Back in 2005, when the Philippines was then a potential big player in the outsourcing landscape, the business processing and outsourcing (BPO) industry was still manned by more or less 100,000 Filipino professionals. The huge portion of the industry was composed of call centers, with the majority of its operations being done in the evening to accommodate their customers in the United States.
Fast forward to present, the BPO industry in the country has significantly grown by leaps and bounds. A research administered by THOLONS, a survey firm operating in the United States that focuses on global outsourcing and investments, Manila has claimed the #3 spot among 100 cities that provide labor for outsourced work in the world this year. This very positive growth is backed by the BPO industry’s 46 per cent boom since 2006, a growing workforce of highly competent and very qualified professionals, and a constantly increasing revenue (the BPO and IT industry raked in $13 billion in 2013,an increase of $2 billion from the $11 billion figure garnered in 2011).
Aside from call center operations, the Philippine BPO and IT industry has advanced further to cater to other industries and provide other professional services across multiple dimensions such as web development, multimedia applications, database management, and animation to name a few. Whereas back then, most BPO firms in the Philippines only attract voice-related work from offshore clients (customer service, product support, and technical assistance), today the Philippine BPO sector now boasts of performing advanced and complex services.
Countries That Outsource to the Philippines
It cannot be argued that most of the outsourced, farmed out works sent to the Philippines stream from the United States. Mega corporations like IBM, Dell, eBay, JP Morgan and Chase, and Microsoft have majority of their non-core operations farmed out to the Philippine islands. But it is not just the United States who is enjoying the outsourcing services the Philippines offers.
Several major economies are also contributing their share of work to the Philippines’ business processing and outsourcing industry.
- Australia is fast becoming a top provider of out outsourced work to the Philippines. While obvious reasons such as low labor costs and highly competent and qualified workforce inspire many of Australia’s business firms to send significant workload to the Philippine shores, many say that the time difference is among the things that make Philippines a very ideal and attractive outsourcing destination.
Australia is just a couple of hours ahead of the Philippines, which means most of the offshore personnel are working during day time. This encourages interactions between employers and employees and significantly allows Filipinos to work during the day instead of night. It has been proven that working at night time has serious health complications and it often leads to poor performance and low productivity.
Outsourced jobs: customer and technical support (voice), SEO and internet marketing, finance and accounting.
- United Kingdom. Despite the very sluggish recovery of Europe’s economy, the United Kingdom is still bent on regaining its economic standing and cited outsourcing as one of its strategies. According to UK Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad, a significant number of UK-based businesses across multiple industries are considering Philippines as part of their business growth plans. Business from the retail, investment, and manufacturing sectors are now eyeing Filipino professionals to help them realize their business goals.
Outsourced jobs: customer and technical support (voice), SEO and internet marketing, website management, IT and computer systems, multimedia (animation and video editing).
- Germany. The Germans are very much up there when it comes to information technology, innovations in communications, healthcare, construction, and transportation to name a few. So why would they still think outsourcing is better for them? Because of the same reasons mot countries have for sending work to the Philippine islands – very affordable labor costs, a workforce that has neutral English accents, and very skilled professionals.
Germany-based outsourcing firm Arvato has recently announced to the expansion of its operations in the Philippines and already set up an office in Quezon City, one of the Philippine major business centers. Arvato believes that by working with Filipinos, the company’s strength is greatly augmented and this allows them to achieve, if not get nearer to, their corporate goals. It is expected that several Germany-based companies will follow suit and establish their own bases in the Philippine islands in the years to come.
Outsourced work: customer and technical support (voice), SEO and internet marketing, social media, telesales, finance, and IT.
- Canada. Canada has been a consistent supplier of outsourced work to the Philippines. In fact, lare corporations in Canada have already been streaming work to the Philippine BPO industry in the past decade. For instance, Filipino call center specialists have been manning the phone lines for Telus International, Canada’s second largest telecommunications company. Insurance and healthcare providers such a ManuLife and Sun Life have also provided outsourced jobs to the Philippines in the past years.
