THE business-process outsourcing (BPO) firms may lose employees if they do not offer remote working arrangements moving forward.
Nathalie Yatco, Philippines BPO leader at Prohance, said the work-from-home (WFH) scheme has allowed BPO companies to maintain productivity amid the pandemic. But this arrangement may change given the possibility of returning to workplaces amid the vaccination rollout.
“[For] those who want to remain at home…what does that look for them if their organization is not open to a remote working arrangement with them? Chances are, these people, if they are great contributors to existing companies, can find home elsewhere,” she said at a recent event hosted by the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap).
These employees may be able to find new jobs again in the industry given that the recruitment and hiring process is continuous, she said. Last year, the employment in the industry grew by 1.8 percent to 1.32 million despite the pandemic.
“I don’t think there’s going back to where we were. We’ve crossed a barrier that now we can’t go back,” she said, referring to the implementation of WFH arrangements in pandemic.
She said that enforcing a hybrid workplace is the compromise that the BPO firms can make. This can allow them to continue operations while minimizing health risks to their employees, Yatco explained.
Earlier, Ibpap said it expects the hybrid working model to stay until next year. The industry is implementing a 70-30 split between work-from-home and on-site work, respectively, to deliver services, the group said previously.
In addition, she said that such a move will allow business continuity amid the uncertainties in pandemic.
“The threat of a potential lockdown is always around the corner, whether it is a new variant or whatever, rising cases,” she said.
“BCP [business continuity plan] is a critical thing for outsourcing,” Yatco added. “We need to plan for the worst. If there is another lockdown, we’ll go through the same thing.”
This year, Ibpap Chairman Benedict Hernandez said the sector is “cautiously optimistic” in hitting a high single-digit growth.
In terms of employment, the IT-BPM industry projects 8-percent growth with 1.43 million workers by the end of the year. Revenues, meanwhile, are expected to rise by 8 percent to $28.8 billion in 2021.
Among the growth drivers for the industry are pent-up demand, vaccine rollout, digital acceleration and need for cost optimization, he enumerated.
Hernandez also cited the following as emerging subsegments for the outsourcing sector: insurance BPO, life sciences BPO, health-care BPO, customer experience management and data and analytics, among others.