The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry here is urging new graduates who are potential BPO workers to work in the local companies instead of leaving to seek employment in BPOs in Cebu and Manila.
The lure of working in big cities have been drawing graduates away from the university town, causing concern among local BPO companies who noted a drop in the number of local applicants.
The BPO companies here have banded together to conduct a roadshow to inform students about the perks of working for local companies. “We want to let them know that although the salary rates in Manila and Cebu might look attractive, in the end, working here is still the better alternative,” said Suzanne Lu-Bascara, manager of Spi Global based in Bacong town.
Bascara disclosed that a group of human resource representatives from the BPO companies here met to compute the expenses of a BPO entry level worker in Dumaguete versus those in Manila based on the actual basic salary rates. It was learned that an entry level worker would spend only 30% here of what she would have spent for rent in Manila, 40% to 50% for food if she eats outside her home and 50% for transportation costs.
An entry level BPO worker in Manila only get to save 20% to 25% of her salary and this excludes recreation expenses. “When you’re in Manila, with all the clubs and things to buy, your 25% becomes negative and you will max out your credit card,” said Bascara.
She said that most of the employees who left their jobs here to work in Manila come back with “horror” stories of what happened to them– “they had been robbed, they were living in squalid conditions and they realized that coming home is the better alternative.”
The acceptance rate of local applicants in BPO companies here has also declined in the last few years. Dana Fortunato of Student Universe described the acceptance rate in the province as “very low”, from 50% acceptance rate out of a hundred applicants some 2 years ago to what is now lower than 10%.
On the other hand, the industry’s attrition rate — workers leaving or getting fired — has been on the rise. From a 2% attrition rate four years ago, it is now fast approaching 10%, said Fortunato during the forum held by the Philippine Information Agency here.
The BPO industry here launched their campaign to attract more applicants as the industry will need 2,115 fulltime employees for 2011.
Fortunato said there is a need for the industry to work with the schools and the local government units (LGUs) in the province to fill the industry’s employment needs by the end of this year. “We want to get the workers locally without having to look outside the province,” she said.
The group is scheduled to meet with department heads and councilors from LGUs to discuss their concerns followed by BPO site tours. They also plan to meet with schools officials to address what the companies observed as a dip in the quality of applicants in terms of English communication and computer literacy skills.
“There are young kids who say they are computer literate yet they don’t even know how to save a document. They know how to Facebook and play online games but don’t know how to work with Excel,” said Fortunato.
Bascara added that some positions in SPi Global, a knowledge process outsourcing and customer interaction service provider, require fast typing skills. “We found out that the schools have phased out typing 101 and people are now using 2 or 3 fingers when they type on the computer,” she noted.
BPOs in the country is part of the information communications technology industry (ICT) dubbed as the “Sunshine Industry” due to its vast contribution to the Philippine economy and employment.
In 2006, the BPO industry alone contributed around USD$3.2 billion to the country’s economy. It jumped to around USD$9 billion last year.
The Philippines is eyeing to get a share of the projected USD$256 billion for offshoring and offsourcing in the global BPO market by 2016.
In a recent study commissioned by IBM, the country has overtaken India to grab the No. 1 spot in terms of voice BPO globally. (RMN/PIA)