From where we sit

Career growth in BPO

Elie Marcelo Elie Marcelo

Given the shortage of skilled labor and the potential cost savings involved, more and more organizations are outsourcing their knowledge-intensive businesses to the Philippines and other Asian countries.

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) industries have opened exciting job opportunities and have given professionals the chance to work and be exposed to an international working environment. Although categorized separately, KPO is primarily part of the BPO sector. KPO, however, requires an enhanced skill set and educational background. Nonetheless, the tasks and responsibilities in both of these sectors vary in complexity and nature.

BPO remains one of the most robust sectors in the country, as it shows to be the fastest-growing industry. In 2010, a report by IBM’s Global Locations Trend declared the Philippines as the world’s BPO capital, overtaking India. Moreover, the Contact Center Association of the Philippines cited data from The Everest Group, a Texas-based global consulting and research firm indicating that the Philippines is seen to continue being the biggest contact center market this year, taking about 16 to 18 percent of total outsourced services globally.

There is a wide array of career options for recent graduates to choose from and work their way through quick professional advancement. BPO companies have become aware of providing long-term career growth opportunities to counter attrition, continuing to provide higher value-added activities such as KPO. Working in a BPO company gives employees a chance to advance their career from specialists to leads to executives in a few years’ time owing, of course, to good performance and the continuous honing of technical and soft skills.

Making a career out of BPO or KPO could be the right choice for young accounting professionals who prefer the challenge of the global work front. However, long hours, more rigid work hours, and an immense amount of pressure are to be expected. On the other hand, a wide range of training options and steadfast support to acquire higher education are available to both augment and acquire skills. As part of the corporate culture in a BPO setup, acquiring extra skills is a combination of training, certification, and internal job rotation. Therefore, it is imperative to actively volunteer for training, certification programs, and new job roles that would further career growth.

In building a long-term finance and accounting career in a BPO, one should set a medium-term goal and spend a minimum of four to five years in a BPO outfit to gain in-depth knowledge of functions and end-to-end operations. Anything less and jumping from one outfit to another would keep one from gaining traction in the field.

Moreover, BPOs today are focusing on promoting people from within the ranks, ensuring faster career growth for employees who stay, as opposed to those who frequently move. Further, BPOs are developing leadership skills through internal management programs that create a pipeline of future leaders by identifying and grooming talent in the existing workforce.

Mapping performance metrics and honing soft skills are an integral part of the development in a BPO company. Managerial and operational skills are not the only skills to master; soft skills such as people management, communication, cultural sensitivity, and a high level of professionalism are a must. Key result areas are regularly monitored and are the basis for performance-based bonuses.

The growth of the outsourcing industry has seen a positive upsurge in many parts of the country. The abundance of employment opportunities and clear professional growth for young, aspiring accountants are evident in a BPO setting. However, one should push oneself ahead, as organizations are clearly more than willing to meet talents halfway on a journey to enhance career opportunities.

Elie Marcelo is a Managing Director of the Business Process Solutions (BPS) of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @PAGrantThornton, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to elie.marcelo@ph.gt.com or pagrantthornton@ph.gt.com. For more information, visit our Website: www.grantthornton.com.ph.

 

As published in The Manila Times, dated 29 November 2018