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BPO sector gets boost

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva December 04,2016 - 10:02 PM

 American company Qualfon, which employs 3,600 business process outsourcing workers in Cebu, is expanding its recruitment hub to serve at least 16,000 walk-in applicants yearly. (QUALFON WEBSITE).

American company Qualfon, which employs 3,600 business process outsourcing workers in Cebu, is expanding its recruitment hub to serve at least 16,000 walk-in applicants yearly. (QUALFON WEBSITE).

Despite Trump threat, US firm expands recruitment hub in Cebu

An American business process outsourcing (BPO) company is showing its confidence in the continued growth of the industry in the country by expanding its recruitment hub at the Cebu IT Park.

This developed despite the resurfaced threats of US President-elect Donald Trump to take back jobs to America.

Steve Brown, Qualfon country manager, said businesses are more at ease now and they don’t see any changes in plans even with Trump’s rhetoric.

“We’re still expanding, with additional BPOs in IT Parks throughout the country, even in areas such as Clark in Pampanga,” Brown told Cebu Daily News at the sidelines of the launching of Qualfon’s upgraded recruitment hub at the Skyrise 3 building at Cebu IT Park last Thursday.

Qualfon, which has its main office in Mexico City, USA and has been in the BPO business since 1995, set up shop in Cebu in 2006. Its services range from providing contact center, back office, and BPO services.

Trump’s tone may have caused a little bit of alarm at first due to how it could impact the industry, but US-based businesses in the Philippines have found out that there won’t be a lot of changes at all.

Brown said what BPO firms need to focus on are things that will help them grow rather than things that they can’t do anything about.

Trump’s plan

In a recent gathering of supporters, Trump reiterated his plan to take back jobs meant for Americans back to America, which he said have been “stolen” by other nations.

The billionaire-turned-politician said he was going to offer attractive tax incentives for US companies that will stay and “make it hard” for those who want to leave. It wasn’t clear, however, what he intends to do with those that already have existing operations in other countries.

More than one million workers are employed in the BPO sector in the Philippines, which is considered as among the major drivers of the economy, next to remittances from overseas Filipino workers.

“At the end of the day, it will be business as usual,” said Brown.

OFW remittances and revenue from the Information Communication Technology-Business Process Management sector amounted to $28 billion and $22 billion, respectively, in 2015.

Recruitment hub

Qualfon’s launching of a bigger recruitment hub at the Cebu IT Park is aimed at bringing more ease of comfort to the thousands of applicants yearly that the firm processes.

There are around 40 to 50 BPO companies in IT Park, employing over 40,000 workers at present.

In Cebu, Qualfon gets an average of 16,000 to 18,000 walk-in applicants and hires about 2,900 of those every year.

While he didn’t say by how much they are projecting the number of applicants to increase with the operations of the new hub, he said the bigger space will help make them feel more at ease.

Qualfon’s recruitment facility went from 92 sq. m. to 136 sq. m., featuring 11 testing booths from five, and five interview rooms from two.

The firm currently employs 3,600 workers, including management and support staff. Qualfon, which set up shop in Cebu in 2006, also operates in Dumaguete City.

Brown said what they consider a problem at present is not attracting and retaining talent, but the lack of space at IT Park.

However, he said they are closely working with management for a possible expansion to a new building in the area.

Lack of access

He also cited the issue of lack of access to and from the area (Cebu IT Park) that should be addressed immediately.

He said that this had caused many employees to get to work late.

“When you’re driving, you can spend anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour just from JY Square Mall to get to IT Park,” he said.

The Cebu City government, however, is coming up with “affordable” rides to cater to BPO employees from the northern and southern parts of the City that work at IT Park.

City Hall is also considering building dormitories at the outskirts of the area to provide lodging for workers who live far away.

“We see this as positive the initiatives of the mayor. He’s interested in the information we can give, what can be done, what our problems are. We’re seeing more of that now,” said Brown.

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TAGS: American, BPO, Business Process Outsourcing, communication, confidence, Confident, country, Donald Trump, Filipino, information, it park, Mexico, Pampanga, President, technology, Tomas Osmeña, United States, worker

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