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Skill Shortage Impacts Philippines BPOs Amid Threats From Automation

The Philippines BPO industry is facing a skill shortage, even while automation is threatening to kill thousands of existing jobs in its call center industry.

Rey C. Untal, President and CEO of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), told a forum in Manila recently that finding the right talent had proved to be a challenge for the industry.

There is no shortage of graduates looking for jobs, but many of them are not skilled enough to carry out the jobs at BPO firms. This comes at a time when many call centers are finding the number of business contracts shrinking, due to many factors in addition to automation.

These days, the BPO providers are trying to obtain the kind of contracts that the machines cannot carry out, according to local media reports. But such contracts need high-skilled employees.

Last year, the IBPAP announced plans to upskill one million employees over the next five years, but there has been no progress on this plan.

With essential customer services set to be automated, many call centers have been left with no options but to equip their employees for more complex tasks. According to Untal, the BPO companies in the country are already spending a considerable sum of money on training their new hires, to face skill shortage.

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With more than US$25 billion in annual revenue, the BPO industry is the second main economic pillar for the Philippines.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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