Aside from call center expertise, Canada has been offshoring administration jobs to the Philippines for quite a while now. Bombardier Transportation has opened its own hub in Cebu City and Pasig City. Its local operations in the Philippines include payroll management, finance and accounting, hedging, and cash management.
Outsourced work: customer and technical support (voice), finance, accounting, database management, inventory management, and information processing.
Breaking down the Outsourced work
Call centers still own the huge share of the BPO and IT sector in the Philippines. Many companies from the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom still prefer to hire Filipinos for voice-based work. That being said, the Philippines is slowly emerging as a top destination for more complex and advanced assignments. Here is the breakdown.
- Software development
- Web design and development
- Search engine optimization / Internet marketing
- Legal and medical transcription
- Finance consultancy, logistics, and accounting
The Philippines is now picking up the pace in terms of software development, although such profession is not new in the country. Many firms that focus and provide software development services in the Philippines have been in the industry for 10 years or more. However, it is the steady stream of outsourced work from multiple nations in the past years as well as the foreign companies’ preference for Filipino software developers have attracted significant attention from the rest of the world.
This is further evidenced by the exponential growth of the software outsourcing business in the country. In 2011, revenues from the software development market in the Philippines almost reached the $1 billion mark. The growth of the software development in the Philippines has prompted even the national government to team up with the academe and the private areas to further boost the industry’s potential in the future.
Many Filipinos have found success in the animation field, working for big animation outlets such as Disney, Marvel, Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera. Several of the major animation productions have set up offices in the country to tap into the Philippines’ pool of animation talents. Such fact is a positive indication of where the animation industry is going in the near future. Professional Filipino animators grow by the numbers and more companies are just realizing how potent animation can be to help their business reach higher heights.
Cartoon Network, a popular TV company owned by Cable, is known to outsource animation work to the Philippines, India, and other Asian countries.
Web Design and Development
The growth of the web design and development sector in the Philippines is spurred of the Internet and its growing importance and significance in people’s lives. As the BPO and IT industry in the country progressed over time, web design and web development soon became one of its staple products. Today, the Philippines ranks as one of the top providers of web design and development services in the Asian region.
Search engine optimization and Internet marketing
With the boom of online commerce, many businesses included the Internet as one of their core marketing strategies. This gave birth of search engine optimization (SEO) and Internet marketing, which included tons of technical and aesthetic works. SEO and internet marketing required multiple skill sets which many Filipino professionals can easily provide, from website layout, coding, and programming to business strategies and marketing tactics.
It is projected that the SEO and internet marketing will remain a top priorities for every type of business entity in this day and age, which is why SEO and internet marketing professionals in the Philippines are slated to experience positive growth in the near and immediate future.
Other skills that may fall under SEO and internet marketing are: article writing, content writing, website management, link building, and blogging to name a few.
Legal and Medical Transcription
While this type of work hardly technical, a portion of the total outsourced work received by the BPO and IT industry in the Philippines require transcription services for legal and medical companies. Most of the work done in this field consists of writing summary reports, legal briefs, hospital and clinic notes, and therapy / rehabilitation reports.
That being said, the legal and medical transcription sector in the Philippines is a booming business and the numbers prove it. Back in 2003, there were only 9 registered firms that provide transcription services in the Philippines. By 2008, that number grew to 43.
Finance consultancy, logistics, and accounting
The Philippine labor force is composed to professional bookkeepers, certified public accountants, and finance professionals. With the advent of the Internet, online commerce, and outsourcing, many of them have also found better opportunities servicing offshore clients with their number crunching skills and expertise.
Many finance professionals are crossing over from the finance to the outsource industry, providing top notch skills in the following areas: accounting, bookkeeping, payroll processing, finance management, inventory control and purchasing, asset monitoring and management, expense and revenue reporting, financial analysis and audit reporting, account maintenance, accounts receivable collection, and credit card administration, factoring and stock brokering.