Surge in gaming, tourism a bane for BPO industry | Inquirer Business

Surge in gaming, tourism a bane for BPO industry

Group cites intensified competition for talent
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 12:03 AM August 26, 2014

The sprouting casinos and hotels bolstering the country’s gaming and tourism boom may become a bane for the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector as these sunrise industries compete for skilled talent.

“The growth of the tourism industry is a potential threat to us in the sense that they will try to tap the same talent pool,” Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and chief executive Jose Mari P. Mercado told the Inquirer last week.

Mercado noted that when integrated casino resort developer Melco Crown Philippines Corp. early this year announced up to 8,000 job vacancies for its soon-to-open City of Dreams Manila project, the qualifications required of potential employees were similar with the needs of the IT-BPM industry (also referred to as business process outsourcing or BPO).


“What do [hotels and casinos] need? Good service culture, good command of the English language—the same profile [as candidates for BPO jobs],” he pointed out.


Mercado said that during the past decade, hotels were hiring only 10-20 per batch, while BPO companies seek batches of hundreds of workers. But lately, this has changed.

Credit-rating agency Fitch Ratings said in a report last February that the country’s gaming revenues would enjoy double-digit growth until next year on the back of the ongoing development of state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.-led (Pagcor) Entertainment City along Manila Bay.

The sprawling gaming and entertainment complex boasts of a number of licensed casino operators, among them joint ventures between Filipino-owned conglomerates and foreign gaming giants.

For its part, the IT-BPM sector has been one of the country’s top dollar earners in recent years, alongside the influx of remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Last year, the industry generated $15 billion in revenues, up from $13.2 billion in 2012. Its revenues are projected to climb further to $18 billion this year and $25 billion by 2016.

While employment in IT-BPM has already breached the one million mark and is poised to exceed the end-2014 target of 1.04 million as early as next month, the availability of talent is one of the major challenges being continuously addressed by the government as well as industry players to sustain the sector’s robust growth.


Under the Philippine IT-BPM Road Map, direct employment is expected to reach 1.3 million in 2016. This target, however, is beset by skills mismatch among near-hires and the lack of mid-level managers.

“So the impetus now is don’t be happy with the talent pool. What we want to do is increase the talent pool because the tourism industry is not going to be the last industry that will look for the same [employee] profiles,” Mercado said.

According to Mercado, BPO skills development is crucial amid “very high” interest among companies in traditional English-speaking markets such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to tap the Philippines for outsourced services.

He noted that during a recent business mission to Australia, “the Philippine booth never ran out of people coming there to inquire about our services.”

IBPAP was also in the early stages of exploring the European market in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Board of Investments (BOI), Mercado disclosed.

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The Philippines is the world’s No. 1 destination for voice outsourcing services. For the entire global IT-BPM pie, the country ranks second to India.

TAGS: bpo industry, Business, Gaming, Tourism

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