THE future is hybrid.
This was what the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) foresees as the future of the workplace as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt business globally.
“There is a growing requirement to deliver work-from-home (WFH) at scale as clients have realized and accepted that remote work can be done without sacrificing employee productivity and quality,” said IBPAP president and chief executive officer Rey Untal during the CIB.O 2021 Transformation Summit.
Untal said the current enabling WFH set-up has allowed the sector to run at an average of 64:36 WFH to onsite ratio with more than a hundred organizations doing 90 to 100 percent WFH.
Citing YouGov America’s 2021 study, Untal said 86 percent of the workers under a WFH setup are interested in continuing with the current work arrangement even after the pandemic. The same study also noted that most remote employees would prefer to continue working from home at least part-time.
Because of this, Untal said the sector remains “cautiously optimistic” that the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry will continue to grow amid the lingering impacts of Covid-19 pandemic.
He noted that the WFH setup has kept employees healthy and safe, decongested traffic, sustained and improved productivity, provided job opportunities beyond metro cities, retained the country’s competitiveness (in terms of cost/operation flexibility), and reduced absenteeism and turnover rates.
“With a number of IT-BPM markets across the globe making their own several adjustments to their operations, there is even more opportunity for the Philippine IT-BPM sector to further grow both as a premier or alternative location,” he said.
Untal said the current Covid-19 surge in India triggered some movements in accounts and clients to the Philippines and other locations.
He said they believe this could lead to additional jobs for Filipinos and even higher growth potential for the industry.
This means direct jobs in the industry could increase by as much as 180,000 in the next two years, he said.
IT-BPAP has the potential to grow its revenue to US$29 billion and add some 160,000 more jobs by 2022. The sector closed 2020 with revenue of $26.7 billion and direct employment count at 1.32 million.
To sustain this, Untal cited several strategic imperatives in achieving IT-BPM’s growth potential not just in 2022 but also in the years to come.
“First, (there should be) a really stronger pivot towards becoming a more digitally-enabled nation and one that continues to be globally competitive and relevant as a prime investment destination,” Untal said.
This includes the country’s digital parameters and benchmarking, accelerating digital infrastructure development and a digital Philippines branding.
Another strategy, Untal said, is the need to expedite investments both in talent attraction and development, particularly for the domain and digital skills.
“It goes without saying that enhanced government support and our ability to fortify our role in the formulation of enabling and responsive public policies is needed to create a business-friendly environment,” he said.
He said the sector is also on the verge of refreshing the Philippine’s IT-BPM value proposition and its narrative and promote continuing positive conversations around the sector’s abilities through strategic marketing and targeted investor relations initiatives.
Untal said there is also a need to hasten projects in improving and strengthening telecommunications, power and transport networks as well as other support infrastructure. (JOB)