Gig jobs gaining popularity in Philippines

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — As freelancing jobs have been gaining more popularity among Filipinos in recent times, the Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry is urged to accept the competition created by the rise of the gig economy in attracting talent especially in the countryside.

On the sidelines of the Aboitiz Data Innovation’s Artificial Intelligence Summit last week, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and CEO Jack Madrid told reporters that  the rise of the gig economy is something that the IT-BPM industry needs to pay attention to.

“But it is a force that is hard to stop. I’m not sure as a Filipino, if we need to stop it,” Madrid said.

“I think as an industry, we need to accept it as a challenge because you know that that was catalyzed by the pandemic. It was catalyzed by the fact that we can now work from home,” he said.

Madrid said the rise of the gig economy is an interesting result of work flexibility. “This is the new world of work. And so I think what our industry needs to do is accept the competition,” he said.

As companies in the gig economy are likely unregistered businesses, Madrid stressed that gig economy workers or freelancers should think about the stability of these jobs, especially those with short-term contracts and benefits.

“So I think on the investor side, we need to accept it and compete with it...But as a Filipino I am happy for them because it’s still a job. It’s still good for our economy, but I want them to also know the pros and the cons of not working for an unregistered company,” Madrid said.

Based on its Roadmap 2028, the IBPAP is targeting to create up to 1.1 million new direct jobs by 2028, 54 percent of which will be in the countryside.

MicroSourcing CEO Haidee Enriquez highlighted in a recent summit the challenges brought by the gig economy to the IT-BPM industry.

“A lot of the people who are enticed to move into freelancing or gig economy workers are those in the countryside because not a lot of BPO players are not present in their particular location,” Enriquez was quoted in a recent news report.

Last year, the country’s IT-BPM industry registered an 8.4-percent increase in full-time employees (FTEs) with 121,000 new FTEs, bringing the industry’s total headcount to 1.57 million. The sector also recorded a growth of 10.3-percent in revenues to reach $32.5 billion in 2022.

IBPAP noted that the boost in headcount and revenue may be attributed to growth in Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI), Healthcare, Retail, Technology, and Telecommunications.

Based on Roadmap 2028, the Philippine IT-BPM industry can reach 1.7 million FTEs and $35.9 billion in revenue in 2023.

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