Why call centre outsourcing to the Philippines is here to stay

Outsourcing is a business strategy that has been commonplace for hundreds of years. While often thought of as a more modern phenomenon, spurred by the birth of the Internet and the so-called 'dot-com' company, outsourcing has actually been a staple of the industrial economy as well. As long as factories and assembly lines have existed, companies in the west have found a way to partner with labourers in the east to carry out these repetitive jobs at a lower price. But in the post-industrial world where knowledge is currency and labour-intensive but low-skilled work can easily be carried out by artificial intelligence, what's still driving the booming global outsourcing market?

Contributing over 30 billion USD to the world economy annually, the Philippines' business process outsourcing (BPO) market is an excellent case study in the success of modern outsourcing. Beginning in 1992 with the opening of the Global Resource Centre in Manila, the BPO market in this country has skyrocketed in profits and job creation over the last three decades. In 2019 alone, the sector generated more than 30 billion dollars in the global economy and is only projected to grow. There are a few unique aspects of BPO in the Philippines that make it the ideal outsourcing destination.

For one thing, the country has a highly regarded higher education system, and many call centres in the Philippines are staffed by young, college-educated professionals who are excited to make a career in the industry. The competitive salary offered by these companies - more than triple the minimum wage on average - and the opportunity for continued education and upward mobility make them a desirable position for the best and the brightest. Because of this, western companies are able to commission high-quality labour for only a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house staff. In fact, the average BPO worker in the Philippines costs western companies only $40 a day - compared to $120 in the US.

But there's more to the story. While some countries' BPO markets only offer basic services in customer support, IT help, and data entry, outsourcing companies in the Philippines provide a wide variety of client-facing, back-end, creative, and technical work done by skilled employees. One company offers everything from legal services and medical scribing to storyboarding and geology work. With such a wide breadth of knowledge and skill, BPO employees in the Philippines can be a powerful addition to a team, offering much more than call centre support or repetitive data mining.

But even with so much growth in new and exciting subfields, the country still invests heavily into its primary services in call centres. The Philippines' government has partnered with public universities all over the nation to provide degree programs specifically for BPO knowledge. Students that have graduated from these programs have mastered business management, customer communication, essential software use, and perhaps most importantly, the nuances of the English language and western culture. All BPO employees are fluent in English and trained to engage in friendly conversation and conflict resolution. Thanks to the country's focus on education and skill development, companies can be assured that they're receiving the highest quality services when outsourcing to the Philippines - whether it's in legal services or customer support.

BPOs in the Philippines provide a tremendous profit to western companies, and government investment in the sector only continues to grow. By providing diversified, high-quality services at an affordable cost, the Philippines' BPO sector has made itself an invaluable asset to the global economy - one that is surely here to stay.

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