Fast-growing BPO industry needs more ICT graduates

Sep. 22, 2008

Davao City-With the Philippine Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry growing by 30 to 35 percent annually and a projection of 1 million jobs generated by 2010, key players in the Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and academe are pushing for a comprehensive and sustainable training program that will develop Mindanao’s human resources on information, communication technology (ICT).

We need to let the public know the positive economic impact the BPO sector has already gained, and the untapped opportunities that the ICT industry has to offer particularly in creating more jobs and ICT-related businesses, said Wit Holganza, president of the ICT Davao, Inc. during the first ever BPO human resource and recruitment forum held last month.

She said that the forum, which gathered BPO experts and human resources (HR) practitioners from local schools and training institutions, is a good start to prepare the human resource pool to acquire skills that will serve the requirements of the BPO industry players.

The supply of qualified ICT-skilled workers is an increasing concern as the industry needs more ICT graduates with the ICT industry poised for upbeat growth in the next years.

Ditas Formoso, head of the Technical Committee on Government Academe Industry Linkage (TC-GAIL) said that the talent pool is growing at a rate of only 10 percent while the industry grows 30-35 percent annually. In her presentation, she explained that faculty development, industry immersion for students, appropriate school infrastructure and industry-based curricula are factors that make up a talent pool required by the industry.

The TC-GAIL will embark on advocacy and awareness programs to gain industry, academe and local government support for the faculty immersion programs they will be pilot-testing. She also encouraged academic institutions to participate as this will benefit both graduates and faculty.

Jamea Garcia, Talent Development Director of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), added in her presentation that the supply of talent will determine the level of growth the industry will experience. She said that a comprehensive assessment and training program must be developed to help improve suitability of talent for the industry.

In a recent article, she said that investing in training of human resources is a challenge for stakeholders in order to supply the quality of talent which will also propel improvements in the industry. She said that aside from generating 1 million jobs by 2010, it is also projected to generate 1.2 to 1.3 million indirect jobs.

The forum was organized by the ICT Davao, an umbrella organization of different ICT industry associations. The group is planning to develop a databank which will determine Davao’s human resources pool and its capacity to respond to the needs of prospective locators.

The 3-day forum also matched teachers and guidance counselors of schools with HR and recruitment staff of BPO companies on a two-day job fair to allow schools firsthand experience in HR and recruitment processes which can become a benchmark for schools in improving their curriculum particularly in english proficiency and other ICT-related skills.

A career employment track was organized to focus on career opportunities in the different BPO fields which include the contact center, medical transcription, and graphics and animation. On the other hand, the technopreneurship track oriented the participants of opportunities in engaging in ICT start-up businesses.

The Davao Business Plan Competition was also launched during the forum to encourage young ICT entrepreneurs to submit business start-up proposals. Medco

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