THEY talk to customers with inquiries or complaints over a computer, and speak English well. They’re commonly seen inside high-rise office buildings and work day in and day out, even when the rest of the city is asleep.
They are call center agents or sometimes referred to as customer service representatives, and they remain the most in-demand workers in Cebu, according to online job portal Mynimo.
According to Wesley Chiongbian, Mynimo president and chief executive officer, the top job listing in its website is for customer service representatives, followed by sales officers, programmers, accountants, and engineers, respectively.
“This means that there are still a lot of opportunities in Cebu,” said Chiongbian. Contact centers’ expansions in Cebu will fuel the demand for more call center agents here, he added.
On May 1 (Labor Day), several BPO companies joined the job fairs in SM City Cebu and SM Consolacion organized by the Department of Labor and Employment together with SM Supermalls.
Unfortunately, Chiongbian said, BPO companies, including contact centers, continue to face retention firstly due to the night shift schedule.
Contact centers operate 24/7 since majority of the clients are based abroad with wide time differences.
Another challenge that he sees is the increasing competition for talent in the BPO sector.
“Smaller companies (are) competing with larger ones for experienced employees and managers,” said Chiongbian.
While positions for customer service representatives still dominate Cebu’s BPO sector, a local industry official sees a rising demand for higher-value services.
“Yes, BPO customer service is still the top job generator as of now but we are seeing increasing demand from the non-voice sector or the higher value services,” said Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-IT) managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr.
For instance, Lexmark and Accenture in Cebu largely transact non-voice services.
For this year, Cebu City ranked as the top seven best outsourcing destination in the world, according to Tholons.
Cebu has more than 120,000 BPO workers to date.
To support the BPO sector in Cebu City, Sa-a shared that Cedift and the Cebu City Government will soon open a “one-stop-shop” facility for BPO applicants and employees.
Various government agencies will converge in one place to attend to the concerns of BPO workers.