The growth of BPO industry is pushing physical boundaries. Business centers used to be concentrated in Manila. Today the landscape is spreading.
Government administrations are capitalizing on the immense economic benefits of the BPO industry and the large labor population in the country. Over the years, they have created programs like Rural Impact Sourcing Programme by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to support the expansion of BPO centers. Now, it has arrived in the provinces.
Mega business hubs that rival Manila business districts like BGC, Makati, and Ortigas are being built all over the archipelago. Today, three provinces are standing out. Cebu, Iloilo, and Clark Zone in Pampanga are all slated to become sustainable BPO hubs for the years to come.
BPO Business Center Outside Manila #1: Cebu
This Visayan province has the largest share of the BPO industry outside Metro Manila.
The Cebu BPO industry employs more than 100,000 workers, which in turn made a boom for other jobs like taxi drivers, store clerks, spa workers and food attendants that serve 24/7 for BPO workers in the graveyard-shift.
There are still skill shortages in the KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) but the academe in Cebu is in full support of the industry. KPO jobs require higher level of training which is why certain groups like CEDFIT has partnered with international organizations such as EMC Academic Alliance Program to offer free training to university teachers. They offer courses on subjects like cloud infrastructure services, big data analytics and information storage and management. Combined with the Cebuano youth talents, the Cebu BPO industry is promising to grow bigger and better.
BPO Business Center Outside Manila #2: Iloilo
Iloilo city mayor Jed Mabilog reported that the local BPO industry has provided Ilonggos more than 21,000 jobs. The mayor gives credit to the abundant number of skilled workers as a top factor for attracting BPO companies.
The city will soon boast of a premier business center. The area, named Iloilo Business Park, already sold 80% of its commercial lots. This is according to Jennifer Palmares-Fong, the vice president for sales and marketing of the Iloilo Business Park. The area, which started selling in 2014, will feature 14 towers. Four of these are already constructed. The prospects it attracts are varied too. Banks, hotels, and restaurants are among the interested investors of Iloilo Business Park.
The future of the Iloilo BPO industry seems secure as well. Mayor Mabilog was recently in China to promote the viability of BPO business in the province. He considers his trip successful. Thirty prospective investors from Hong Kong are expected to survey the area.
BPO Business Center Outside Manila #3: Clark
With its unusual mix of accessibility, friendliness, and picturesque beaches, there is no doubt why Clark is attractive for foreign investors. Currently, there are 62,000 full-time BPO employees in Clark, with about 300,000 square meters of office space available.
Clark is a very strategic location. It has its own airport and future business centers will become easily accessible through the various expressways under tow.
As a free-port zone, Clark enjoys similar benefits given to PEZA locations. Since Clark is part of the Pampanga province, the lease price tag is also lower. Compare it to its urban Metro Manila counterparts.
The BPO industry in Clark offers one main attraction. This is its “young, intelligent, and multilingual” labor pool. Within the next two years, about 60,000 graduates from Central Luzon are expected to enter the workforce.
Property developers continue to improve the infrastructure in Clark. If this trend continues, we can soon expect Clark to be in the mix of the most progressive locations in the country.
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