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BPO Industry Searching For Good Managers

Written by P. L. G. MONTECILLO
August 19, 2008
THE LOCAL OUTSOURCING INDUSTRY needs more mid-level management executives if it is to adhere to its “roadmap” for growth in the next two years.

Danilo M. Reyes, president of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), last week said that the industry was in dire need of managers and executives.

It’s a “critical success factor that we have competent managers … especially [for an industry] that grows [by more than a third every year]”, he said.

Out of the around half a million positions needed to be filled if the industry is to hit a 2010 growth target, around 10% are in management.

Although companies are able to produce competent managers, due to the industry’s rapid growth "we still cannot address the increasing requirements," Mr. Reyes said.

Last November the outsour-cing industry group launched its "Roadmap 2010", which includes the hiring of up to a million people and a contribution of some $13 billion to the economy.

During the launch of the Philippine Offshoring and Outsourcing Directory last Friday, BPAP chief executive Oscar R. Sañez said the local industry had tripled in size every three years since 2001.

The business process outsour-cing (BPO) industry is estimated to be worth just under $5 billion, having 300,000 people in 2007. It is expected to grow into a $7-billion industry with about half a million employees by yearend.

"We'd like to look at this decade as the real start and the boom of this industry,” Mr. Sañez said, as the country works on catching up with India, the world’s largest outsourcing destination.

Mr. Reyes, meanwhile, said that while companies promoting from within the ranks was still the more practical way to fill management positions, other ways of developing executives are needed.

Benedict Hernandez, Philippine general manager of eTelecare Global Solutions, Inc. defined the required mid-level executive positions as account and site managers and the like who serve as links between local outsourcing firms and client companies abroad.

It takes six to eight years to develop people for these kinds of positions, he said. The ideal profile is a professional who is less than 30 years old and who can deal with the top executives of Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. Reyes said “Right now, BPAP is putting up initiatives to increase the production of management talent.”

Last week, the BPAP announced that it would be working with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology to develop an information technology (IT) outsour-cing curriculum which would be introduced into colleges and other educational institutions.

Mr. Hernandez said current efforts of the government and the private sector to boost hiring rates have helped, citing a P350-million scholarship fund released via the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority that has resulted in about 6,000 hires for entry-level or “agent” positions since 2006.

Right now, however, Mr. Reyes said the industry still needs to get over its biggest obstacle: attrition, which companies claim to be up to 50% annually.

“Attrition remains a challenge … attrition means instability,” he said.

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