With the Philippines producing more than 400,000 graduates annually, the BPO industry is seen to be in the best position to absorb these new entrants of the country’s labor force, according to Canadian based research and advisory firm, XMG.
At the outset, most fresh graduates are reluctant to join the industry after graduating from college due to various reasons. The top of mind perception on the BPO industry among fresh graduates, which include working on a graveyard shift, the high propensity for health risks, the industry being limited only to voice support functions and with their aspiration of being able to use their degrees when they graduate from college are the major reasons for most fresh graduates to become hesitant working for the industry, However, XMG observes that almost 55% among fresh graduates would reconsider working for the BPO industry once they have immersed themselves in the job market in order to mitigate financial constraints and be able to support their families.
In the recent Philippine Talent Market and Behavioural Study conducted by XMG, it was noted that from the time they graduate in March until six months after their graduation (i.e. September onwards), there has been a significant increase in terms of the number of fresh graduate applicants in the BPO industry. From 44%, the trend of fresh graduate applicants in BPO industries increases to around 67% after six months.
XMG Research Analyst Diana Cortes explained, “What drives fresh graduates to explore employment opportunities in the BPO industry even after obtaining their first job is that majority of BPO companies offer a more lucrative compensation and benefits package than most jobs available in other industries. The higher salaries offered by BPO companies, compounded with the desire for higher and faster career mobility, give fresh graduates greater impetus to be part of this industry.” This finding implies that human resource practitioners must rethink its sourcing strategies and make it congruent to the expectations of the talent pool.
Furthermore, given that the industry is expanding at a blistering pace, whose estimated revenue is projected to reach US$9.30B by 2010, it is imperative that the BPO companies be able to immediately fill in their talent requirements, Cortes recommended that one strategy that companies can adopt is to refocus its recruitment of fresh graduates by targeting students coming from Tier 2 and 3 schools by becoming the preferred choice employer.” Targeting graduates from Tier 1 universities has proved to be less fruitful. Cortes describes that the “graduates from Tier 1 universities are more selective in choosing their potential employer due to the high salary demand and wider career options available for these graduates. In addition, the pervasive negative perception lingering among Tier 1 university graduates that the BPO industry is highly concentrated on repetitive voice functions has made the BPO industry less attractive to these graduates; whereas, their counterparts from Tier 2 and 3 schools are more inclined to join the BPO industry due to their pressing financial needs to support themselves and their families.” Moreover, empirical findings made by XMG show that graduates from Tier 2 and 3 cities can be maximized by BPO companies such that in the National Capital Region (NCR) alone, Tier 2 and 3 schools such as CEU, FEU, PUP, PLM, TIP among others produce the most number of graduates across all types of BPO functions.
Lastly, with BPO industries having difficulties in aligning its skills requirements to the competencies of fresh graduates, XMG emphasizes that an industry – academe collaboration should be strengthened further to develop a curriculum that will prepare students on the demands of the industry.