic, companies invested heavily in the work-from-home setup such as procuring pocket WiFis, fiber-to-home connectivity and laptops, among others, he said.
One year into a hybrid or combined office and work-from-home setup, the sector now has data to prove that remote working does not diminish productivity and even security, Hernandez said.
The ability to adopt new work models, a successful vaccination program and a more "permanent solution" to existing obstacles will allow the country to remain competitive in the BPO space, Hernandez said.
BPO groups earlier said they have procured 1 million COVID-19 doses.
Workers in the sector are part of the A4 priority group.