business process outsourcing

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Protect 1.4M BPO jobs from impending threats

A senator reminded relevant government agencies to protect the 1.4 million jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector from identified threats and prepare for the next Senate hearing.

“Our resource speakers have identified 3 major threats to jobs in the BPO sector: Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), the tax reform law and the shifting economic policies of other countries. We must prepare for these threats and not be caught flat-footed,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, who recently held a second hearing on threats to the BPO sector as the chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

“Hindi maaaring mawalan ng kabuhayan ang Pilipino, lalo na sa panahon ngayon,” he added.

During the first Senate hearing on the threat of AI, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) mentioned that they are anticipating a decline in demand for low-skilled jobs in the IT-BPO industry of about 43,000 jobs by 2022.

On the bright side, there is potential to open up 388,000 jobs for mid-skilled tasks, and 309,000 jobs for high-skilled tasks also by 2022, jobs that Sen. Bam hopes the Filipino workforce can be ready for.

“The clear solution is to retrain our workers and upgrade their skills to be viable for higher job levels. Our training centers and academic institutions must start offering courses for these higher-skilled BPO jobs. Kailangan din na mayroong scholarships at TESDA vouchers,” said Sen. Bam, who also pushed the free college law as principal sponsor in the Senate.

However, Sen. Bam says the government agencies are not working quick enough.

“I want to see urgency in our agencies to move this forward quickly and with purpose. This is the first time in years that the BPO industry will be at risk. We need to protect our countrymen’s jobs,” said Sen. Bam.


Sen. Bam: Prepare for AI takeover of PH jobs

Instead of focusing on the threats of artificial intelligence (AI), Sen. Bam Aquino said the business community can harness AI to create more jobs, increase competitiveness, and improve products and services.

“While AI may very well be our competition in the marketplace of jobs, they might also be unintended rivals that push us to evolve, become more efficient, to learn and to relearn,” Sen. Bam stressed in his speech during the International Quality Conference, which was held at Okada Manila in Paranaque.

 ”And I hope this pushes us, not to shut our doors, but rather to kickstart our competitive spirit and develop our workforce for the future,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam also commended the Asia Pacific Quality Organization, the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) and other participants of the event for tackling how to harness the latest technology for the development of various industries.

As chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, Sen. Bam spearheaded an inquiry on the effects of AI in the country’s present workforce, especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

During the hearing, it was discovered that AI will affect around 40,000 jobs in the contact center industry next year. However, it was projected that around 250,000 to 300,000 fresh employment opportunities will be created for those with data analysts and data programming skills. Sen. Bam these jobs can be opened up to Filipinos who are willing to learn and relearn.

 “The key is to be prepared. We must prepare our workforce through adequate, accessible, affordable training, re-training and education,” said Sen. Bam, adding that the cooperation of between the private sector, academe and government agencies is critical to the evolution and development of the Filipino workforce.

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