There are a number of reasons why you should pursue a call center career. To name a few, you have an above average pay, topnotch BPO industry benefits, and high-quality training. Additionally, call centers are known to offer opportunities for all—no exemption, no discrimination. Everyone is welcome to apply, regardless of age, educational background, and work experience.
However, there are facts that are not fully exposed. Not many people know that there are still a lot to being a call center agent than making and answering calls. Most applicants try their luck thinking that this industry will help boost their financial status, but little do they know that being a call center agent in the Philippines can be considered a great honor, especially once they learn how the call center industry benefits the Philippines.
Call Center Agents: A Tremendous Boon to The Philippine Workforce
Since the first BPO companies opened their doors in the 1990s, the industry has become a haven for job seekers of all kinds: young and old, experienced professionals and workforce newbies—name it and you can find them in this sector.
In 2010, the Philippines was declared as the world’s BPO capital, with 525,000 call center employees. A year later, the BPO industry officially became one of the biggest and fastest-growing job providers in the private sector. In the years that followed, its growth continued, as well as the number of people that it employs.
In 2013, about 900,000 full-time BPO employees have been reported and in 2014, the industry’s employment rate hit the one-million mark as more foreign firms invested in the Philippines. This number increased by a hundred thousand in 2015. This 2016, the Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) looks to directly employ 1.3 million Filipinos and 3.2 million more under indirect employment.
It’s easy to see why many Filipinos are happy to be in this industry. According to Jobstreet.com’s 2014 Annual Salary Report, BPO is one of the country’s top paying industries, providing the highest wages for different employee grades. For instance, a junior BPO executive receives an average compensation of $482 a month, which is 10% higher than the $427 paid in the finance and banking sector.
The BPO industry is the largest job creator in the country, helping combat unemployment. According to a study by the Asian Development Bank, unemployment rates have reached double digits in the mid-1980s to 1990s, prompting the government to look for and develop systems that could help Filipinos get jobs. The entrance of the IT-BPO players meant more opportunities, higher employment rate, and bigger remittances, which we will discuss next.
BPO Remittances Are Bound to Exceed the OFW Sector
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In the past 10 years, the BPO industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country’s $272 billion economy. In 2013 alone, it has generated $15.5 billion in revenue, a big leap from the $3.2 billion generated in 2006. Because of these numbers, it has overshadowed tourism as one of the biggest sources of foreign revenue, just trailing a little behind OFW remittances.
However, in 2015, it was predicted that the BPO sector may eventually beat the OFW sector in terms of dollar remittances, given the continuing demand for Philippine call center and BPO services. This can happen over the next two years, as predicted by HSBC. If we look at the trend of BPO remittances in the past years, it cannot be denied that there is steady growth. In 2014, the sector registered a total revenue of $18.9 billion, from 2013’s $15.5 billion. In 2015, revenues again increased, as almost $22 billion were registered, exceeding the $21 billion target. As of February 2016, the IBPAP chairman stated that they were already close to reaching its 2016 revenue target of $25 billion. OFW remittances are expected to reach the same amount but are seen to grow moderately due to erratic foreign exchange movements while the BPO sector realizes steady growth.
Indeed, strong revenues from the BPO industry might effectively make up for the weakness in remittances, giving the economy sufficient support and boost. With the Philippines’ infrastructure generally lagging behind other Asian countries, the BPO industry gives the country a competitive edge.
The Young Are Employed, Expats Go Home
Photo courtesy of IBEX Global
The outsourcing boom has been fueling gross domestic product growth, which has averaged 6.3 percent from 2010 to 2012 and hit 7.2 percent in 2013. However, during that time, poverty still remained widespread. According to the World Bank, 18.4 percent of the population was still living on less than $1.25 a day. Furthermore, the economy was still struggling to accommodate the young demographic. In 2014, half of the population was reported to be 23.5 years old or younger.
To remedy the situation, President Benigno S. Aquino III worked with BPO industry authorities and company executives. He had a conversation with Convergys Philippines Chairman Marife Zamora asking her how they can increase call center employment. She suggested that the government offer tax incentives to the BPO industry and state-funded tuition vouchers for students who are interested in pursuing jobs in the BPO industry. The president listened, and now the average age of Filipino workers in the BPO industry is 25.
Moreover, the continuous economic growth stemming from the BPO and outsourcing industry has encouraged Filipino migrants to come home and establish their own outsourcing companies, not only to build personal wealth but extend opportunities to their fellow Filipinos. A case in point is Butch Valenzuela, founder and current president and CEO of Visaya Healthcare Information Management Corporation (then Visaya Knowledge Process Outsourcing Corporation). He left the Philippines during the Martial Law and returned in 2006 to start the company. To him, there is no better way to fulfill his goal of helping his country than employing its people.
Accent Matters: Philippines Has Taken Over India
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The Philippines is now the voice call center capital of the world, thanks to the neutral accents of Filipino call center agents. Aside from their innate ability to speak the language, IBEX call center agents, for instance, are provided with high-quality training, making them fit and ready to face the world through phone calls. Most voice and call center businesses in India have been transferring to the Philippines because of the country’s large pool of well-educated, talented, and English-speaking workforce. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (Assocham), India has already lost 70 percent of its BPO businesses to the Philippines. This shift can only lead to increased confidence in the Filipino workforce, which will in turn lead to more investors and more jobs.
The Domino Effect: Rise of Other Businesses Built Around Call Centers
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As the BPO industry grows, everything else does, too. The rapid development of the industry also generates a huge demand for fast moving consumer goods, fast food, and catering services. Because a typical call center office operates in varying shifts, the need for 24/7 convenience stores, coffee shops, and fast food chains that offer affordable and ready-to-consume goods have also boomed. Furthermore, aside from food-related stores and services, non-food shops are also patronized by the hundreds of thousands of call center agents. This trend has eventually re-shaped the retail and consumption landscape in the country, particularly in BPO hubs and centers.
If you are considering to pursue a career in the call center industry, you now have more reason to. When you start looking for call center hiring opportunities, you can now see beyond the attractive compensation and benefits, and realize how call center agents help the Philippine economy.