Freeman Cebu Business

IT-BPO sector expects 15% to 18% expansion in 2016

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu's Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry expects to see at least 15 percent to 18 percent expansion in the year 2016, anchoring its confidence on Cebu's ample supply of talents.

"We are pushing for higher value services to utilize our talents," said Cebu Educational Development for Information Technology Foundation (Cedfit) executive director Jun Sa-a.

The growth forecast may not be as high as the early years of outsourcing investment influx, but Cebu is re-directing its focus to high-paying services, through Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

Fresh jobs opportunities for KPO will be dominant, while revenues of the industry may double due to sophisticated talent requirements.

Cebu's well established voice outsourcing will continue to thrive, but growth driver in the sector in terms of revenue will be largely sourced from high value jobs.

"We are ready to supply the KPO services. The academe in Cebu has been very supportive in adjusting their course offerings to suit the sophisticated requirements of the evolving sector," said Sa-a.

This means that the estimated P36.8 billion released by the sector in terms of salary to employees in 2015 may increase significantly in 2016, as entry level paycheck for high-value jobs are mostly doubled compare to a traditional voice or customer-service related assignments.

  To date, Cebu hosts at least 200 outsourcing companies, employing 120 thousand people. Based on an 18 percent growth target, at least 20,000 new jobs will be offered to the outsourcing space in Cebu in the year 2016.

If majority of these jobs will be for high-value skills, an entry level employee could earn an average monthly income of P25,000 to P30,000.

According to IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) forecast, the KPO segment is acting as one of the major catalysts to achieve the "brain gain" bid of the country, as professionals like lawyers, accountants, artists, doctors, nurses, medical technologists, teachers, programmers, animators, among others are now given wider choices for employment and avail of high-paying jobs, while top multinational firms are setting up their offshore offices in the Philippines.

IBPAP president Jomari Mercado said the healthcare outsourcing job in the country alone is growing tremendously, now employing nearly 100,000 medical professionals.

In 2014, the healthcare segment of the KPO sector registered a total revenue of US$ 1 billion, and this is expected to double in shorter span of time.

Back-office services like Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO), healthcare, legal process, animation, game development, among others, are now taking remarkable prominence in the outsourcing industry.

While these multinational companies are coming down to the Philippines to set up their offices, Filipinos are given choices either to work abroad and leave their families behind, or stay with their families and enjoy similar take-home pays.

Cebu, Sa-a said will leverage on this development, and growth for the sector in 2016 will largely come from KPO.

This projection will also be backed up with local stakeholders action that will be started early 2016--convincing multinational companies operating here to set up their shared-service facilities in Cebu, said Sa-a.

If successful, Sa-a said Cebu's IT-BPO sector could grow more than expected in 2016, as the internal expansion of existing companies will boost fresh investments that are expected to settle in Cebu in the next few months.

Based on the Philippine government's projection, the outsourcing sector is seen to employ at least 1.3 million Filipinos by the end of 2016. About 40 percent of which will be distributed to different provinces outside of Metro Manila.

Currently, Cebu contributes only 10 percent of the outsourcing employment and revenue to the entire IT-BPO sector. Sa-a said as cyber buildings, and IT Parks are being built within the metropolis, this figure can easily expand in very short term.

Cebu's capability is now double-edged. Fluent English speakers can easily land jobs in the voice outsourcing companies even without college diplomas. While thousands of degree holders will be able to get high paying jobs as Cebu turns its focus luring KPO investments.   (FREEMAN)



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