Local IT industry workers to reach 200,000 by 2022

By Edd K. Usman

Workers employed by the information technology (IT) sub-sector of the Philippines’ business process outsourcing industry are expected to rise, a senior executive said.

By 2022, employees of the IT-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) will reach 200,000 from the current 123,000, Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) president Jonathan de Luzuriaga said.

​At Softcon.ph on Oct. 24. From right: DICT Undersecretary and OIC Eliseo M. Rio Jr., PSIA President Jonathan de Luzzuriaga, DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Ambe Tiero of Accenture, and PSIA VP Winston Cruz. (EKU)

​At Softcon.ph on Oct. 24. From right: DICT undersecretary and OIC Eliseo M. Rio Jr., PSIA president Jonathan de Luzzuriaga, DICT undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Ambe Tiero of Accenture, and PSIA VP Winston Cruz

As a result, revenues are seen to pick up as well, Luzuriaga said. From $2.9 billion in 2016, the sector is expected to incur anywhere from $5.7 to $7 billion in revenues.

Meanwhile, the BPO sector — which has six sub-sectors — has around 1.2 million employees at present, which is seen to go up to 1.8 million by 2022.

Each of the BPO industry​’s six sub-sectors have an organization: C​ontact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP​), Animation Council of the Philippines Inc. (ACPI), Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), ​H​ealthcare Information Outsourcing Management of the Philippines (HIMAP), Global In-House Center Council (GICC), and the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP).

On ​Oct. 24 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, the PSIA organized the 5th Softcon.ph conference as IT and software development leaders prepare to capture a large share of the global outsourcing market.

As it developed, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expressed confidence that the country’s business climate will continue to attract investments from multinational corporations.

“We are here to build on the momentum we gained…another six years of solidifying your main expertise and capability in the emerging sectors, software industry included, while accelerating advancement in technology and ensuring the Filipino talent will be ensured to be future-ready,” DICT officer-in-charge and underscretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said during the Softcon conference.

He cited the government’s “crucial role” in helping the industry achieve its Roadmap 2022 (Accelerate PH), which was launched in May 2016.

The roadmap plans to employ a total of 1.8 million workers, generate $40 billion in revenue, and secure a 15 percent global market share.

Response to disruptive challenges

During the event, another speaker, PSIA vice president Winston Cruz, a director at Accenture, identified five ways by which the industry as an ecosystem should respond to the challenges posed by disruption.

The response, he said, should be in terms of volume (scaling IT workers’ technical know-how); velocity (adapting agile methods and cloud solutions); veracity (delivery of products and services with precision and quality); variety (moving out of traditional products, offerings and services via innovation and adaptability); and, virtual (the need to be guided by strong vision amid the new age of automation and artificial intelligence.

Over 600 industry leaders and practitioners participated in the one-day event as various speakers discussed the Filipino IT talent’s level of competitiveness, the emergence of artificial intelligence, among others.

At the conference, de Luzuriaga cited 2015 figures on the country’s IT outsourcing market, which showed app development at 28 percent; infrastructure, 20 percent; testing, 8 percent; SI, 5 percent; and others, 21 percent.

The Philippines’ biggest market was North America, 58 percent, followed by Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

De Luzuriaga also noted the success of the call center and BPO sectors.

“The Philippines has already established its mark in the call center and business process outsourcing sectors — the time has come for us to do the same as far as IT services are concerned​,” he said.

He added that software and IT services alone had pulled in $2.9 billion to the Philippine economy last year, which is at 13 percent of the whole IT-BPM sector.

“I​t will still grow because of the huge market potential. Global demand for IT outsourcing services is expected to bring in about $147 billion by 2022​,” De Luzuriaga said. “Our English fluency, our capability to adapt to market needs, and our agility to cope with and master the non-stop changes in technology are beginning to catch global attention. Another is our demographics: 70,000 IT graduates enter our labor force every year; 50​ percent of our population is made up of ​m​illennials. As a result, we do have the manpower that can support long-term business sustainability​.”

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