BPO expansion in provinces promotes inclusive growth

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Expansion of business process association (BPO) operations in the provinces are in line with the country's goal of inclusive growth, according to an industry association.

In a media briefing on Friday, September 20, Gillian Joyce G. Virata, senior executive director of Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), shared that while 70% of IT-BPOs are currently situated in Metro Manila, 75% of [college] graduates are outside of the area.

About 28% or 200,000 of the over 770,000 total BPO employees are in the provinces. The target is to increase total employment to 1.3 million in BPOs nationwide by 2016, with about 520,000 in the provinces, according to Jose Mari P. Mercado, president and CEO of IBPAP. (Editors' note: We earlier reported that the industry employ only 200,000 nationwide. We are sorry.) 

Virata said that the logical places to look for business expansion include major cities like Cebu and Davao, and Regions 1, 3 and Calabarzon areas.

Mercado shared their criteria in scounting for new IT-BPO locations, such as “power, telecom facilities, streetlights and good hotels where visitors could stay at night."

Mercado also stressed that proximity to the airport is important especially when business officers would like to “visit the sites.” 

IT-BPO provincial operations

Operating in the province does not necessarily mean lower rates for employees.

“In operating in the provinces, you will be able to negotiate lower rates,” explained Mercado.

The Philippines has a mobile workforce, which means workers can easily move to an area where a higher salary in the same industry is offered.

Otherwise, things are comparable in the cities and in the provinces especially since these types of work can be done in a “work from home” set-up.

READ: Workers find ways: The BPO worker

Mercado beamed that the IT-BPO industry “has a strong trickle-down effect to commerce.”

“Imagine its effect to the local transportation and businesses,” he added.

READ: Who is the BPO consumer?
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The group shared its hope that future IT-BPO provincial operations would help in solving the country’s employment problems and help in the local economies of their host provinces. - Rappler.com