The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Outsourcing Summit 2020 (OS2020), held on 8 October, has been a huge success. Nearly 2,000 attendees registered for the event, spanning a wide range of sectors and company sizes.

OS2020 aimed to educate North American businesses about the Philippine outsourcing industry and connect them to industry experts, leaders and outsourcing suppliers (BPOs). The event was recorded live and was broadcast to the North American market (and time zone).

The whole-day event helped business owners experience first-hand the sophistication and vast executive experience of the Philippine outsourcing sector.  North American businesses learned that by outsourcing to the Philippines they could access a large pool of highly educated and qualified talent while saving significant costs (up to 70%) compared to their home markets.

According to Outsource Accelerator’s Founder and CEO Derek Gallimore, “I have a lot of confidence in the growth of outsourcing. With technology allowing offshore staffing, remote work and tools have made this a perfect storm.”

You can now watch a replay of OS2020’s six sessions here, or read the event summary here.

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The University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team this week reported that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have been decreasing. The team said the country’s reproduction number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the National Capital Region (NCR)’s rate of transmission and positivity rate, have maintained a downward trend. Due to this, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon Lopez said that the country must continue to reopen business activities to bring back jobs and the vibrant Philippine economy. Commenting on the latest survey of the World Bank (WB), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Finance (DOF) where the majority of the 74,031 surveyed firms reported to temporarily suspending their operations, Lopez said the gradual and safe reopening of businesses will revive the economy.

Further, the DTI wants to implement the country’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) road map next year, saying it would cover the agribusiness, manufacturing and services sectors.  According to Lopez, their goal is to make the Philippines an AI center of excellence in the region. He said they have been working with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to develop the AI road map.

The good news is that career opportunities in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector are still available and even growing. According to Sitel PHANZ chief people officer Haidee Cabanag Enriquez, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the BPO industry “continues to provide opportunities and hope to Filipino workers,” as there are vast job opportunities available to many. For starters, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently announced that around 30,000 job opportunities in the BPO industry are available to migrant workers who were repatriated due to the pandemic. Investments promotions agency Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has also launched an online job fair which offers over 23,000 employment opportunities in (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province) CALABARZON-based ecozones. In a statement, the PEZA said the virtual job fair launched in the Cavite Economic Zone is part of the agency’s Development for Outreach for Labor, Livelihood and Advancement of Resources or DOLLAR program, which aims to promote investments and employment in the ecozones.

In addition, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) stated that the BPO sector is set to hire 17,000 workers in the next three to four months due to the surge in demand, especially in the health sector. According to IBPAP president Rey Untal, the pockets of growth were good indications that the industry was able to grow in certain areas compared with other industries having difficulties in reopening. However, he noted that the industry was not “out of the woods yet” and could not relax in terms of policies and processes to manage the delivery of work to clients.

In the government’s effort to safely reopen businesses in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) released the first version of its workplace handbook on COVID-19 management and prevention. The 99-page manual contains ‘essential information’ on how to manage and prevent the transmission of the coronavirus disease in the workplace. It also contains COVID-19 good practices for a safe work environment for different industries like manufacturing, banking and finance, construction, and BPOs.

Overseas, the United States has acknowledged the improving investment climate in the Philippines. In the US Department of State’s (DoS) 2020 Investment Climate Statements on the Philippines, the report said the business environment is “notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by [PEZA]… known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

The Philippines outsourcing sector can proudly say that their staff is their priority, as the country’s IT-BPO sector continues to heavily invest in manpower by upskilling and reskilling employees to accelerate digital transformation. The same cannot be said for some US-based contact center companies though. This week, a report by ProPublica exposed US-based BPO company Arise Virtual Solutions, which hires US-home-based customer support agents for clients like Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, and eBay, for unethical staff treatment. Arise has been criticized from unscrupulous treatment of its contract-based workers, with the report revealing that job applicants are required to pay significant fees for home office equipment, training courses and background checks, and are required to perform unpaid training and customer service work before getting a ‘job’. The company is further reported to underpay employees (one employee had a $96.12 single paycheck) yet enforce strict attendance and performance standards, yet employ them on casual gig-economy contract terms only.

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In other news, property consultant Colliers International recently reported that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have vacated 123,000 square meters (sq.m.) of office space since the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, which further threatens property owners and landlords but could benefit the BPO sector with lower office rents and reduced competition.

“Should POGOs continue to downsize, 294,000 sq.m. of their remaining office footprint are in PEZA-registered spaces, which could benefit BPOs with immediate office requirements, whether permanent or temporary,” said Dom Fredrick Andaya, Colliers director for tenant representation.

 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

13 October 2020

12 October 2020

9 October 2020

8 October 2020

7 October 2020

  • Genpact buys Something Digital to bolster experience business – read article…
  • Investors seek five-year tax relief under CREATE bill – read article…
  • PH should continue reopening businesses – DTI chief – read article…
  • DOH releases first workplace handbook on COVID-19 management, prevention – read article…

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