Derek Gallimore talks with Sagufta Janif, the executive director of Outsource Fiji.
Outsource Fiji, otherwise known as the Fiji BPO Council (BPOC), is Fiji’s industry body that provides guidance to and ensures continuous development of the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
The organization markets Fiji as an outsourcing destination for investors; it also ensures the protection of its clients and the country’s viability, reliability, and conduciveness for outsourcing.
The Outsource Accelerator Podcast features Sagufta’s outlook about outsourcing in Fiji — how the pandemic has affected it, how it has affected the country, and what the future holds for the industry.
In this episode, Derek and Sagufta discuss the future of Fiji’s BPO industry, touch on its present state, and look back at how it all started.
Fiji’s outsourcing landscape in the past
Home to just about a million people, Fiji has once been more renowned for its tourist attractions than the outsourcing opportunities it presents.
While outsourcing was not unheard of in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry barely had 3,000 people under its employment. That’s 0.3% of the country’s population.
Pre-pandemic, the small Pacific island nation’s primarily English-speaking populace supported a small number of contact center operations and an even smaller number of back-office support.
Then COVID came and disrupted the relatively drowsy Fijian outsourcing landscape.
It presented a silver lining and a lifeline to the country’s economy, which was crippled by the blow to its tourism industry.
Fiji’s present outsourcing landscape
Today, Fiji is home to over 8,000 BPO workers employed by several outsourcing companies.
Sagufta attributed the industry’s over 150% growth rate to the Fijian government’s decision to allow outsourcing firms to continue operations even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The classification of the BPO sector as an essential service provider enticed many businesses to consider Fiji as an outsourcing destination.
Investors also saw Fiji as a desirable risk-diversification location for their operations.
Since then, the industry had become a much-needed pillar that significantly helped Fiji’s economy when the pandemic handicapped its tourism sector.
Fiji’s present outsourcing landscape was previously dominated by contact center and IT support roles.
But, Sagufta points out, “now we are seeing an increase in… finance roles, software development, [and] the knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) sector is also growing.”
Fiji’s outsourcing industry has gone a long way from its humble beginnings in 2002 when ANZ Bank (followed by other international investors) first set up back-office operations in its capital city, Suva.
Now, Fiji’s outsourcing industry caters to several multinational companies, with over 30 BPO and KPO service providers operating in the country.
Fiji’s outsourcing landscape: The future
Outsource Fiji has set a goalpost in the immediately foreseeable future: 2025.
By the end of the aforementioned year, Fiji targets “to have at least 25,000 people employed in the sector.”
Sagufta admits that the goal is a pretty tall one. After all, the country aims for an over 200% growth rate increase within the next three years.
However, she also points out that the past two years’ growth trend – plus the interests and inquiries the country receives – indicate that their goal is grounded in reality.
Fiji’s outsourcing industry also enjoys the full weight and force of its government’s support.
As the country’s domestic market can’t provide enough work opportunities for Fiji’s graduates, these fresh talents look to the outsourcing sector to provide.
Fiji has an abundance of “young, vibrant individuals who are out there looking for jobs that are sustainable.” And this is exactly what the outsourcing industry provides.
Outsource Fiji works closely with the country’s educational institutions to ensure that the graduates their universities produce have the right skills that can help them land a job in the BPO sector.
Sagufta shared that Fiji is now trying to strengthen ties with other markets, like the US, the UK, and other European countries.
With the country’s access to better technology, strong support from the national government, and the realization that the country can’t afford to rely on just one single industry for economic stability, the outsourcing industry’s future in Fiji has never been brighter.
You may also connect with the organization through their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.