The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry remains to be what is dubbed as the “sunshine industry” in the Philippines. It is the strongest contributor to the robust economy of the country, with revenues expected to hit as much as $48 billion by 2020. BPO also remains to be one of the highest sectors of employment for Filipinos, reaching a record high of 1.15 million workers in 2015. The figure is expected to continue increasing, beyond the 1.3 million mark posted in 2016.
All these rosy statistics underscore the Philippines as the most ideal offshore BPO site in the world. Industry experts and outsourcing consultants are unanimous in hailing the Philippines as having dethroned India, which was previously considered the top outsourcing destination. While India has had to contend with rising operational costs and flailing retention, the Philippines sustains stellar growth with the continuous entry of new BPO firms and the expansion of existing ones.
Just why is the Philippines at an advantage in the global BPO arena?
1. Lower costs and higher profitability
The Philippines has managed to maintain a highly attractive business environment for BPO companies with one of the lowest costs of operation in the South Asian region and especially compared to Western countries. Overhead expenses such as office space rental, utilities such as electricity, and even wages are relatively affordable and thus enable BPO companies to increase profitability through higher margins.
2. English language fluency
Clients from English-native countries prefer outsourcing to the Philippines because Filipinos have been proven to be extremely fluent in the language, in both written and spoken form. Filipinos are also more accent-neutral compared to other nationalities, and for this they are able to converse more clearly and resolve contact center complaints more effectively and efficiently.
3. Compatible culture
A deeper reason for the superior English fluency of Filipinos is their knowledge of Western culture, having been colonized by the United States for a substantial period of history and having been built with a lot of similar socio-political structures. Filipinos continue to be abreast of Western culture and thus are able to understand nuances in conversation and communication with foreigners. This gives Filipinos a distinct advantage in providing excellent BPO services in many fields.
4. Highly skilled and educated talent base
Again, owing to US colonization, the Philippine educational system is largely based on Western standards and ideals, and thus produces graduates with high literacy and competence. Filipino culture also places a high emphasis on education as a basic necessity, and thus a large pool of potential workers are readily available for BPO firms and locations in the country.
5. Conducive environment and infrastructure
In a short period since the establishment of the BPO industry in the Philippines at the turn of the 21st century, the government has fortunately been able to support growth by providing the right infrastructure for telecommunications, transportation, education, utilities, and other aspects for BPO business. Real estate developers quickly latched on to the trend toward mixed-use developments that allow BPO firms to thrive not just in established city centers but in emerging locations of growth throughout the country.
BPO Growth and Expansion in the Philippines
With all these strengths and advantages that the Philippines offers, the BPO industry is seen to continue its positive growth trajectory in the country for the near future. The government is pursuing more initiatives that will ensure that the country maintains its solid reputation for being the most preferred site for outsourced operations, whether it be for traditional contact center requirements or even emerging sectors in non-voice such as medical and legal transcription, computer animation, and many others.