BPO workers happy with their job, but...

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 25 2014 02:58 AM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 07:08 PM

MANILA - They are happy with their jobs, but do not want to stay longer than a year.

A study commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) last year showed that business process outsourcing (BPO) workers are generally happy with their high-paying jobs, but think of leaving them in the immediate future due to health and social concerns.

Researchers Nimfa Ogena and Soccoro Rodriguez conducted an online survey covering a total of 698 BPO workers from Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and North Luzon. Of the 698 respondents, 51% were from Metro Manila, 21% from Cebu, 15% from Davao and 13% from North Luzon.

“Even if they’re happy on average, there are many who are planning to leave their jobs within the next 12 months,” Ogena told The STAR in explaining the results of the study titled “Health and Social Policy Issues of BPO Workers in the Philippines: Is Happiness at Work Attainable?”

“They’re happy but they have issues,” she added.

Majority of the respondents were employed in call centers and the rest were into non-voice services such as back office, software development, medical transcription and engineering.

They were fielded questions such as: How would you describe your current state of health? In your current work, how happy/unhappy are you in this company? Which problem(s) arising from BPO industry need to be addressed at present by the government?

Based on the responses, high salary (77%), to gain experience (65%) and benefits package (64%) are the top three reasons why respondents joined the BPO workforce.

To validate the online responses of BPO workers, the researchers conducted separate focus group discussions with BPO supervisors and BPO workers in five selected sites.

The study revealed that majority of the BPO respondents were of “average health” (50%) and “healthier than average” (25%).

Rodriguez said BPO workers who are of average health are not afflicted with serious diseases, don’t have hypertension, diabetes and other diseases, and do not need to be hospitalized for treatment. But they sometimes suffer from headaches, cough and other minor ailments due to smoking and lack of sleep.

BPO workers who are healthier than average are those who do not suffer from any ailments.

Colds, cough, fever, flu and asthma resulting from too much smoking are the most common current health problems cited by the respondents.

Other health complaints include headache, migraine, insomnia as a result of difficulty in sleeping in the daytime and hypertension due to unhealthy diet, among others.

Lack of quality time with family and friends, addiction to alcohol and smoking and marital problems are the top social problems.

According to the respondents, they would rather sleep or rest during leisure time.

The study showed that happiness at work is influenced by the importance given by a BPO worker on job productivity in the workplace and the mean number of hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Many of the BPO workers are very young and newly graduated from college.