THE country’s Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry is on track to meet its employment and revenue goal this year as it continues to strengthen its linkage with the academe in sustaining its talent pool.

Speaking at the Cebu ICT-BPM Conference yesterday, Jomari Mercado, president and chief executive officer of Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), told participants that the industry is leveraging on the industry-academe linkage to sustain the talent pool, which remains to be a consistent issue among the IT-BPM firms.

IBPAP is pursuing the Service Management Program (SMP) in high-educational institutions and its internship will go full-blast this year, with 3,000 expected interns to join the IT-BPM firms by October.

Mercado noted that they are looking at strengthening the industry’s competitive edge in human resources to improve the quality and supply of talent of the fast-growing industry in the country.

The IT-BPM expects to generate 1.23 million jobs and $21.8 billion in revenues this year. In 2014, the industry logged a significant growth as it posted $18.9 billion in revenues and reached over one million jobs, making them one of the top growth drivers of the Philippine economy.

Training

SMP is a 21-unit specialized course designed to cultivate the skill sets needed by the students for an entry-level position of an IT-BPM company. The program is being offered in state colleges and universities across the country.

With funding from the Commission on Higher Education, IBPAP expects to have trained close to 700 teachers and have about 20,000 students enrolled in the various subjects in 16 state universities and colleges across the country.

E-learning

Some 42 colleges and universities located in the next wave cities have already sent 130 teachers for training while an additional 87 high education institutions have expressed interest to join the program.

At the start of this year, SMP’s internship already stood at 686.

To expand its coverage, Mercado disclosed that they are currently migrating the SMP courseware into eSMP, or a series of online courseware, which will make access to training available to everyone.

The project is a grant from the Asian Development Bank in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management and the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU).

“To expand the SMP coverage we migrated into an online courseware and we are happy to note that there are already 800 people registered under the SMP online, about half of these are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai, Hong Kong among others,” said Mercado.

Homecoming

The complete SMP suite will be made available by the end of this year.

Mercado said IBPAP hopes the SMP online courseware will open the doors to enable OFWs to come home. He noted that if the industry will retain its 15 to 18 percent growth, according to the BSP, the industry will soon overtake the growth of the overseas remittances by 2017.

“The only difference here is that of the $25 billion in overseas remittances, it translates to 11 million Filipinos separated from their families,” said Mercado.

IBPAP will also leverage through the K-12 education system program by making SMP available in Grades 11 and 12.

“About 30 percent of our high school graduates can’t proceed to college, so by making SMP available to them, we are talking about an additional 390,000 potential workforce to qualify in the industry,” said Mercado.

Voice

The contact center industry remained the biggest employment generator in the industry last year, with total headcount of 685,000 employees followed by 187,000 in the back office or knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) sector, 86,000 in the information technology outsourcing (ITO), and 87,000 in the healthcare segment.

In terms of revenue, the contact center remained the cash cow of the industry, with $11.7 billion in revenues followed by back office/KPO ($3.44 billion); ITO ($2 billion) and $1 billion in healthcare.

Seventy-seven percent of the IT-BPM workers in the country service North American clients, nine percent in Europe, Australia and New Zealand; and five percent in Japan. Mercado said these figure indicates that the bulk of the works is still done in English.

Looking forward, IBPAP will be crafting the Roadmap 2022. The organization is also on the final stages of assessment on the Next Wave Cities.