PH call center industry sees 'faster growth' in 2021

·4 min read

THE growth of the country’s contact center sector is expected to outpace global growth in 2021, according to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP).

For the year, the volume of full-time employees (FTEs) of contact centers in the Philippines is forecasted to grow by about eight to nine percent, compared to about six to seven percent growth globally.

In terms of revenue, the country’s contact centers are projected to rise by nine percent versus about six percent to seven percent worldwide.

Meanwhile, the information technology-business process management growth locally and globally are expected at seven to eight percent in terms of the volume of FTEs and eight percent in terms of revenue.

“The story of our industry was a really tough 2020 for many of us, still tough in 2021. But the market is rebounding. The Philippines is rebounding together with the market but because we are highly differentiated, no other country could do contact center better than the Philippines. We are enjoying faster growth than the global market and fueling our business growth is the creation of jobs,” said CCAP chairman Benedict Hernandez during the opening of the five-day virtual Contact Islands 2021 conference, Monday night, Sept. 27, 2021.

CCAP is composed of 130-member companies that represent about 70 to 80 percent in the industry. In a survey, 42 percent of the companies which represent about 300,000 employees are forecasting double-digit growth this year, which Hernandez described as “quite phenomenal.”

At the onset of the pandemic, the contact center industry was tagged as an essential industry that enabled companies to continue working while observing proper health protocols.

This allowed the industry to achieve an export revenue of $26.7 billion in 2020 and hired 23,000 new employees last year with a total FTEs of 1.32 million.

In terms of multiplier effect, the growth of the sector resulted in 4.3 million in direct employment. It also brought employment opportunities in the countryside with more than 350,000 or 27 percent of the total industry workforce employed outside Metro Manila.

“We really are in a unique position because of our size, skill and our ability to grow and help the country in its national recovery from this devastating impact of the pandemic,” he said. “We are uniquely positioned to actually take the lead in helping this country recover, create more jobs and help our partner sectors.”

Support to employees

CCAP has also cited support mechanisms provided by local contact firms to their workforce amid the ongoing pandemic. While 99.5 percent of all employees continue to work, either on site (40 percent on average) or at home (59 percent on average), half a percent of all employees are unable to work due to various reasons.

One out of three companies are providing financial support to these employees.

About 73 percent of on-site employees in CCAP-member companies have received extra pay and allowances. The figure contrasts with 35 percent in BPM centers and 38 percent in shared service centers (SSCs).

Meanwhile, up to 97 percent of work-from-home employees of CCAP-member contact centers have received extra pay and allowances against 47 percent and 50 percent from BPM centers and SSCs, respectively.

Logically, additional support and incentives have been provided to on-site contact center professionals amid the pandemic. Among those are provisions for temporary housing, transportation arrangements and Covid tests.

Contact Islands 2021

CCAP is holding the virtual Contact Islands conference from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2021.

With the theme “Re-Igniting Growth in the New Business Environment,” the weeklong conference will focus on the customer experience in the world of Covid-19.

“The current situation is a combination of uncertainties and hope,” said CCAP president Jojo Uligan. “While the number of total Covid-19 cases continues to rise nationwide and is so far at about 2.4 million, the national vaccination program has administered over 43 million total doses so far. CCAP has entered into partnerships with various local government units to ensure vaccinations for employees.”

Uligan also expressed optimism that the local contact center sector along with the global IT-BPM industry could see a strong market rebound in 2021.

Multiple forces are expected to help drive growth in the global services industry for the year—including continuous vaccine rollout, positive enterprise sentiment, digital acceleration, pent-up demand, rising cost optimization requirements, and potential fiscal stimulus across demand geographies. (KOC)

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