BPO jobs remain vacant due to lack of skills

Posted at 10/06/2012 9:51 AM | Updated as of 10/06/2012 9:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the availability of jobs in business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, positions are not being filled as students and graduates lack the skills required for the work, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) said.

Speaking at the National Competitiveness Council Dialogues held yesterday, BPAP president Benedict Hernandez said that while there are jobs available in BPO firms, there is not enough supply of labor available with applicants lacking necessary skills for the position.

“Of 100 applicants, 95 would be turned away,” he said.
Applicants are often not hired because they lack the communication and critical thinking skills needed to the job.

The BPAP uses the Global Competitiveness Assessment Test (GCAT) as a tool to assess the competency of individuals through industry benchmarks.

Hernandez noted that most of the 20,000 students from 72 colleges and universities which took the GCAT had low marks indicating that they failed to meet the requirements of the industry.

“The main reason why the Philippines is known and why it may fail is talent. Talent has always been a top issue,” he said.

With talent being an important part of BPO operations, he said the industry has started a program that would involve providing training to the near-hires or those who have the potential of getting the job, but are not actually hired.

Based on the results of the program, he said the BPAP found that 70 percent of the near-hires could be part of the industry after undergoing training.

He said more than P400 million has been allocated for the training program this year.

The program is seen to benefit the industry as it helps provide labor supply and improve the skills of the workforce.

Under its roadmap, the IT (information technology) - BPO industry is aiming to achieve a compounded annual growth rate of 20 percent to achieve $25 billion worth of revenues by 2016.

For this year, it is eyeing revenues to reach about $13 billion from last year’s $11 billion.