IT-BPM creates 120,000 new jobs in 2021

ECONOMIC PILLAR. Photo shows the Cebu IT Park, the call center hub of Cebu. The country's IT and business process management industry recorded a total workforce of 1.44 million and revenues of USD29.49 billion as of end 2021. (SunStar file)
ECONOMIC PILLAR. Photo shows the Cebu IT Park, the call center hub of Cebu. The country's IT and business process management industry recorded a total workforce of 1.44 million and revenues of USD29.49 billion as of end 2021. (SunStar file)

THE IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) announced that the number of full-time employees in the industry increased by 120,000 in 2021, bringing the sector’s total headcount to 1.44 million and registering a growth of 9.1 percent compared to 2020.

IBPAP said the IT and business process management (IT-BPM) industry has reinforced its role as a major pillar of the country’s economy as it continued to contribute new jobs and export gains even as Covid-19 crippled other sectors.

While recovery from the pandemic is in sight, the industry remains resilient even as the business landscape remains afflicted with rising inflationary pressures, talent availability, and confining regulatory frameworks.

The industry also recorded revenues of USD29.49 billion in 2021 or a 10.6 percent jump from the previous year.

“This double-digit growth validates what we had projected—that 2021 performance was beyond recovery; it marks a resurgence for the Philippine IT-BPM sector,” Jack Madrid, IBPAP president and chief executive, said in a statement Wednesday. “Preserving jobs, driving investments, stimulating countryside development, and creating demand for real estate—these are the unequivocal contributions of the industry to nation-building.”

Not only did the 2021 figures exceed the forecasted growth for the year, but it also eclipsed the recalibrated 2022 targets of 1.43 million full-time workers and USD29.1 billion in revenues ahead of schedule. IBPAP noted that the upsurge can be attributed to pent-up demand from global customers; higher confidence in work-from-home setups by clients in contact centers and business process services; and growth in emerging sub-segments like e-commerce, fintech, healthcare, and technology.

More and more organizations in global business services are also incorporating offshoring and outsourcing into their strategic initiatives to improve efficiencies and optimize costs in multiple geographies. “This will spill over into 2022 and continue to boost demand for IT-BPM services across the world. We should not miss out on this opportunity to capture a bigger slice of the global market,” Madrid emphasized.

Growth and resilience

The sustained growth of the sector will be defined by several factors. Further reliance on offshoring and outsourcing will be spurred by next-generation business models and assets, the talent and skills shortage, and competitive pricing models. Expansion across select horizontals and verticals and increased digital adoption by traditional players will also be key drivers of growth in 2022.

The future of the Philippine IT-BPM sector will be dependent on the country’s ability to take advantage of emerging trends and circumvent mounting threats on a global and local scale. A sustainable talent supply, predictable regulatory environment, and more enabling infrastructure are just some of the top considerations of potential investors and locators that the Philippines will have to nurture and support.

To help in this very important endeavor, IBPAP is set to publish the Philippine IT-BPM Industry Roadmap 2028 this year. It will serve as the blueprint for the sector’s priorities in digitization, talent, policy shaping, infrastructure, and country branding over the next six years.

Foremost among these imperatives is legislation that will allow the long-term implementation of hybrid work given its rapid adoption in competing locations such as India, Poland, and Malaysia. This has been a focus area of IBPAP in the last few years when it proved meritorious beyond its initial purpose as a BCP.

Although more recent efforts have been on facilitating a smoother transition back to the office through the extension of the WFH arrangement until Sept. 12, 2022, crucial work has been put into ensuring that the new administration understands why work-from-anywhere is essential to the country’s enduring competitiveness and readiness for higher global market share.

IBPAP has been working with the incumbent and incoming governments to lay down the building blocks for a consistent and comprehensive policy on hybrid work and to improve ease of doing business for new investors.

“The launch of the Roadmap is very timely because 2022 is a banner year for the Philippines and the IT-BPM industry. Not only are we welcoming a new administration, but we’re also at the precipice of a new age that will reimagine, rethink, and re-envision everything that we know about the sector,” Madrid said. “We are pleased to share that earlier this year, we selected the Everest Group, a renowned global services advisory and research firm with a deep understanding of the global IT-BPM industry, to be our partner in this critical undertaking.”


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