THE call center industry has continued to provide jobs, thanks to surging calls from customers stuck at home, defying the global trend of job cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some companies have paused accepting applications, but many of them remain actively recruiting, so we’d like to encourage jobseekers that there’s a way for them to signal hirers that they are up for urgent hiring,” JobStreet Philippines country head Philip Gioca said in a virtual press briefing Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Based on JobStreet data, there were 22,795 call center job postings for fresh graduates from March 15 to April 30, accounting for 41 percent of the total hiring opportunities in the online job site.

Call centers are a big contributor to the dollar-earning business process management (BPM) industry in the Philippines.

Gioca said call center employers also give opportunities to jobseekers with no experience “because these are the candidates who are willing to actually work despite the pandemic.”

This also hastened the companies’ recruitment process as they seek to meet manpower demand. Some companies now interview applicants virtually, he said.

The government has exempted BPM workers from strict quarantine rules.

Fresh graduate applicants can potentially earn P22,000 as call center agent, P22,316 as teacher, P20,500 as customer representative, P13,319 as admin assistant and P20,745 as nurse, JobStreet said.

The online job portal also posted 8,105 government jobs during the period, followed by 4,696 in the education sector, accounting for a 15 percent and nine percent share, respectively.

Drop in listings

However, JobStreet saw an overall 30 to 50 percent drop in job postings during the strict enforcement of the lockdown in the country.

The slump was driven by dismal hiring from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), among the badly hit sectors by the Covid-19 economic crisis.

The pandemic has hurt businesses in many aspects, including their workforce.

Unemployment is expected to increase as local companies lay off their employees, not to mention the repatriated overseas Filipino workers and job-hunting fresh graduates, according to JobStreet.

“The pandemic has greatly impacted businesses and the workforce on a global scale. More than ever, JobStreet strengthens its commitment to rebuild businesses, careers and people’s lives,” said Ramesh Rajandran, chief marketing officer of Seek Asia, the online portal’s parent firm.

Over two million Filipino workers were reportedly displaced by the enhanced community quarantine, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.

New requirements

JobStreet said the current situation has shifted the demands of jobseekers, bringing a new normal in the labor market.

Candidates are now looking for work from home opportunities, home-based, jobs with no work experience, part-time or freelance.

Free-of-charge job posting on JobStreet is also offered to SMEs that offer opportunities for college and K-12 graduates, work from home and no experience jobs, which gives businesses the opportunity to rebuild themselves and their workforce.

“The Covid-19 has introduced a new normal to us and it will continue to exist for quite some time, and JobStreet is continuously stimulating the job market as part of our commitment to empower jobseekers and hirers during this trying time,” said Gioca.

He said that when employers start to post jobs again, it will be an indicator that business activity is picking up again. He said hiring activity is expected to pick up in areas where quarantine measures have started to ease.