By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, Reporter
THE PHILIPPINES’ information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector is expected to boost its revenues by as much as 10% this year, and create over 1.1 million jobs in the next six years, as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
“The IT-BPM industry has become an indispensable pillar of the Philippine economy… and a very potent source of foreign exchange and exports,” IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Madrid said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“We can create more impact in the lives of Filipinos and become an engine of transformation that promises an even brighter future for our country.”
IBPAP is projecting an 8-10% increase in revenues and a 7-8% rise in the number of full-time employees by the end of 2022.
In 2021, the IT-BPM industry posted $29.5 billion in revenues, up by 10.5% from $26.7 billion in the previous year. The industry’s headcount stood at 1.44 million in 2021.
“The Philippine IT-BPM industry is poised to fulfill the vision of the roadmap for 2028 and grow over one million new jobs in the coming six years,” Mr. Madrid said.
The target to create 1.1 million direct jobs in the IT-BPM sector by 2028 is part of the Philippine IT-BPM Industry Roadmap 2028. It will be unveiled during the IBPAP’s 14th International Innovation Summit on Sept. 27-29.
To achieve these targets, Mr. Madrid noted the importance of favorable government policies on incentives and remote work, more reliable digital infrastructure, talent development and improved ease of doing business.
“There has never been a more important time to address the mismatch of talent supply and demand. We are in a global war for talent,” he said. “Our biggest challenge: upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce, and rebranding the Philippines to retain dominance as a provider of high-value digital services.”
Mr. Madrid said they need partners in the telecommunication industry to build infrastructure to support the IT-BPM industry outside Metro Manila, where many companies are now keen on expanding.
“As a whole the Philippines is more than holding its own and in retaining its position. What’s more important in the coming six years is how much more market share we can capture. It’s there and it’s ours for the taking,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Madrid expressed support for a hybrid work setup for the IT-BPM sector, saying the majority of workers favor this arrangement.
“Our industry has been the focal point of what I believe to be a global desire for more flexible work, location-independent setups. The future of work is already happening… It’s loud and clear that an overwhelming majority in the Philippines, but even across other parts of the world have shown that the future is going to be about finding that optimal balance,” he said.
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) board has approved in principle the extension of the 30% work-from-home arrangement for registered IT-BPM firms to March 2023.
“The IT-BPM sector is a prime source of remittances as well as job generation, on top of the OFW component. As such it is a prime driver of economic growth, and as such of the recovery we are in,” Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces said in an e-mail.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message the Philippines is one of the biggest outsourcing destinations of in the world. The IT-BPM sector has continued to fuel economic growth amid the pandemic, he added.
Mr. Ricafort said major growth areas for BPOs are the new township projects outside Metro Manila, especially in areas with universities or colleges that can provide a steady supply of workers.
“The cost of operations such as rent and property prices are much lower in these areas outside Metro Manila that helps realize more cost savings for locators, create more jobs in the localities and accelerate economic growth and development in the regions,” he added.