BY JOANNA C. BALANZA
BPO industry officials in the city late last year bared a target of some 35,000 full-time employees employed in call centers and other types of BPO firms by 2015.
At present, the city has some 20,000 to 21,000 full-time employees in more than 20 big, medium and small BPO firms.
Well-known and big BPO players that located in the city years back included Convergys, Concentrix, Teleperformance Philippines, Hubport Interactive Center Davao, while the city four notable IT areas which are the Damosa IT Park, Matina IT Park, SM City Davao and Abreeza Mall.
Over the years BPO firms such as call centers, medical transcription, back office outsourcing and others trickled to establish main offices or branches, making Davao City to be dubbed in various ranking labels as “Top 10 Asian Cities of the Future” as a fast emerging and leading ICT Hub in Mindanao for attracting more BPO companies two years ago, and as “Top Next Wave Cities for IT-BPO” last year.
As the country steadily rose to top ranks with Metro Manila placing 2nd to Bangalore, on the other hand, Davao City, already the top ITC player throughout Mindanao, did the same in the 2013 ranking of Tholons, a strategic offshoring advisory firm.
In Tholons’ ranking for Top 100 BPO destinations in the world, Davao City was ranked 71st while Metro Manila placed 2nd and Cebu 8th. Other IT places in the country such as Bacolod and Sta. Rosa were ranked 94th and 82nd, respectively.
Davao youth told to hone up on English
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has this practical advice to college-level youths hoping to land jobs: take up few subjects on English grammar and diction.
This is in preparation of the coming of more Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms in the city, said Duterte.
“More are coming, and I advise (them) to learn to speak English,” he said in his regular Sunday program “Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa” aired over ABS-CBN Davao.
The mayor is visibly gungho over the thousands of BPO jobs that even non college graduates but English-literate and proficient youths who are abundant in the city and in Mindanao can seize on, even as he singled out the BPO sector as the greatest jobs’ generator in his city in the recent years.
More spaces available for BPOs
AN ADDITIONAL space measuring 30,000 square meters (sqm) is now available for business process outsourcing (BPO) locators in Davao City by the first quarter of 2015, ICT-Davao has reported.
ICT-Davao president Samuel Matunog said these BPO spaces will be made available due to the entry of new IT parks in the city, like the Matina IT Park, Felcris, Lanang Busness Park, and new spaces offered by SM malls.
The additional space will add up to the current 7,500 sqm. BPO spaces in the region.
Matunog said these new BPO spaces will be able to generate some 9,000 jobs.
Matunog said there will be no problem in filling up these spaces as several IT-BPO companies are looking at Davao City as their alternative location to ensure business continuity.
But he said the problem now is how to be able to supply qualified manpower for the IT-BPO industry in order to address the demand.
In order to do this, Matunog said there is a need to raise the level of the graduates.
“We have about 20,000 graduates in the Davao Region every year.
Currently, we have about 20,000 full time employees—voice, non-voice, and knowledge workers—in IT-BPO. We’re looking only for 9000 in the next two years. We need to address the lack of applicants and the challenge of why schools are not graduating employable workers,” he said.
Matunog said some of the challenges of some of the industry’s graduates include “English language proficiency, some [graduates] have the impression that BPOs are not promoting the right values or culture to workers, and the issue of working in different time zones.”
(SUNSTAR/Brent Harvey S. Jimenez, AdDU Intern)