Is the Call Center Industry a Bright Spot for New Graduates?

Note also that major call centers in the country such as US firms Accenture, which recently reduced 3 percent of its redundant workforce in the country, Sykes Asia, Convergys and People Support are hiring fewer call center workers compared to previous years.

Alternatively, call centers are also shifting their operations from Metro Manila, where 80 percent of BPO employees are currently located, to other regions in the search for a cheaper pool of English-proficient workers. This trend is slowly becoming evident with the setting up of call centers in Baguio, Cebu, and Davao City.

The Business Processing Association Philippines (BPAP) has already said that profits in the sector were down by at least 15 percent in 2007 because of the appreciating peso. The US recession and falling BPO sector profits are seen to exert downward pressure on the wages and benefits of BPO employees. As it is, Filipinos are already paid the lowest among over 30 countries for the same skills. Filipino team leaders, supervisors, managers and senior managers are paid 36 percent to 57 percent less than their counterparts in China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The government is in denial if it claims that the heavily US-dependent BPO sector will not be adversely affected by the US economy’s troubles. It will be affected and worse, will likely pass the burden of adjusting on its employees in terms of lower wages and benefits, longer working hours, or more oppressive working conditions.

It is clear that the country’s so-called call center industry will not escape the global economic crisis unhurt—and it is therefore unwise to pin the hopes of fresh graduates and the unemployed on this sector that is an unsustainable source of jobs.

More importantly, it serves to point out the weakness of a government that continues to rely on external sources for job creation for the country’s labor force, instead of building the country’s domestic economy that will generate sufficient and stable employment for Filipinos. IBON Features / Posted by Bulatlat.comBulatlat)

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