Monday, February 18, 2008

Study counts worker supply in 20 ‘next-wave’ cities

An ongoing study by the government and an outsourcing advisory firm Tholons aims to measure BPO skills in 20 second-tier cities using a standard deployed in India.

The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and Tholons began the study last year, which looks at these "next-wave cities" and is intended to provide insights on how each can improve as BPO (business process outsourcing) sites.

The initial phase of the project involves gathering basic quantitative and qualitative data on second-tier cities, such as business environment, quality of life and infrastructure.

Phase two, which begins this year, will quantify the number of potential BPO workers in these cities based on skills, according to the DTI.

"Aside from offering a comparison of sites in terms of infrastructure and business environment, our next phase looks further into the skills level of people who, at the end of the day, are the ones that drive the industry," said Paul Santos, Tholons president for Asia Pacific.

An earlier study by Tholons ranked Cebu, Pasig and Baguio among the top 50 emerging cities worldwide suited for BPO.

The study is also intended to help formulate a national competitiveness standard for BPO similar to that of India's National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

Tholons is working with Merittrac, the skills assessment company that helped NASSCOM come up with its own competency standard in India.

According to BPAP, the country's BPO industry currently employs around 300,000 workers, two-thirds of which are from the call center sector, followed by back-office (non-voice) and software development. Cebu Daily News

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