Jamaica is preparing to build another BPO complex – with the government saying the new facility would create up to 4,500 jobs.
Designed to be made up of three multilevel buildings, the Portmore BPO complex will be located in Portmore, St. Catherine and will use around 240,000 square feet of office space.
A local construction group has reportedly agreed to build the facility with an investment of US$24 million.
“We are very happy to support this industry because it brings in employment and some amount of foreign exchange,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness after breaking the ground for the construction.
Jamaica’s BPO jobs have doubled since May 2017, and the prime minister is hopeful of seeing the numbers to exceed 100,000 over the next few years. “In May 2017, the industry employed 17,500 people, now there are 36,000 employees,” he said.
He went on to urge the industry members to focus their efforts on boosting the skilled talent pool. “So that operators can readily find the labor to occupy the BPO spaces,” he added.
While the Jamaican BPO sector has been on the rise, there seem to be fewer talents to take up senior-level jobs.
In addition, the building of large campuses for BPO companies has stoked uproar in the past, with some local realtors criticizing the government in 2014, saying that real estate firms involved in the construction of tech parks would be saddled with debt and empty buildings if their tenants leave after five or six years.
Such worries have somewhat subsided in the past couple of years, as many foreign firms expanding operations in the country.
The BPO industry in Jamaica is the largest in the Caribbean, contributing more than US$500 million annually to the country’s economy.
Furthermore, the BPO workforce is fueling growth in several other sectors, namely security, transportation, retail, food and beverage, insurance, and financial services.