BPO automation may displace 40,000, add 700,000 jobs

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2017 02:35 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2017 03:41 PM

MANILA - The shift to automation can displace 40,000 low-skilled workers in the business process outsourcing industry, but will open up job opportunities for nearly 700,000 higher-skilled counterparts, an industry official said Tuesday.

Low-skilled workers include receptionists and clerks. Job demand will shift to medium and high-skilled jobs that offer higher compensation, said Alex Tined, program director of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines.

"We need to teach them the new jobs. The challenge now is to make sure that we have people to do the mid and high skill jobs," Tined said.

Tined said some 388,000 jobs would be added to the middle level and another 309,000 to the high skill level, bringing the industry workforce to 1.8 million by 2022 from the current 1.14 million.

The BPO industry is a key job generator and source of dollar earnings that help strengthen the peso. 

Tined said the Philippines had fallen to third place among the world's top BPO destinations, as India and China lure companies with more advanced technologies.

China is a relative newcomer to the race, previously dominated by India and the Philippines.