The business process outsourcing sector will hire at least 17,000 workers in the next three to four months, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines said Thursday.
IBPAP president Rey Untal noted surges in demand, especially from the health sector, that prompted BPO companies to expand their workforce.
“About a month ago, two huge BPO players announced they will be hiring more people. One is hiring 10,000 people in the next three months and the other one is hiring 7,000 in four months. This is huge even for these companies in this time of crisis,” Untal said in a virtual briefing.
Healthcare saw growth spurts of phenomenal magnitude over the last six to eight months, possibly because of the health crisis, he said.
“We have seen surges of demand. The one area for example that has really added a lot of headcount is in the healthcare. This is not a surprise because of the way the global pandemic has manifested. A lot more push is being given to incumbents who are here or captives that increased capacities,” he said.
Untal said 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.
He said, however, 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.
The group said employees who worked from home before the pandemic represented just 6 percent to 7 percent of the total work pool. After seven to eight months, almost 70 percent of the entire industry’s labor pool worked from home.
Untal said industry performance would have been optimized if not for issues of connectivity and slow internet.
“Nevertheless, I give credit to friends in the industry and support industries like telco and power, and government to support to allow us to pivot in a very successful manner,” Untal said.
IBPAP plans to commission a survey of its members to determine the recalibrated targets for 2020 and beyond following the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The group said a big part of the contributions by the industry to Philippine investments report cited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority are mostly enablers or business components that stabilize the organization during the pandemic.
These may involve equipment to augment operations, devices for digitalization and shuttle services for employees.
“These are investments we don’t even report to PEZA. Beyond the pandemic, many of the companies have thought of permanent work-from-home strategies, and many are going to expand that way,” said Celeste Ilagan, IBPAP board of trustee.