At the beginning of the millennia, business process outsourcing (BPO) to the Philippines was on the cusp of growth. The country became home to over 800 BPO companies, which were responsible for the employment of around 1.3 million people. The industry also generated over S$30 billion in annual revenues or 7.4 percent of the Philippines's GDP.
Since then, the performance of the BPO industry in the Philippines has skyrocketed, making it the world's second-largest BPO destination – and the largest and leading call center outsourcing hub. Over the last 10 years, an increasing number of Singaporean companies have been outsourcing their front- or back-office requirements to BPO companies in the Philippines.
You may ask, why the Philippines? Well, this Southeast Asian archipelago, while tiny, is a giant in BPO because of its key competitive advantages, says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading BPO provider based in Manila. The country has the perfect mix of factors that make the business climate very conducive to the industry. First off, the Filipino culture has a very close affinity to that of the West, which makes it easier to conduct business. Filipinos, no matter where you find them in the country, have all been educated using the English language, and their proficiency is unparalleled in Asia (the Philippines has been voted the best English-speaking country in the region).
There is also the matter of labor cost. BPO companies in the Philippines offer a rate that is 60 percent lower than those based in Singapore. You basically get real value for money in terms of labor cost, because the BPO industry in the Philippines guarantees your company a large pool of highly qualified and skilled workers.
Lastly, no other country can match the track record of the BPO industry in the Philippines, which is already over two decades old and rich in competitive experience. Complementing this is the industry's excellent infrastructure, which contributes to the continued growth of BPO companies in the Philippines.
For countless companies, the Philippines remains their preferred BPO destination, says Ellspermann. The country's key competitive advantages and value proposition for outsourcing clients remain unchanged, and more than makeup for the impact of Covid-19. BPO companies in the Philippines might be faced with a long, slow, U-shaped recovery, but the industry is here to stay, and is seen to make a comeback in due time.