In the Top 100 Outsourcing Destination published by Tholons, Cebu city was ranked fifth in the world as an outsourcing destination for foreign businesses. The ranking is a testament to the island and city’s capability to greatly sustain business development.
Cebu has long been regarded by local and foreign businesses as the nation’s second capital, having the acclaim of being “the capital of the south” which points to the island’s southern geographic disposition in the Visayan region of islands.
Cebu’s business district features corporations, local businesses and startups. With considerable investments done in the city’s infrastructure, many of the buildings and centres in Cebu already house offshore operations by foreign companies and several shared service centers that are also operating in the city.
The potential of Cebu to move up in the world’s top cities for BPO outsourcing is great and it fuels more investments on infrastructure within the next several years. Soon to begin work in construction is a 60-hectare BPO City that will house call centers and shared service facilities in Cebu’s South Road Properties (SRP).
According to Mayor Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña’s state of the city address, the city of Cebu can still generate more direct investments from foreign offshore firms that will create more jobs in the area. An expansion of infrastructure means Cebu will also be a very attractive destination for startups and people of expertise, thereby raising the city’s technical capabilities through inward migration.
Currently, the BPO industry in Cebu employ over 100,000 but the demand so far outpaces the supply as according to Mayor Osmeña, the city is still facing a shortage of 50,000 qualified call center agents needed by the many BPO companies in the city.
“Many of those qualified refuse to join call centers. Even those that do join do not stay employed in the industry. Many quit. Call centers suffer a 4-percent resignation rate every month,” Mayor Osmeña was quoted by the Business Mirror.
The location of the 60 hectare BPO city in SRP offers a strategic value in providing jobs for the youth that are to enter college. This will allow college students to work part time in the BPO industry as a means to sustain their college tuition and get an early foothold on their economic disposition. The BPO city will also feature affordable lodging for both BPO employees and college students.
“Later, they [college students] can even choose to pursue a master’s degree without resigning. The agent will work, study and live, all in the same building complex so commuting is unnecessary, which will also improve traffic,” Mayor Osmeña added.
With a stable income, college students can also afford to send themselves to a higher learning program in attaining a master’s degree.
“In the end, an agent will be able to have both a college and a master’s degree debt-free,” he said, adding that this will benefit the entire city.
To rise alongside the BPO city is key establishments such as malls, restaurants, cafes and shopping centers to create a holistic environment in balancing work-life and recreation. According to Mayor Osmeña, the BPO City will also attract direct investment from local businesses and be able to generate more employment outside that of the BPO industry.
With an active approach being championed by the government in establishing a hybrid BPO setup in Cebu, the government is reinventing the stream for BPO’s entry level careers and talent acquisition.
The Cebu government is also in active discussions with large BPO companies such as Convergys, Xerox, Teleperformance, E-Performax, Accenture and Qualfon in setting up operations in the upcoming BPO city. Mayor Osmeña said that the companies mentioned already have expressed interest in further expanding operations in Cebu.
In raising a world-class BPO city and a proactive approach in integrating BPO into the local economy, the government of Cebu is answering the call of experts where governments must be responsive in charting policies to help further the impact of BPO in the country’s key cities.
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