BACOLOD City remains a key destination for business process outsourcing (BPO) operations in the country, a global real estate services company said.
Colliers International Philippines, in a statement Thursday, September 21, said the city is among the pioneering provincial locations that managed to entice global outsourcing companies.
Bacolod is slowly being recognized as a major health information management (HIM) hub outside Metro Manila, the company said, adding that this is primarily attributed to the nursing and allied medical graduates that the city produces annually.
Colliers pointed that like other BPO hubs across the Philippines, Bacolod also faces the daunting task of retaining its rank in the Tholons annual survey for the most competitive global outsourcing locations.
The company reported that the city’s overall vacancy in second quarter of 2017 eased to 6.9 percent from 14.7 percent in the same period last year.
This is due to the significant decline in the Negros First Cyber Centre's vacancy, it said.
Colliers sees the overall vacancy in the city rising only marginally to about eight percent over the next 12 months as a number of online English tutorial and HIM firms have already expressed interest to expand operations here.
Ubiquity, one of the tenants at the Cyber Centre, is also planning to hire more employees and this should contribute to greater office space absorption by the end of the year, the firm said.
Despite the recent decline of Bacolod in the Tholons ranking, from 85th to 97th, the city remains as one of the most competitive BPO hubs in the country being one of only five Philippine locations included in the 2017 survey, it added.
Dom Fredrick Andaya, director for Office Services of Colliers, said they are recommending Bacolod as expansion or back-up site to BPO and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) locators.
Andaya cited the city’s skilled labor pool, adequate infrastructure, and streamlined business registration system.
“Negros Occidental and Bacolod City have been active in attracting outsourcing investments. Local officials consider the BPO and KPO industry as a major job-generating sector,” he added.
Although Bacolod City is a major destination for call center services and a thriving hub for online English tutorial, some firms are having difficulty in filling positions for non-voice, higher value outsourcing jobs.
Andaya said they believe that the city’s academic institutions and information technology council should forge a stronger partnership with outsourcing firms and training centers to equip college graduates with the skill set required by KPO firms providing higher-value outsourcing services.
“This is particularly important as Bacolod City is positioning itself as a major software development and HIM destination in the countryside,” he added. (EPN with reports from PNA)