Contact Center Outsourcing Phenomenon - Filipino Agents Flee for Greener Pastures
April 16, 2012
The idea of contact center outsourcing has carried with it a stigma of lost jobs and money-hungry execs hurting the U.S. economy to make another dollar or two in profits. While India and the Philippines have benefitted greatly from the trend to send contact center jobs offshore, a new phenomenon has set in as Filipino workers to look for jobs abroad.
This ABS (News - Alert) CBN news report highlights the apparent exodus taking place in the Philippines due to healthy and work-quality issues within the call center industry. In fact, this trend is changing projections in the industry, suggesting the Philippines will lack the necessary labor resources to meet its jobs target in business process outsourcing (BPO) by 2016.
Contact center outsourcing agents are seeking jobs that provide for more ideal working conditions. According to Joselito Uligan, Executive Director of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines Inc. (CCAP), the current attrition rate cited by the Business Processing Association Philippines (BPAP) is upwards of 10 percent, affecting the call center sector primarily.
The Philippines entered the contact center outsourcing market in the 1970s as a temporary answer to local unemployment problems. Since that time, hordes of Filipino workers have departed from the Philippines, with an estimated 1.124 million leaving in 2010 alone. And, these employees are generally going from one call center to another, searching out destinations such as Singapore and Malaysia.
Hurting growth in the Philippines is the fact that the BPO industry is unable to generate jobs at the same rate. Industry projections suggest $15 billion in contact center outsourcing revenue by 2016, yet the country needs 1.1 million workers to support the projection. At the current rate of exodus, the country may be unable to meet demand.
The health-related concerns among those working in the contact center outsourcing sector in the Philippines included long hours, as well as issues surrounding voice disorders, eyes, cough and insomnia – all common complaints within the contact center. At the same time, a number of call centers were increasing shift length and number of required workdays.
These issues are not being overlooked by employers, however, as the contact center outsourcing industry in the Philippines is often the only place workers can find a spa, gym, game rooms and even day-care centers. Supervisor to agent ratios are low and salaries and benefits are considered high as compared with other industries.
Benefits, of course, are what drive agents to look for work elsewhere. Companies that offer agents better pay, improved environments and benefit perks are striving for a competitive edge in the market and seeking to stamp out leadership in the Philippines. Given the potential revenue at stake, it’s likely we’ll continue to see this battle wage.
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