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What ASEAN Integration Means for High Value Filipino Talent

The ASEAN integration in 2015 anticipated the acceleration of opportunities in the region as a single market and production base. But what does it mean for high value talent seeking opportunities in the burgeoning Filipino Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry?

The BPO industry in the Philippines has maintained its place at the forefront of Philippine economy, surpassing its revenue target of $21 billion in 2015 while employing over a million Filipinos—half are low-level contact center employees while the other half are high value employees in accounting, software development, engineering, marketing, business administration, and more.

The Philippines is no longer the “sick man of Asia,” owing its progress to the influx of foreign investors and a growing middle class. Under the Aquino administration, national GDP rose to 6.3% in 2015. With a growing economy and massive public infrastructure spending, it has primed itself as a major attraction for more foreign investments within the region.

Opportunities are cropping up in this free market. During the IT-BPM Summit in October 2015, Danilo Reyes, Chairman of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), said that large corporations wishing to maintain global centers in different parts of Asia may eliminate their multiple-center business model and instead consolidate their operations in a Manila facility. It will likewise be easier for companies to sustain a solid base in the Philippines while recruiting employees across the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as necessary.

The Philippines has preserved its reputation as the regional BPO hub for its long-standing relations with foreign clients, adaptability to Asian and Western cultures, vast pool of English-speaking employees who are competent, responsive, professional, and performance-driven. Likewise, the outsourcing industry has garnered support from the government. President Rodrigo Duterte has indicated in his ten-point economic agenda that the government will continue to build upon the strengths of the Aquino administration in terms of macroeconomic and trade policies.

To bolster the growth of the Philippine global talent, the BPO industry is working with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to identify the needs of the ASEAN and global market and match them with the skills of Filipino graduates.

In April 2016, IBPAP, in partnership with Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO), and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) announced the Ten Next Wave Cities that would enable and support the continued growth of the IT and BPO sector in the Philippines. Baguio City, Cagayan De Oro City, Dagupan City, Dasmariñas City, Dumaguete City, Lipa City, Malolos City, Naga City, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna, and Taytay, Rizal were named as top locations for local and international IT and BPO investors based on their 2015 NWC assessment on talent, cost, infrastructure, and business environment.

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