Philippines: High potential for healthcare BPO

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Phil nurse
The Philippines graduated an estimated 80,000 nurses in 2012

The Philippines has placed a spotlight on its healthcare-oriented business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in an effort to migrate away from non-lucrative voice work, which dominates the service sector.

By one barometer, the existing potential is vast: The Philippines graduated an estimated 80,000 nurses in 2012, providing a large pool of labour that prospective BPO investors highly value, especially when it comes to soft skills.

Senior Executive Director Gigi Virata of the Information Technology BPO Association (IBPAP) of the Philippines told Inside Investor that she would highlight the healthcare segment as a “comparative advantage” because the Philippines “has a distinct advantage due to the customer-service oriented qualities of the industry, which Filipinos excel in.”

The emphasis placed on medical education in the Philippines could be used a springboard to grab the attention of multinationals, but there are still some very evident obstacles in a nation that is just trying to shake off its ignominious title of “the sick man of Southeast Asia” and where graduates would rather work abroad.

According to IBPAP statistics, 65 per cent of the country’s BPO industry is still dedicated to voice work and only slowly evolving towards more complex services – known as knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) – because of failures to highlight the country’s history with services.

“One reason why the demand for non-voice hasn’t been so large is because the Philippines has built a reputation for voice work. Yet while Convergys has become known for building the world’s largest call center in Makati, Accenture also plays just as large a role, dedicating half its workforce in the Philippines to IT and back office jobs,” Virata observed.

More recently, IBM has begun mulling setting up a facility in Naga City in the Bicol region to deliver its “next generation” by employing Filipinos in the fields of finance and accounting, customer relationship management, supply chain management and application services.

“This is consistent with our vision to make IBM an essential innovation and technology partner that will enable the country’s expansion and transformation through IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda,” Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager, said.

Currently, there are about 200,000 employees in the BPO industry working in healthcare and financial service jobs, while Deutsche Bank has about 2,000 staff working in financial services. Other major players include Thomson Reuters, a global media organisation that employs research and financial service workers in the Philippines.

However, snapping up a more active healthcare industry will require filling in an unbalanced employment gaps.

While nurses are coming out of universities en masse, during 2012, some 200,000 registered Philippine nurses could not find work.

To address this, the BPO industry depends heavily on quickly hiring new employees to fill the expansion requirements of investors, a reality that would be able to be paired nicely with the Philippines’ situation.

“The largest issue companies entering the BPO industry face is the hiring rate, as they are looking to expand quickly. We have large teams here helping them to understand and improve employee growth,” Virata noted.

Moving away from previous projections that claimed the BPO industry could overtake India in terms of gross revenue by 2015, IBPAP has stated that this target may actually be another 10 years away from being achieved.

With the BPO industry recording an average growth rate of 20 per cent in terms of jobs, just how many of those work seats are being filled by higher knowledge positions will prove just how valuable the industry becomes. The nations jobless will be thankful, and maybe even decide to stick around.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Philippines graduated an estimated 80,000 nurses in 2012

The Philippines has placed a spotlight on its healthcare-oriented business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in an effort to migrate away from non-lucrative voice work, which dominates the service sector.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Phil nurse
The Philippines graduated an estimated 80,000 nurses in 2012

The Philippines has placed a spotlight on its healthcare-oriented business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in an effort to migrate away from non-lucrative voice work, which dominates the service sector.

By one barometer, the existing potential is vast: The Philippines graduated an estimated 80,000 nurses in 2012, providing a large pool of labour that prospective BPO investors highly value, especially when it comes to soft skills.

Senior Executive Director Gigi Virata of the Information Technology BPO Association (IBPAP) of the Philippines told Inside Investor that she would highlight the healthcare segment as a “comparative advantage” because the Philippines “has a distinct advantage due to the customer-service oriented qualities of the industry, which Filipinos excel in.”

The emphasis placed on medical education in the Philippines could be used a springboard to grab the attention of multinationals, but there are still some very evident obstacles in a nation that is just trying to shake off its ignominious title of “the sick man of Southeast Asia” and where graduates would rather work abroad.

According to IBPAP statistics, 65 per cent of the country’s BPO industry is still dedicated to voice work and only slowly evolving towards more complex services – known as knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) – because of failures to highlight the country’s history with services.

“One reason why the demand for non-voice hasn’t been so large is because the Philippines has built a reputation for voice work. Yet while Convergys has become known for building the world’s largest call center in Makati, Accenture also plays just as large a role, dedicating half its workforce in the Philippines to IT and back office jobs,” Virata observed.

More recently, IBM has begun mulling setting up a facility in Naga City in the Bicol region to deliver its “next generation” by employing Filipinos in the fields of finance and accounting, customer relationship management, supply chain management and application services.

“This is consistent with our vision to make IBM an essential innovation and technology partner that will enable the country’s expansion and transformation through IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda,” Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager, said.

Currently, there are about 200,000 employees in the BPO industry working in healthcare and financial service jobs, while Deutsche Bank has about 2,000 staff working in financial services. Other major players include Thomson Reuters, a global media organisation that employs research and financial service workers in the Philippines.

However, snapping up a more active healthcare industry will require filling in an unbalanced employment gaps.

While nurses are coming out of universities en masse, during 2012, some 200,000 registered Philippine nurses could not find work.

To address this, the BPO industry depends heavily on quickly hiring new employees to fill the expansion requirements of investors, a reality that would be able to be paired nicely with the Philippines’ situation.

“The largest issue companies entering the BPO industry face is the hiring rate, as they are looking to expand quickly. We have large teams here helping them to understand and improve employee growth,” Virata noted.

Moving away from previous projections that claimed the BPO industry could overtake India in terms of gross revenue by 2015, IBPAP has stated that this target may actually be another 10 years away from being achieved.

With the BPO industry recording an average growth rate of 20 per cent in terms of jobs, just how many of those work seats are being filled by higher knowledge positions will prove just how valuable the industry becomes. The nations jobless will be thankful, and maybe even decide to stick around.

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