Global BPO and contact center provider Alorica has announced plans to expand its workforce across the Nearshore region, creating around 3,500 new jobs by year’s end.
The company is growing its workforce capacity by 900 agents in Guatemala City, 2,000 in Kingston (Jamaica), and 600 in Puebla (Mexico).
Alorica already has four facilities in Guatemala City, employing more than 5,000 agents in the country. Its Jamaican sites in Kingston and Portmore employ around 3,000 agents in total, and its recently launched facility in Puebla has 200 employees.
The company also has operations in Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, and Uruguay, taking its regional headcount to approximately 17,000 in the peak season and 14,000 in the low seasons, according to Miro Batista, Alorica’s region head for Latin America and the Caribbean.
While a small portion of the new team will be focused on local clients, around 95% of the new jobs will be agents focused on Nearshore customer service, bringing the size of its regional pure-play workforce one step closer to BPO rivals Convergys, Atento, and Teleperformance.
The workforce expansion is partially related to the company’s recent client acquisitions in the energy and utilities sector, reportedly valued at US$150 million. A portion of the new jobs will be spread across the region to service these clients, according to Batista, with Guatemala picking up more than other locales.
“Our clients are learning more about geopolitics, country risk, and why country diversity is important,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that the geos we are growing are sustainable, which allows us to be more balanced across the region and build a more diverse footprint.”
Batista explained that some clients want alternatives to Mexico, stressing that although they can be more expensive they have other advantages. “Panama is a good example, as we have a lot of utility clients there doing customer service to first-stage collections,” he said.
A portion of the energy and utility contract is also going into Jamaica, where Alorica recently leased 112,000 feet of facility space in the 58HWTR Tech Park, located in Kingston’s Saint Andrew Parish. The site is going to be a “flagship site” for the company as more business comes in, according to Batista.
Even so, it is still a challenge finding management talent in the country, so the company must utilize its regional footprint to overcome that.
“In terms of hiring in Jamaica, we are working on growing our talent, not just getting agents on the phones, but offering a career path for applicants,” said Batista. “Overall, to keep on top of this volume of new hires, I will be leveraging my mangers and resources across the region, moving leadership to Jamaica to help ramp into the peak season. This also serves as a mentoring program for the supervisors that are emerging in the country. That’s the benefit of having multiple geos; we can airlift resources around depending on specific needs, collaborating as a region.”
With regards to Mexico, the company launched a new site in Puebla in August and is expanding that same location while also scouting for another location, because the demand and the agent population is there, according to Batista.
“The cost of operating in Puebla allows us to be more competitive, offsetting the difficult challenges of operating in Mexico City, such as traffic, density, and globalization,” he said. “Puebla still has the “small-town” atmosphere without those hassles, and airlines are now opening direct flights to Puebla, from Houston, Dallas, and Miami, which is really helping the nearshore business.”
The local government of Puebla also has a program that covers English training costs, reimbursing a portion of the salary for BPOs who train in-house. Alorica is using those savings to expand the program to capture more of the workforce in the city.
Since acquiring Expert Global Solutions (EGS) in 2016, Alorica has gone from strength to strength in the region, with Guatemala in particular becoming one of its most important operations.
“Six years ago in Guatemala we lunched finishing schools and got government support for a program to replenish the English-speaking talent pool every year, which is really paying off today,” said Batista. “Jamaica can really benefit from a similar approach, and we are implementing similar programs across all of our geos.”