Career Opportunities in the BPO Industry

By Excel V. Dyquiangco

The BPO industry has grown significantly over the past decade,” says Penny Bongato, Executive Director for Talent Development, BPAP (Business Processing Association of the Philippines. “In 2003 this industry has around 100,000 employees but in 2006 when we first started BPAP, it grew to about 240,000 employees and $3.2 billion in revenue. By 2011 we tripled at 638,000 employees with $11 billion in revenue. In just a few years this industry may now even overtake the OFW remittances.

Career Opportunities in the BPO Industry
Career Opportunities in the BPO Industry

She foresees that in the very near future, this industry will still continue to grow. By 2016, she hopes that the industry will reach 1.3 million employees with revenue of about $25 billion. Here she shares some insights on how it is to work in one of the fastest – and biggest – growing industries in the country.

  1. What businesses fall under the BPO Industry?

    Not just about call centers but the right term would be a career in the IT-BPO. This includes the contact centers, software development, healthcare, animation, game development, support services, and engineering and architectural services.

  2. What career opportunities are available in the BPO Industry?

    Those applying for jobs in the BPO Industry can choose from any of the following positions, depending on their expertise.

    • Contact Centers.

      This the biggest portion of the BPO Industry. They either take calls from different clients about different functions or sell products and services. Basic customer service, technical support, care management, finance and administration, IT software development, and testing and maintenance in IT. There is also the non-voice where they don’t take calls but do some research about several topics.

    • Software Developers.

      These are the software programmers or Java programmers. They develop programs or systems, test or maintain programs that are used by other countries like USA, Australia and Europe. They also look for bugs – through manual or automated testing.

    • Healthcare.

      These involve the medical transcriptions, medical coding, and medical billing. These also have patient management and HMO utilization. Nurses and medical professionals are much in demand in this area.

    • Animation.

      The Hollywood movie Incredibles, for example, has been done here. They do 2D and 3D animation.

    • Game Development.

      Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, DOTA, and Counter strike may just be some of the games done – applicable for the iPod, the iPad, and all different kinds of gadgets and mobile applications.

    • Support Services.

      This is also called shared services. Work includes finance and accounting, legal transcription, IT services, Human Resources Outsourcing which includes recruitment and payroll, benefits administration, and even telephone operators and executive assistants (booking of rooms, confirming of attendance). Market research and marketing services are also included here.

    • Engineering and Architectural Services.

      Design of the building, for example, and other engineering and architectural services are also done offshore.

  3. What should graduates consider when looking for a BPO company?

    Make sure that the company is legitimate by researching online. You should understand the values of the company because it may go against your own personal values. Understand what career growth you want to pursue. Understand your own goals. Should you want to work day shift, look for a company which offers you an 8am-5pm job.

  4. Kindly share the average salary brackets of employees in the BPO Industry.

    Average salary depends on what you are doing. The work can be very basic such as a data entry assistant who commands a lower rate compared to a technical support representative who answers your laptop problems over the phone, or a stock derivative analyst.

    For fresh graduates:

    • Data entry levels such as data entry assistant receive a monthly salary of P10,000 – P14,000.
    • Call center agents receive a range of P12,000 – P18,000 depending on the account. An agent who reads a script, of course, is granted a lower rate compared to one who listens and responds to calls.
    • Technical support representatives get anywhere between P16,000 – P20,000. Team leaders, on the other hand, receive around P50,000. The rates differ because of the complexity of the program.

    Other incentives:

    • Performance bonuses which range from 80% to 300% of your monthly salary given either monthly or quarterly.
    • Some companies provide tuition reimbursement.
    • HMO for their families.
    • Competitions and contests which allows you to receive cash prizes, gadgets and others.
    • 13th month pay plus other performance bonuses.
  5. What are the educational qualifications required for securing positions in the BPO Industry?

    Any course will do for the generic programs but for IT, Healthcare and Engineering Services, they requires someone who are armed with an IT, Nursing, and Engineering Degree, of course. But for the contact centers, there are some companies which accept high school graduates – as long as they are eighteen years of age – and students up to their second year of college.

    Some basic competencies are also needed. They must be good in communication – verbal and written – even if the account is not in English or the position applied for is not an agent. Learning abilities, critical thinking skills and cognitive skills are a must as well. They also need to be computer literate – knowing how to work the MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint are very much needed. Applicants should also know how to use the internet and search through the different browse engines. Using Microsoft Outlook is a plus.

    Attention to detail and ability to multitask is also required. They need to have service orientation – pleasing personality and the heart matter.

  6. Which are the most popular employers in the BPO Industry?

    By size, the big ones are Accenture and Convergys with 24,000 and 30,000 employees respectively. For the career opportunities, the most popular is contact center agents. Out of the 638,000 employees, about 440,000 are in the contact center arena.

  7. What can you advise students and graduates so they can land a good job?

    • Improve competencies.

      Even before you graduate, practice critical thinking, learning abilities, communication skills, computer literacy and service orientation. Start speaking English at home and at school. Don’t rely on gadgets to do the math. Learn to stand on your own feet.

    • Practice initiative.

      Start to think on your own and don’t rely on others. Develop your EQ more than your IQ.

    • Solve problems.

      You don’t have to be McGyver but as early as now start to think critically. Be creative and spontaneous with your ideas especially when you encounter problems that may seem to be un-solvable.

    • Be service oriented.

      This is not only about having a pleasing personality but do practice speaking from the heart. Your clients will know if you are fooling them or if you are sincere

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