The road ahead for the IT-BPM industry in the Philippines looks promising despite artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence automation (IA), according to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
IBPAP president and CEO Rey Untal made these revelation during the PH CXO Executive Network and People + Technology Forum, a gathering of strategic business and people leaders from various industries, held on April 19 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
Earlier in his keynote address at the forum, economist and professor of global economics Dr. Bernie Villegas stated that IT-BPM is indeed one of the country’s economic drivers from 2017-2022.
“The landscape of what we are doing has radically evolved,” said Untal. “I foresee, that as we move over the next five years, 10 years, there will be additional and different new jobs that we will see being created as a result of the technology disruptions that we are also seeing.”
He disclosed that while AI has affected the industry very minimally, IA which automates repetitive actions, has hit the country more strongly, forcing some companies to reduce their manpower for certain projects.
“[But ] the efficiency that they managed to acquire made them more attractive to their clients, and in fact increased their portfolio or renewed clients altogether,” added Untal. It is these efficiencies, he said, that allowed the companies to grow and retool their human resources.
More specifically, the association aspires for the industry to grow by an increment of 100,000 new jobs year on year for the next five years, thus nearing the 1.8 million mark by 2022.
With 1.8 million jobs available via IT-BPM firms around the country including the provinces, the industry expects to impact 5.8 million other jobs as well.
Untal explained, “We are the single largest creator of jobs. When we ended 2016, we had close to 1.2 million employees. And the good news is that because of what we call the multiplier effect wherein for every job that we create, we are in fact indirectly impacting other jobs in other industries, we are collectively now employing, directly and indirectly, close to 5 million people.”
IBPAP, in fact, aims to grow even faster. “Our intent is that when we are 1.8 million strong, outside of Metro Manila, we will be in excess of half a million,” said Untal.
Such positive sentiment is supported by IBPAP’s agenda for growth in the countryside where IT-BPM firms are present in 21 provinces, accounting for more than a quarter of a million workers.
Also in the pipeline are efforts to increase their presence in small and medium-sized enterprises as well as in the startup community. The organization hopes for the Philippines to be at par with the startup ecosystem of other countries by 2022.
Untal admitted though that there are multiple factors that will help make these growth projections a reality, such as talent development.
To promote talent development for IT-BPM in the Philippines, he suggests the holding of boot camps for technology to equip workers with the necessary skills for jobs of the future, among others.