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BPO industry addressing lack of manager supply issues

Veronica C. Silva | Aug. 21, 2008
This October, industry group Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) will launch a middle management program so that the BPO industry can get middle managers who are urgently needed by the globally competitive industry.

MANILA, 20 AUGUST 2008 - After finding solutions to increase the hiring rate among entry-level workers, members of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry are now faced with another supply challenge--getting enough managers to supervise the entry-level workers.

This October, Industry group Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) will launch a middle management program so that the BPO industry can get middle managers who are urgently needed by the globally competitive industry.

In a briefing with reporters on Friday at Quezon City, Oscar Sañez, chief executive of BPA/P, said the local BPO industry has grown from 10,000 workers in 2001 with revenues of US$120,000 to 300,000 workers and $4.9 billion in 2007.

In the industry's Offshoring & Outsourcing Roadmap 2010, the industry expects to grow to one million workers and capture 10% of the projected $130 billion global industry.

Sañez said BPA/P's middle management program will have two options: a short-term intensive training course for supervisors, and a one-semester or trimester certificate program that is equivalent to six units leading to a Master's in Business Administration degree. Sañez said their partners for this initiative are two of the top management schools in the country--the Ateneo de Manila University and the De La Salle University.

The courses will teach industry-standard competencies in BPO management, such as performance review and operational excellence. "The industry needs to improve the training of middle managers," said Sañez.

Philippe Gauthier, chairman of Asiatype Inc., a BPO engaged in electronic publishing and digital imaging, said finding good middle managers for the BPO industry is an important issue in the Philippines because it is difficult to find good middle managers. In some cases, some locally based BPOs are forced to hire expatriates to be sure of the quality of service that they offer their clients, most of which are foreign companies.

One of the remedies Gauthier suggested is a company exchange program similar to a student exchange program done among schools or universities. Officials of one of the pioneering call centers in the country, eTelecare Global Solutions, said such a program can help since the industry is growing at a fast rate.

Benedict C. Hernandez, eTelecare senior vice-president and country manager of the Philippine operations, told reporters that the industry will need 75,000 entry-level workers per year to meet its goals for 2010, there is also a need for 7,000 leaders per year to supervise these entry-level workers, the bulk of which are call center agents.

The call center industry alone will need 40,000 support specialists and leadership posts by 2010 or 460 leaders per month.

In the case of eTelecare, which is mainly involved in the voice business, a site manager manages from 1,000 to 1,200 call center agents. In its eight years of existence, Hernandez said it grooms managers from within since there are unique competencies in the BPO industry which some workers from other industries cannot acquire unless they are part of the industry.

 

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