Exploring the Course: The Philippines IT-BPM Journey to 2028

The IT-BPM sector in the Philippines is a significant catalyst for economic growth and job creation, poised for its next major leap. In this blog, we will delve into the history, challenges, and plans for this critical industry in the Philippines.

Career Growth: Ambitious Goals

The IT-BPM industry in the Philippines has set ambitious targets. It aims to achieve $59 billion in revenue and employ 2.5 million full-time equivalents (FTE) by 2028. Achieving this requires expanding the industry's footprint beyond the congested Metro Manila. To accomplish this, there are four key areas of focus:

1. Ease of Doing Business: Streamlining local government processes and reducing bureaucratic obstacles.
2. Infrastructure: Enhancing telecommunications, connectivity, road networks, and real estate.
3. Talent Development: Improving the education system to produce job-ready graduates.
4. Career Marketing: Promoting the IT-BPM sector as a viable career choice for students and job seekers.

History of IT-BPM in the Philippines

The IT-BPM sector in the Philippines has evolved significantly since its inception in the 1980s. It began with basic encoding and in-house development. Today, it offers a diverse range of services, extending beyond traditional call center operations, and incorporating digital platforms and solutions. Notably, it stands as one of the largest job generators and private-sector employers in the country.

The sector encompasses six subsectors: Contact Centers, IT and Software Development, Animation and Game Development, Global In-House Centers, and Healthcare Information Management.

Outsourcing/Offshoring: A Key Contributor to Philippine GDP

One of the standout advantages of the IT-BPM sector in the Philippines is the opportunity for professionals to work with international companies without leaving the country. This contributes significantly to the Philippine GDP. The sector's round-the-clock support creates a multiplier effect, boosting its economic impact. For instance, a 24/7 operating BPO Company generates seven more jobs in sectors such as food, transportation, and security services,  to provide 24/7 services to the Filipino population.

As of the end of 2022, the IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector witnessed an 8.4% increase, adding 121,000 full-time employees (FTEs) in the Philippines, bringing the total headcount to 1.57 million. The industry also achieved a 10.3% revenue growth, reaching a total of $32.5 billion in 2022, surpassing the 2021 earnings of $29.5 billion.

The IT-BPM Multiplier Effect

Direct Employment

The IT-BPM sector directly employs a substantial number of professionals, including software developers, customer service representatives, data analysts, and back-office staff.

Indirect Employment

Support Services: This includes office space, transportation, catering, security, and facilities management.
Education and Training: Universities and training centers develop courses and training tailored to the industry's needs. This results in job opportunities for educators, trainers, and administrative staff.
Retail and Hospitality: This includes retail, restaurants, entertainment, and hospitality, creating jobs in these sectors to meet the increased demand.
Transportation and Logistics: The IT-BPM sector generates transportation and logistics needs, including employee transportation and the movement of goods and equipment.
Security and Facilities Management: As IT-BPM companies require secure facilities, security personnel, and facilities management staff are employed to ensure the safety and functionality of these facilities.
Healthcare and Wellness: This results in job opportunities in healthcare and wellness services, including medical professionals, fitness instructors, and wellness coordinators.
Technical Support and Services: Technical support and services requirement, leading to the employment of IT professionals, repair and maintenance technicians, and IT service providers.
Financial Services: The growth of the sector creates increased demand for financial services, including banking and financial advising, leading to employment in these areas.

Strength in the Countryside: Upskilling and Reskilling to Adapt to the Changing Landscape

In 2022, 25 cities were identified as Digital Cities, and an additional five were added in June 2023. The Digital Cities program seeks to transform cities across the country into thriving hubs for digital innovation, attracting investments and creating job opportunities for Filipinos. The program's success hinges on collaboration between government, industry, and academia to establish a robust digital ecosystem.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) plays a vital role in enabling digital cities and alleviating congestion in Metro Manila. The DICT emphasizes training and professional development initiatives for the workforce, local government units, and the countryside. Examples include the digitaljobsPH Program, which offers basic digital literacy and intermediate ICT skills training in rural areas, and the IT-BPM Scaled Upskilling program, which provides advanced training in priority areas identified by the IT-BPM subsectors.

The Philippine Skills Framework is also in place to design courses and training programs aligned with the skills and competencies identified by the IT-BPM industry, enhancing the employability of local talents. The department further intends to strengthen the Philippines’ position as the top investment destination for global services through the "Leveraging the IT-BPM Industry and Fostering Local Talents" (LIFT) program, which promotes careers in the industry, showcasing Filipino talent to create jobs and sustain the country’s leadership in global outsourced services.

Looking Ahead: Embracing Change and Growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the resilience of the IT-BPM industry. In a world of rapid artificial intelligence advancements, soft skills like critical thinking have become more crucial. These skills enhance both customer and employee experiences, setting the sector apart.

Moreover, there is an escalating demand for data science and analytics skills to address complex questions and provide deeper insights. The industry is committed to upskilling and reskilling existing employees while ensuring incoming employees possess critical skills.

In conclusion, the IT-BPM sector in the Philippines boasts a rich history and ambitious future goals. With government support, industry leadership, and a skilled workforce, it's well-positioned to continue its growth and success in the years ahead. This industry is resilient, adaptive, and poised to lead the Philippines toward a brighter economic future.

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Batapa-Sigue, J (July 4, 2023) Jocelle Batapa Sigue, Driving Digital Innovation To The Countryside Available at: https://jocellebatapasigue.com/2023/07/04/5-more-digital-cities-launch-roadmap-to-drive-philippines-ict-growth/. Accessed: November 2, 2023