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Philippines on the Fast Track as World BPO Powerhouse

There’s no doubt about it. The Philippines has emerged as the world’s BPO powerhouse. The Philippine government’s target to double the country’s overall outsourcing revenues to $18 billion by 2015 may even prove to be too conservative. For 2011, industry experts estimate that the local BPOs’ annual take will already exceed the $11-billion mark, and hence further boost the 6–5 percent that the industry contributes to the Philippines’ annual GDP.

A steady growth of BPO ventures in the Philippines indeed has been noted during the last five years. According to a study by the BPAP and the outsourcing advisory firm Everest Global, the Philippine IT-BPO industry grew by an estimated 30 percent from 2006 to 2010. Total revenues rose from the $3.2 billion registered in 2006 to the expected $9 billion generated last year. With this performance, the BPAP-Everest Global research further showed that the industry has become the third largest contributor to Philippine foreign exchange earnings. Significantly, the country’s market share in the global BPO business has been similarly on the rise with its 5 percent slice in 2006 growing to an estimated 8 percent last year.

Also most apparent is the BPOs’ highly positive impact on the local employment. Based on the industry study, BPO companies combined have become the largest job generator in the private sector. From their 240,000 full-time employees in 2006, total BPO manpower complement more than doubled to 530,000 last year.

Additionally, the industry is said to spawn indirect jobs of between 700,000 and 1 million. The study also noted that the industry has a catalyzing effect in more than 10 next-wave BPO hotspot cities wherein 50,000 new jobs are expected to be created.

The Philippines’ fast rise as a strong contender in global BPO opportunities has been attributed to several factors. Well-known among these is the country’s highly educated, English-speaking labor force and the government’s generous incentives for BPO start-ups, including tax breaks and streamlined registration of businesses.

Moreover, the industry’s continuous growth over the past few years has also led to the development of a deeper bench of IT-BPO managerial talents. Given a little time more time, the Philippines will soon have a full retinue of managers, IT engineers, consultants, and account specialists that will help spur even more dramatic market and industry growth for the Philippine BPO firms.