By K. Dominic McKenzie
Jamaica’s BPO sector will receive an employment boost of up to 1,000 people when Convergys, one of the world’s contact center players fully staffs its new Montego Bay operations in 2012. In a speech this week, Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaican Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, said that Convergys will offer jobs for Jamaicans who are leaving secondary and tertiary education institutions. Jamaica currently has about 30 players in the local BPO industry – and the arrival of Convergys couldn’t have come at a better time, as Jamaica looks to accelerate ICT activity.
According to Minister Tufton, Convergys has cited Jamaica as an ideal location for BPO providers supporting clients in the US, Europe and neighboring Caribbean countries because of the similar time zones which varies from zero to three hours for North America, and from five to six hours for Europe. Montego Bay is known worldwide as a top tourist destination and there is a strong customer service orientation in the second city and Western Jamaica. Convergys executives have also expressed confidence in the large educated English-speaking workforce, cultural and physical proximity to the US and Europe and the government’s commitment to ongoing investments in its educational, communications, transportation and facilities infrastructure.
The HEART Trust NTA, a local skills training agency and JAMPRO, the nation’s investment organization, collaborated to make the establishing process convenient to the newcomers in the Jamaican ICT sector. Minister Tufton also alluded to the allocation of funds by the HEART Trust, to support the provision of dedicated recruitment training programs for Convergys, as they seek to identify possible employees.
Research on Jamaica’s ICT sector has revealed that the country’s world-class and robust telecoms infrastructure ranks among the most developed in the world when compared to the US and UK. Jamaica has the highest teledensity rate in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region, while mobile penetration exceeds the rest of the Caribbean and rivals many developed nations in the world at over 109%. Multiple mobile service providers offer 3G, 4G, WiMax and international roaming capabilities.
The presence of three broadband carriers ensures triple redundancy and 99.99% up-time on broadband services. Jamaica has seamless connectivity to North America, Latin America and the Caribbean via three parallel fiber routes to the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) submarine cable in the Dominican Republic. There is also a complete fiber ring around Jamaica.
Convergys brings to Jamaica over 30 years of experience in the BPO industry and promises to affect the lives of millions of Jamaicans, both at home and in the diaspora.
Also in attendance at the early morning press conference at JAMPRO headquarters was Mr. Phillip Gore, Chairman of JAMPRO, Mrs. Sancia Bennett Templer, President of JAMPRO and Dr. Carolyn Hayle, Executive Director of HEART/NTA.