The Philippines is a Great Choice for BPOs: Here's Why

The history of outsourcing in the Philippines is the story of its BPO expansion, which has included multi-channel assistance for chat and social media, knowledge process outsourcing, competitive marketplaces, and the Philippines’ dominance in call center services.

The Philippines is widely recognized as the leading offshore outsourcing location. Filipinos are known for their excellent command of the English language. The Philippine islands have a score of more than 7 (according to a business English survey released this week by the GlobalEnglish Corporation), putting them in the range of high proficiency.

Because it is the primary language of instruction and the pervasiveness of U.S. culture, Filipinos enter the workforce uniquely prepared for positions in the contact center industry. Gartner has commented that “the ability of Filipinos to adopt accents and nomenclature, as well as understand American idiomatic expressions and usage, are significant advantages.”

Quality, Loyal Workforce

According to Gartner, the MetaGroup, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Philippines has a strong reputation in the business world. Every year, over 400,000 young professionals graduate from Philippine universities.

Wher BPO employees in the United States and India are more inclined to seek incrementally better pay and benefits, therefore, churn rapidly; Filipino employees are more loyal and less likely to leave their job once hired. The average tenure in the Philippines BPO space is 2.5 years versus 8-9 months elsewhere, while attrition is less than 5% in contrast to 100-200% in the United States.

Attuned to Western Culture

The Philippines is an oddity, with a 400-year history of being ruled by the Catholic church and then occupied by the United States before its post-war independence. America was a rising geopolitical force at the turn of the century, taking on responsibility for three colonial possessions due to the Spanish-American War. The Philippines’ strategic location and the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade, which began in 1565 and continued until 1767, made the Philippines the most important (and controversial) of the three acquired possessions.

The 50-year period of American rule was a confluence of progress and repression. The Thomasites, a group of 500 intrepid teachers who arrived in Manila on August 1, 1901, established universal education that benefited all students. They created an American-style public school system based on English as the language of instruction.

The Philippines’ contribution to Allied victory in the Pacific theater during WWII means a long-standing history of cultural cohesion with and understanding of the U.S. generally.

After the Japanese aggression and defeat, America and the Philippines gained a shared sense of loss and devastation. During this time, American culture indelibly influenced the Philippines, leaving its mark on society.

Filipino professionals are therefore well suited for business interactions with the United States. As Gartner notes, “this positions the country well to work with and conduct business with U.S. end-user buyers seeking to procure services from Filipino service providers.”

Moreover, western expatriates tend to find the Philippines a comfortable place to work and live. In recent PERC (Political and Economic Risk) surveys of expatriates, respondents chose the Philippines as the best Asian country for expatriate living. Expatriates place significant value on their being able to interact with the local population.

Government Cooperation

The Philippine government is committed to increasing the number of call center and BPO jobs by implementing programs that make the country both business and investor-friendly. One hundred percent foreign ownership is allowed, as well as significant financial incentives provided by the Board of Investment and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), including tax holidays and free importation of capital equipment.

University Support

The Filipino educational system has demonstrated a willingness to work with the private sector to develop curricula that address the needs of the BPO industry. Institutions of higher learning — 643 IT schools, 400 technical schools, and 86 colleges and universities — are focused on supplying graduates with business, project management, and language skills necessary to sustain growth.

World-class Telecom Infrastructure

The Philippines was the first nation in Asia to de-regulate its telecom sector and therefore demonstrates several significant benefits.

According to the GIGA Information Group:” The Philippines possesses a clear edge over all other offshore contenders due to its superior telecommunications infrastructure”. For example, the Philippines currently demonstrates leadership in all types of wireless communication. Furthermore, communications costs are among the lowest in the region giving businesses with large bandwidth requirements such as contact centers a decisive edge.

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