PHL barely meets BPO need for IT graduates



The country’s outsourcing industry remains hard up in meeting its manpower requirement to this day, with graduates in information technology coming in trickles for companies that offer hefty salary scales than in the voice sector.

Samuel Matunog of the Software Industry Association of Davao said the Davao region, for instance, where the major business-process outsourcing (BPO) companies have established recruitment offices or even branches, could only churn out 1,000 graduates in information technology yearly.

While this number could fill the manpower requirement of the Davao operations of knowledge- outsourcing companies, Manila and Cebu companies would also compete with our graduates here.

Only 10 percent of the company manpower requirement would be filled in the periodic recruitment of these companies, he said.

Compared to graduates of other courses that are trainable in the voice sector or the call-center agents, IT graduates are needed in the technical-and knowledge-outsourcing sector because of their academic training in computer science and IT management.

He said these IT graduates command one of the higher?salary scales in the outsourcing industry, with as much as P40,000 offered in the entry level.

This is compared to the much lower P12,000 to P14,000 among call-center agents, with the scale given to those with experience already. “The entry level could be much lower for the small BPO operations,” he said.

Matunog said the small number of students enrolling in IT courses was due to the wrong impression generated by the previous moratorium order of the Commission on Higher Education on nursing and other new courses.

He said the moratorium was interpreted even by the academic sector, and among many Filipinos, that it included the IT courses, which was then becoming as popular choice then as nursing.

“Some universities did not offer new IT courses, or just continued the course offering to allow those already enrolled to finish them,” he said. “Many schools outside Davao City continued to offer IT courses, and that helped us now to have these graduates keep coming in,” he said.

In the last few years, the outsourcing sector here has been assisted by a government training program called Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) but in 2013, it was stopped, apparently affected by the scandal in the misuse and abuse of Congress’s pork barrel. The program offered the voucher system developed by the Department of Education to subsidize the schooling of students in the private sector. The TWSP would allow IT graduates undergo skills upgrading in the Tesda on scholarship.

With Tesda announcing it was relaunching the program this year, the BPO industry group here submitted a bridging program to upgrade the skills of IT graduates with a budget of P23 million.

This would increase the absorption of IT graduates into the member-BPO companies in Davao, from 8 percent to 10 percent for the big companies, and to as much as 25 percent for small companies.

The proposal would also seek to reduce the gap in manpower requirement, from 6,000 to as low as 2,500 personnel requirement by 2016, he said.

The Tesda admitted only 480 scholars in the TWSP program this year, far from the proposal of admitting of 2,500 scholars.

“We submitted a new proposal recently, to increase the Tesda budget of P2.5 million, to as much as P15 million,” he said.

Tesda has yet to reply to the proposal of Matunog’s group.

July 18, 2014

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