OFWs displaced by crisis should try BPO jobs: experts

By: Administrator  |   1/7/2009 2:31:14 AM

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may be affected by job cuts caused by the global economic slowdown can be tapped as workers for the business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, industry experts said.

During the second day of the BPO Summit Philippines 2008, experts said that OFWs, particularly those who will lose their jobs and will return to the Philippines, can be trained to be potential workers for outsourcing companies.

"This is an option for OFWs, especially because of the job cuts resulting from the global economic slowdown," said Commissioner Monchito Ibrahim of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology.

The Department of Labor and Employment recently said that around 50,000 OFWs may lose their jobs as a result of mass lay offs and job cuts triggered by the US-led financial crisis.

"We want them to go back because there are jobs waiting for them in the BPO industry," Ibrahim told abs-cbnNews.com/Newsbreak referring to Filipino migrant workers who may be affected by retrenchment and cost-saving measures of companies in other countries.

"Most OFWs speak English while they are in other countries and they just need to go through finishing schools to improve their accent," Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim added that a number of OFWs have either reached or finished college education and are qualified to work for the BPO firms." There are many OFWs that are qualified to work not only in call centers but in other sub sectors of the BPO industry."

Industry experts are saying that the returning OFWs can be retrained and tapped because some of them have backgrounds in accounting and engineering and can be hired by BPO firms offering finance and accounting, and engineering services.

Grace Sorongon, vice president and managing director of human resources consulting firm John Clements Consultant Inc, said that there is a potential for overseas workers in Hong Kong.

"We can tap them and some of our workers there are probably speaking Mandarin and Cantonese," Sorongon said, adding that there is a demand for workers who can speak more than one language.

Open to OFWs

Jamea Garcia, executive director for talent development of the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP), said that the industry is ready to accommodate returning OFWs who have the skills they need since there is a huge demand for workers in the BPO industry.

The BPO industry employs around 300,000 workers and generates almost US$5 billion revenues as of 2007. Industry experts are targeting US$13 billion revenues and a million workers in 2010.

BPO firms, however, have been complaining of high turnover rate and low recruitment yield due to lack of applicants who are proficient in English.

"We are open to the possibility of hiring them as long as they are qualified," Garcia told abs-cbnNews.com/Newsbreak

Alternative to going abroad

Industry experts also say that the BPO industry can help stop the brain drain happening to the Philippines as Filipino professionals leave the country to seek for greener pastures abroad.

Fred Ayala, president of the BPAP, said Tuesday that diverse career opportunities from the non-voice sector of the BPO industry is an alternative to going abroad.

"Non-voice sector needs our nurses, accountants, lawyers, editors, human resource managers, engineers and financial analysts," Ayala said.

The non-voice sector of the BPO industry includes medical and legal transcription, financial and accounting services, engineering, animation, software development and human resources services.

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/pinoy-migration/12/03/08/ofws-displaced-crisis-should-try-bpo-jobs-experts

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