The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines has often been dubbed as a “sunshine industry”.
More aptly, it is a “sunrise industry”—a business sector on infancy that shows the promise of rapid growth and expansion.
The burgeoning BPO industry, shared services (SS) companies included, has provided millions of job openings on its own. As an economic magnet, it has, moreover, spun the growth and expansion of other industries, such as retail, real estate, transportation, food and beverage, and tourism and hospitality across areas where BPO and SS sites or centers mushroom. Because so, this sector has become a major GDP contributor to the Philippines.
The pull of BPO companies on the talent pool lies in the value proposition these companies offer.
Here are a few good reasons why fresh and seasoned talents are attracted to employment prospects in these companies.
Work for everyone
There is work for everyone in the BPO industry.
Some job openings, especially for the Operations department require at least only a high school diploma (old curriculum, K-12, or the alternative learning system or ALS) for many, if not most, BPO companies. Many require only at least two (2) years of completed college education or the rough equivalent of 72 earned units. Some others require even only a vocational degree, or any of the above, coupled with a specific length of BPO experience.
This is especially true of the production agent role and its literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of derivatives, such as, but not limited to the following.
Customer Service Representative Healthcare Associate Customer Account Associate
Customer Support Consultant Back Office Support Chat Support Representative
Collections Specialist Fulfillment Associate Financial Specialist
Virtual Assistant Claims Associate Travel Expert
Technical Support Representative Content Moderator Proofreader
Medical Coder Legal Aid Risk Analyst
Albeit the lack of background that provides the same or a similar experience to the duties and responsibilities of any these production agent roles, a certain extent of training provided by a BPO or SS company normally compensates for whatever are necessary for the agents to get by and start learning the ropes of the business.
Most roles in a company’s departments, such as Human Resource, Marketing, Building Administration and Engineering, Training, Workforce, Quality Assurance and Continuous Process Improvement, Procurement and Controllership, Finance, Business Development, Solutions and Design, and Launching and Transitions also neither require a specific degree, nor do they require college-level education. They, instead, require fresh graduates to showcase raw potential, as measured by psychometrician-administered, PhD-certified exams, commensurate to business needs, and experienced individuals the manifestation of a high-level function or process knowledge or a certain level of proficiency or competency in different skill sets.
Some companies have roles that, in conformity with the client or in compliance with industry-standards, require a specific degree, the following being examples.
|Role||Sample Degree Required|
|Medical Reviewer||Medicine, Physical Therapy, Nursing|
|Bank Associate||Banking and Finance, Financial Management, Accounting|
|Travel Specialist||Tourism, Tourism Management, Hospitality and Restaurant Services or Management|
|Real Estate Virtual Assistant||Real Estate Management|
|Legal Researcher||Law, Judicial Science, Legal Education|
Then, depending on existing laws, the company or their client, there are also roles that require specific certifications or licenses, such as these.
|Role||Usual Government-Mandated or Industry-Standard|
License or Certificate Required
|Testing Administrator||Registered Psychometrician|
|Utilization Review||US Registered Nurse|
|Financial Advisor||Certified Financial Advisor|
|Properties Appraiser||Licensed Real Estate Appraiser|
|Business Excellence Manager||Six Sigma Black Belt or Six Sigma Master Black Belt Certified|
A stable job and a clear career path
Despite setbacks brought about by US government policies, the US being the primary source of outsourced jobs, the outsourcing industry, in general, has been on a steady climb as the need for businesses in the US and other countries to mitigate operational cost and continually scale up or down their operations per market needs are expected persist in favor to this sunrise industry. It is highly anticipated that the demand for outsourced jobs will only increase in the coming years.
Freshers may start as rank and file, but the chance to move up the ladder abounds, especially as the company grows. Agents that show potential for support and leadership roles are usually identified and enrolled in a program that would groom them for such roles. On-the-job (OJT) or internship programs for higher roles are common in BPO and SS companies. This affords agents with new skill sets and supervised experience necessary for a full-fledged support and leadership role, most of the time with a monetary allowance.
Production agents have many pathways to take. After some time as an agent, there usually comes an opportunity for a higher post in Operations (Floor Support, Subject Matter Expert, Operations Supervisor), Business Excellence (Compliance Associate, Quality Assurance Specialist), Workforce (Real-Time Specialist, Reports Specialist), Human Resource (Compensation and Benefits Assistant, Recruitment Associate, HR Business Partner Assistant), Facility Management (Administrative Aide, Office Management Assistant), and so on.
There is as well, in most cases, a well-defined progression of employment, which varies per company and department. Here’s a sample progression of the employment of a BPO trainer.
Assistant -> Specialist -> Senior Specialist -> Officer -> Senior Officer -> Expert -> Assistant Manager -> Associate Manager -> Manager -> Senior Manager -> Assistant Director -> Associate Director -> Senior Director -> Assistant Vice President -> Associate Vice President -> Senior Vice President
Competitive pay and benefits
Here is a list of the typical compensation and benefits perks when working in BPO or SS companies.
- Higher-than-average remuneration package.
- Rewards and incentives: cash of as much as even a hundred thousand pesos (Php100K) or more a month (in some accounts, sales and banking especially), food, groceries, gift vouchers, paid vacation, appliances and gadgets, etc.
- Two days off a week
- More-than-usual vacation leaves (VLs) and sick leaves (SLs)
- Life insurance and medical-dental insurance (health maintenance organization or HMO), with one to four (1-4) dependents for most.
- For some, apart from the mandatory 13th Month Pay, a 14th Month Pay and a 15th Month Pay, sometimes based on performance
- For some, instead of the mandatory 10%-night differential, 15% or 20%.
- Periodic performance evaluation (e.g., quarterly, semi-annual, annual)—the higher the appraisal score, the higher the pay increase.
- For some, retirement benefit after three (3), five (5) or ten (10) years of service.
- For some, tuition reimbursement, fire assistance, survivor assistance.
- Loan services: student, emergency, mortgage, etc.
- For some, day-care, gym and wellness, and gaming and recreation facilities.
- For some, an in-house pharmacy.
- Paid certifications and Trainings: Cisco Certified Network Associate and CompTIA Network + for IT professionals, Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma for Business Excellence professionals, etc.
- For Mid and Higher Management, sponsored overseas training and immersion.
- For some, stock options.
Exposure to global competence
Work in this industry exposes one to a variety of verticals—healthcare, banking and financial, travel and hospitality, retail, telecommunications, etc.—employees learn best practices from each of these.
Also, culture and business propriety are learned from exposure to customers and clients of different ethnicity and geographic location.
Most of all, as one climbs the mid-management and higher management ladder, he or she is exposed to different proven business models and strategies as well as leading-edge technological capabilities.
Overall, employment in this fast-paced, dynamic, sustainable and thriving, and robust industry is a career-propeller and a window to various opportunities.
The BPO industry is a sunrise industry. That will not change soon, not in many years.