When it comes to outsourcing opportunities in the Philippines, one most often calls to mind call centers or customer service. Being an English-speaking country (Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world), it has an edge over call center outsourcing destinations, such as India or even China. The Philippines also boasts of college educated customer service agents who are adept at handling customer complaints and requests.
Next to call center or customer service support, Philippines has also made a considerable progress in the medical transcription business. On top of the labor force’s ability to speak and write in English, it has a surplus of workers with degrees in the medical field, such as nursing, pharmacy, and medical technology, thanks to the growing trend of exporting medical workers to developed countries, such as the US, UK, and the Middle East.
Is Philippines in a good position to take a cut in the technology outsourcing pie? Fortunately, the answer is yes, according to analysts.
While still trailing behind India and China, the country “is already emerging as a strong player in this rapidly evolving industry, demonstrating that it can compete with India and other low-wage destinations in creating value,” according to a 2005 report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). Case in point: While Philippines’ population is 16 times smaller than China, it produces twice as many engineers, according to MGI.
In 2007, the Philippines captured USD 4.1 billion or 1.4% of the global outsourcing market share. According to a Reuters report, diversifying outsourced opportunities beyond call centers will earn the country up to $12.2 billion by 2010.
Opportunities Despite Tech Spending Crunch
Because of the global economic crunch, cuts in IT spending are inevitable. The upside of belt-tightening measures is off-shoring of technology jobs. Of course, the downside could be that the growth of off-shored tech opportunities may not be as high as it was projected in the past years. Still, opportunities abound for outsourcing destinations, such as the Philippines.
Filipino engineers and generalist tech workers have become attractive to foreign companies. “Poaching” of tech workers by other Southeast Asian countries has been observed over the past 3 years, thanks to their technical and communication skills. This temporary diaspora of Filipino tech workers offers better earning opportunities to the workers themselves, but on a larger and more important scale, world-class training experiences that they can bring back home.
If the tech industry can supply ample technical and managerial training to its workers, the Philippines can become a more attractive outsourcing destination for technical development. The country should not rest on its call center laurels alone.
Related article: The State of Software Development Outsourcing in the Philippines